21 Oct 2012 at 10:41 am #2247
As pres of the society, I thought it would be a good idea to update everyone on the McCarthy Hemingway Symposium sponsored by the American Literature Association. On a personal note, it was great to see all of you, and I want to thank you for being so gracious to my wife and making her feel so welcome. Thanks to Rick Wallach and Dianne Luce especially for the wonderful dinners and breakfasts.
It was a really successful conference. Sessions ranged from those focused on particular authors, McCarthy panels dealing with subjects ranging from inquiries into the gothic and grotesque in the southern works, to the role of the pictorial arts, to the frequent but never exhausted subject of philosophical themes.
Dianne opened the conference by conducting a fine and well attended plenary panel that was lively and clearly interesting to the audience. Participants included myself, Scott Yarbrough, and Allen Josephs.
A real highlight was Rick’s keynote. Of course we would expect the usual blend of incisive criticism and humor, and Rick’s sense of the intellectual life as play is, for me anyway, always the antidote I need to remind me that what we do must always have joy at its center. But his topic, which dealt with “allegories of impotence” in Jake Barnes and Ed Tom Bell, established a deep thematic connection between the two authors. Given McCarthy’s move (overstated I think) to minimalism in the last two novels, the tendency is to compare Hem and Mc at that level. But Rick moved us beyond that, contending with the way in which traditional concepts of masculinity in the twentieth century are deeply and tragically imbedded, a real source of personal conflict. In any case, it was a pleasure to listen to. He ought to take it on the road.
In any case, hope to see you all at future conferences. Best Regards, Steve the pres.
sfryeQuote22 Oct 2012 at 2:19 pm #2255
Rick WallachMember24 Oct 2012 at 9:47 pm #2264
It all sounds very interesting. Rick, when are we going to see this in print?
cantonaQuote24 Oct 2012 at 10:20 pm #2265
I don’t know, honestly. I’m going to revise it and expand it for the Berea conference, and after that if I’m happy with it, we’ll see if there’s a journal out there that’d be interested (I generally don’t submit pieces to the Cormac McCarthy Journal simply because I don’t want to take up available space that younger scholars need to get themselves seen and establish some credentials – I have contacts at many other periodicals).
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