CFP – 60th SAES Congress. University of Tours. 4 – 6 June 2020 “RenaissanceS”

Call for papers for the joint workshop organised by the Société d’Études Anglaises Contemporaines (SEAC) and The Journal of the Short Story in English:

Even as literature and the arts of the 20th century were setting new horizons for creation, they often engaged in an inventive dialogue with the Renaissance period. From the end of the 19th century to the early 21st century, the period has offered a rich reservoir of texts, historical subjects, interrogations and experiences that have been rewritten across the centuries to constitute part of the organic fabric of literature and the arts.

The influence of the Renaissance has taken many forms, from direct intertextual references to less identifiable traces. In most cases however, the Renaissance has, as expected, been read as the founding moment of our humanist model, as well as the matrix of an individualism that has been endlessly reassessed without being radically disqualified. This explains the return of modernist and contemporary writers to a period that works as an allegorical mirror for current interrogations. Virginia Woolf sets the early moments of her historical fantasy, Orlando (1928) during the Elizabethan period, to better ground her exploration of identity fashioning in an age that was both foundational of individualism and already harboured dissenting views of what constitutes selfhood. Lytton Strachey also understood the extraordinary potential of the period which he reinvented in Elizabeth and Essex (also published in 1928). Today, the Renaissance has enjoyed a renewal of interest, both in the field of historical fiction (see Peter Ackroyd’s fantasised reinvention of Renaissance occultism in The house of Doctor Dee [1993], or Jeanette Winterson’s own take on Renaissance expansionism in Sexing the Cherry [1989]), popular culture, life-writing as well as more experimental artistic forms (see Martin Crimp and George Benjamin’s reappropriation of Marlowe’s Edward II, in their latest collaboration, the opera Lessons in Love and Violence [2018]).

On the other side of the Atlantic, the term Renaissance has been used to describe books released by major authors in the middle of the 19th century, a period during which the short story established itself through magazine publications. Major authors produced work they felt inferior to their longer endeavors but some of them started reflecting, as Poe famously did, on the art of the short story, writing almost exclusively short forms (poems and short stories). This “Renaissance” is closely related to the renewal of American letters, to the exploration of the American space and the American psyche. Critics then located a “lesser” Renaissance in the 1920s, in the cultural boom that followed WWI. There again, the short story imposed itself with such writers as Cather, Anderson, Fitzgerald, Toomer or Boyle, who were influenced by the emerging modernist movement developing in Europe. For some short story writers, Europe also appears as the locus for renaissance—Henry James, Constance Fenimore Woolson, Edith Wharton, and later John Cheever and Elizabeth Spencer all spent time in the Old World and made their characters reflect on their identity.

“RenaissanceS” can thus refer to experiment both in form and content. The term should be read as a metaphor for aesthetic renewal and reinvention. The short-story and 20th and 21st century English literature have often revisited past forms in order to self-reflexively explore the mecanisms of fiction-making and the ideological economy of representation. One should however distinguish between the revival of past forms and parody, although parody may constitute one of the chosen instruments of aesthetic revival. The renaissance of pastoral poetry in the 20th century, as well as that of gothic fiction, or of utopian writing in feminist fiction, testify to the creative potential of looking back in order to invent the literature to come and to critically embrace the present.

The workshop organised jointly by the Société d’Études Anglaises Contemporaines (SEAC) and by the Journal of the Short Story in English welcomes proposals that will address the category of the “RenaissanceS” from an intertextual perspective as well as contributions exploring the history and critical rationale of aesthetic renaissance. Contributors may also turn to the philosophical and theoretical legacy of the Renaissance, whether it be in the form of a critical humanism — for instance in the permanence of dystopian fiction since the 1940s —, or in the deconstruction of travel or discovery narratives. Choosing to revive past forms or subjects is thus more than playful. It allows modern and contemporary art and literature to fathom their own historical and epistemological determinisms and to historicize their own situation as regards their legacy as well as their future.


Corpus to be addressed:

— 20th and 21st century British literature or visual arts

— The genre of the short-story (19th – 21st centuries, GB / US)


Proposals for papers in English (300 words, plus critical bibliography,) should be sent to

Catherine Bernard:

Gerald Preher:

by November 2nd.


Programme Short Fiction as Humble Fiction

We are delighted to present the programme for this year’s ENSFR Conference in Montpellier:

Short Fiction as Humble Fiction

An International Conference organised by EMMA (Etudes Montpelliéraines du Monde Anglophone) with ENSFR (The European Network for Short Fiction Research)


17-18-19 October 2019

Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier3, France

Site Saint Charles 2

Auditorium & Salle Kouros

Convenors: Jean-Michel Ganteau & Christine Reynier




Thursday 17 October

9h45-10h15 Welcome



10h15 Opening of the Conference


10h30 Keynote lecture

Chair: Christine Reynier

Elke D’hoker (University of Leuven, Belgium)

Humbling the Human: Animals in Contemporary Short Fiction


11h30 Coffee break (Jardin d’hiver)


12h Parallel panels


Ecocritical Echoes (Auditorium)

Chair: Judith Misrahi-Barak

       Xavier Le Brun (University of Angers, France)

Malcolm Lowry’s Humble Hypotyposes in Hear Us O Lord from Heaven Thy Dwelling Place (1961)

       Diane Leblond (University of Lorraine, France)

Organic Connections and Creatures of Compost in Ali Smith’s “The Beholder” (2015) and Daisy

Johnson’s “Starver” (2016): When Humility Reframes the Ambition of Short Fiction


Humble Details (Salle Kouros)

Chair: Julián Jiménez Heffernan

       Maxwell Donaldson (University of Aberdeen, UK)

The “Little” Things: An Exploration of the Use of Gesture in J. D. Salinger’s Nine Stories

       Etienne Février (University Toulouse Jean-Jaurès, France)

Humble Ambitions: Steven Milhauser’s Short Fiction


13h Lunch Break


14h30 Parallel panels


Invisibilities 1 (Auditorium)

Chair: Elke D’hoker

       Julián Jiménez Heffernan (University of Córdoba, Spain)

The Humiliating Thing: Infrastructural Storytelling in Henry James’s “Julia Bride”

       Emmanuel Vernadakis (University of Angers, France)

Tourism, Tourists and the Humble in E. M. Forster’s “The Story of the Siren” (1920)

       Emma Liggins (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)

Haunted Space and the Inescapable Past in May Sinclair’s Uncanny Stories (1923)

       Victoria Margree (University of Brighton, UK)

Imitation and Innovation in the Ghost Stories of Eleanor Scott


Humble Women (Salle Kouros)

Chair: Bryony Randall

       Diane Drouin (Sorbonne University, France)

“A ridiculous little accident”: Mina Loy’s Forgotten Short Stories

       Elena Gelasi (University of Cyprus)

The Lonely Voice of Women. The Humblest among the Humble. From Freeman to Simpson

       Ena Panda (University of Delhi, India)

Representation of Alienation in Short Stories Written by Contemporary Francophone Women

Writers of Québec

       Ailsa Cox (Edge Hill University, UK)

An Extremely Private Literary Giant


16h15 Coffee break (Jardin d’hiver)



Short Story Competition

Short Story Readings 1

 by Cormac James, Ashutosh Bhardwaj and Ailsa Cox


Jardin d’hiver

18h Cocktail

Friday 18 October


10h Auditorium


Humble War Stories

Chair: Isabelle Brasme

       Elsa Högberg (Uppsala University, Sweden)

‘Unaccustomed to the ear, primitive harmonies of the world’: Katherine Mansfield’s Cries

       Lisa Feklistova (University of Cambridge, UK)

‘Humble struggles’ —Mundane Routine in the Short Story in the Wake of the Great War

       Lucy Durneen (University of Cambridge, UK)

“Walking back into your besieged life”: War Stories, Humbly Told



11h30 Coffee break (Jardin d’hiver)


12h Keynote lecture

Chair : Jean-Michel Ganteau

Ann-Marie Einhaus (Northumbria University, UK)

Scraps of Paper? First World War Short Fiction and the Ephemeral


13h Lunch (Salle Médicis)



14h30 Parallel panels


Migrants and Refugees (Auditorium)

Chair: Emma Liggins

       Judith Misrahi-Barak (University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France)

The Writing of the Refugee: Re-examining ‘bare life’ in Edwidge Danticat’s Short Stories from

‘Children of the Sea’ to ‘Without Inspection’

       Carol Millner (Curtin University, Western Australia)

       Trace: Short Fiction and the Western Australian Migrant Experience

       Laura Gallon (University of Sussex, UK)

Short Stories & Recipes: A Reflection on Food, Gender and Genre


Ordinary Lives (Salle Kouros)

Chair : Emmanuel Vernadakis

       Florence Marie (Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, France)

Dorothy Richardson’s Humble Short Fiction

       Bryony Randall (University of Glasgow, UK)

‘Partly in Prose’: Woolf’s Humble Cutbush

       Mallory Alexandre (University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France)

“My roots go down to the depths of the world”: Virginia Woolf’s Humble Short Fiction


16h Coffee break (Jardin d’hiver)



16h30 Short Story Readings 2

by Jane Alexander, Lucy Durneen, Dan Powell,

Alison Boumid and John David Rutter


20h Dinner in town



Saturday 19 October


9h30 Parallel panels


Regional and National Identities (Auditorium)

Chair: Ann Marie Einhaus

       Alda Correia (New University, Lisbon, Portugal)

Regionalist Short Fiction as Humble Fiction

       Gérald Préher (UC Lille, France)

Shirley Ann Grau’s “The Empty Night”: The Humble Story Behind a Pulitzer-Prize Winner

       Kritika Chettri (University of North Bengal, India)

The Nepali Short Story and its Humble Conflicts


Invisibilities 2 (Salle Kouros)

Chair: Xavier Le Brun

       Leila Haghshenas (University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France)

Humbled Selves in Leonard Woolf’s Short Fiction

       Tina Terradillos (University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France)

Radclyffe Hall’s Short Fiction: A Humble Ethics of the Flawed

        Sylvie Maurel (University Toulouse Jean-Jaurès, France)

From Minority to Humility: Jean Rhys’s Short Fiction


11h Coffee break (Jardin d’hiver)


11h30 Parallel panels


Specific Forms (Auditorium)

Chair: Ailsa Cox

       Ashutosh Bhardwaj (Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, India)

Conversations between the Story and the Novel: Reflections on the Self and the Other

       Jane Alexander (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Writing chronic illness in short fiction



Readers (Salle Kouros)

Chair: Sandrine Sorlin

       Amanda Bigler (University of Lille, France)

Empathic Second-Person Narrators in Short Fiction

       Dan Powell (University of Leicester, UK)

The shape of the British Short Story in the Mid-twentieth Century: Developing a Preclosural

Methodology for Writing Short Fiction

       John D. Rutter (University of Central Lancashire, UK)

The Death of the Reader

13h Lunch (Salle Médicis)


Tour of Montpellier

Musée Fabre



Organising Committee

Lynn Blin, Alice Borrego, Charlotte Chassefière, Jean-Michel Ganteau, Laura Lainvae, Xavier Le Brun, Maroua Mannai, Katia Marcellin, Judith Misrahi-Barak, Christine Reynier, Tina Terradillos