In the 1980s and 1990s scholars of Melville and Hawthorne were mostly interested in political readings of the two writers’ work, focusing on issues of race and gender. Without disregarding such issues, recent scholarly voices have been less engaged in tracing the hidden workings of ideology; rather, they have addressed broader themes such as history, subjectivity, or literary form. As Cody Marrs puts it in the Introduction to The New Melville Studies, the aim of new research is to “position [itself] alongside Melville as he writes”: instead of subverting Melville’s text, to look for the subversive within it. A similar tendency may be observed in studies on Hawthorne, for example Hawthorne and the Real, edited by Millicent Bell, and The Cambridge Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Richard H. Millington. Characteristically, the most fruitful recent scholarly work on the two writers has tended towards edited collections of essays by various authors, which perhaps speaks to the value of a multi-perspectival scholarly discussion. The special issue of the European Journal of American Studies inscribes itself into this trend, in the hope of offering a fresh perspective on those American classics – by focusing on obsession in its psychological, political, and esthetic aspects. Possible topics on which to expound include:
- the haunting nature of the past
- religious and secular conceptualizations of sin
- striving for perfection
- repetition and repetitiveness
- moral compulsion
- the obsessions of artist figures
- obsessive literary form
- Melville’s obsession with Hawthorne
- scholarly obsessions with Hawthorne and Melville
- Hawthorne and Melville as inspirations for other writers and artists
Please submit your article proposal, including author contact information, title, a 300-word abstract, 4-5 keywords, and a short bio by 31 July 2022 to: Dr. Justyna Fruzińska (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Krzysztof Majer (email@example.com).
Decisions on article proposals will be communicated to authors by 7 August 2022; the deadline for complete articles (5,000-10,000 words) is 31 October 2022. The European Journal of American Studies follows a double blind review process for all papers.
Justyna Fruzińska holds an MA in American Literature and a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of Lodz, Poland, where she holds the position of Assistant professor and teaches American literature, culture and history. Her publications include Nineteenth-Century Visions of Race: British Travel Writing about America (2022) and Emerson Goes to the Movies: Individualism in Walt Disney Company’s Post-1989 Animated Films (2014) as well as numerous articles on American popular culture, Transcendentalism, and Polish poetry. She is a graduate of the Institute of Jewish Studies Paideia in Stockholm as well as a member of the Association for Cultural Studies and Polish Association for American Studies.
Krzysztof Majer is an assistant professor in the Department of North American Literature and Culture at the University of Lodz, Poland; his academic interests include American and Canadian fiction, musico-literary intermediality, and Jewish culture. He has edited Beirut to Carnival City: Reading Rawi Hage (2019) and co-edited Kanade, di Goldene Medine? Perspectives on Canadian-Jewish Literature and Culture (2018). He serves as the Associate Editor at Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture, and collaborates with Canadian Literature as reviewer of criticism and fiction. He is also an awarded literary translator. With Rawi Hage and Madeleine Thien he was a resident of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. He has translated, among others, Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, David Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress, and Michael Herr’s Dispatches. He is a member of the Polish Association for Canadian Studies and the Polish Literary Translators’ Association