Poetry Discussion and Winter Social

We’re pleased to announce the final MidMod event of the semester: a poetry discussion and social at Cask and Ale (212 State St) on Friday Dec. 15 at 5:00pm. Our own Rick Ness has volunteered to select our poetry reading and guide our conversation, and there will be plenty of time for general celebration of the end of the semester. Even if you aren’t a MidModder, you are welcome to come to chat about some poetry and clink glasses with your peers.

If you are interested in attending, send me an email (avieth@wisc.edu) by Monday 12/11. I’ll send out of the reading to interested parties then.

I know it is a busy time for everyone, but we hope you can find an hour or two to unwind on the 15th!

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MidMod Panel at MadLit CFP

Middle Modernity Colloquium Panel Call for Papers
MadLit 2018: Nationalism and Apocalypse, Now and Then
February 23 + 24, 2018

This year’s MadLit theme resonates with the V21 Collective’s turn to strategic presentism: “think[ing] critically about the past in the present in order to change the present” and “asking how the Victorian era might help us imagine alternative futures to the various mass extinctions that loom just over the horizon of the present.” For this year’s conference, the Middle Modernity Colloquium is seeking abstracts that either employ strategic presentism or that respond to the effectiveness or productivity of strategic presentism in the face of today’s crises. Accepted abstracts will be submitted to the conference organizers as a Middle Modernity sponsored panel. All abstracts not accepted to this panel proposal will be forwarded to the general conference submissions.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words for the Middle Modernity panel on strategic presentism to Aaron Vieth (avieth@wisc.edu) by December 15, 2017. Abstracts should include a tentative title.

Additionally, the Middle Modernity Colloquium is gauging interest in a roundtable discussion on strategic presentism to take place during the lunch break on Saturday, February 24. Interested participants are not required to produce anything for this discussion but will be expected to read the “V21 Forum on Strategic Presentism” in Victorian Studies 59.1 (Autumn 2016) for the conversation. Tentatively, this discussion will be more of a brown bag style. However, if there is enough interest we will look into catering the discussion. Please RSVP for the roundtable discussion on strategic presentism to Aaron Vieth (avieth@wisc.edu) by December 15, 2017.

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MidMod Dinner with Alex Woloch

MidMod graduate students and faculty out to dinner with Professor Alex Woloch after a wonderful talk on “Partial Representation in the Pickwick Papers.”

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MidMod Essay Workshop Today!

We’re excited for an essay workshop with Erica Kalnay later this afternoon. We’ll be discussing her essay “Beatrix Potter’s Mycological Aesthetics.” Hope to see you there.

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Professor Alex Woloch’s Upcoming Talk: November 2

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MidMod Events for Fall 2017

Take a look at the upcoming events for the Middle Modernity Group this semester.

We’re excited for a talk by Professor Alex Woloch (Stanford University) on November 2nd. Keep an eye out for more information as the date approaches.

Woloch’s visit will also give MidMod a great opportunity to partner with the Modernisms/Modernities Colloquium for a reading group before his talk. Join us on November 1st to discuss selections from Or Orwell (2016).

There are many additional events to look forward to, but our fastest approaching activity will be the first meeting of a MidMod Theory Reading Group. The grad students have spoken, and Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno found and equal number of eager readers. We’ll be discussing “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” and “Cultural Criticism and Society” on October 18th in the English Department Library at 4:00pm. Email Aaron (avieth@wisc.edu) for copies of the readings.

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See what Mid Mod is up to in 2014-2015!

There’s another exciting year ahead for the Middle Modernity Group! We’re kicking off the semester with a talk by Professor Anna Kornbluh (University of Illinois at Chicago). Additional plans include a second faculty and dissertator panel, as well as a continuation of last year’s film festival. In addition, we have a wonderful lineup of speakers who will visit our campus in the fall and spring semesters — be sure to check out our “Events” page and to visit again in the near future for news and updates.

And please join us on Wednesday, September 24 for our first reading group of the year! (Details can be found under “Events.”)

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Professor James Chandler’s Upcoming Talk: Thursday, April 10

The Middle Modernity Group is pleased to announce Professor James Chandler’s upcoming talk, “The Melodramatic Imagination Revisited.” We hope to see you on Thursday, April 10th at 4:00 p.m. in Helen C. White 7191 for this exciting event. Below, you’ll find a description of Professor Chandler’s lecture:

It has been almost forty years since Peter Brooks released his pathbreaking and influential book, The Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, and the Mode of Excess (1975). Over these decades, and partly on account of Brooks’ important arguments, melodrama has not only undergone critical rehabilitation; it has also become perhaps the most important category for those who would link twentieth-century cinema with the century that came before them. But melodrama’s mode of excess has deep connections with a sentimental mode of moderation that features emotion mediated by reciprocal sympathy. The sentimental, it can be demonstrated, both set the conditions for melodrama’s emergence around the time of the French Revolution and continued to co-exist with melodrama through figures like Mary Shelley and Dickens and into the age of cinema. The kind of story Brooks wishes to tell, in short, becomes richer and more complex when melodrama’s manichaean extremes of character, gesture, and style are understood to evolve from, and with, the moderating effects of putting oneself in the place of the other.

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Professor Anne-Lise François’ upcoming talk: Monday, March 24

The Middle Modernity Group is pleased to announce Professor Anne-Lise François’ upcoming talk, “Profaning Nature: Enclosures, Occupations, Rights of Way.” We hope to see you on Monday, March 24th at 4:00 p.m. in Helen C. White 7191 for this exciting event. Below, you will find a more detailed description of Professor François’ research:

Anne-Lise François is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She writes on 19th-century British, American and European fiction, poetry and thought, with some excursions into the 17th, 18th, and early 20th centuries, European “Green” Romanticism and aesthetic theory. Her first book, Open Secrets (Stanford 2008), seeks to identify alternatives to Enlightenment models of heroic action, productive activity, and accumulation, and to identify examples of the ethos of recessive fulfillment and non-actualization. She is at present working on a book length study of poetic form and environmental theory. Her current book project, “Provident Improvisers: Parables of Subsistence from Wordsworth to Benjamin,” focuses on figures of pastoral worldliness, provisionality, and commonness (with “common” understood in the double sense of the political antithesis to enclosure and of the ordinary, vernacular, or profane).

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Professor David Brewer’s upcoming talk: Thursday, March 6

The Middle Modernity Group is pleased to announce Professor David Brewer’s upcoming talk, “The Importance of Being Inhuman.” We hope to see you on Thursday, March 6th at 4:00 p.m. in Helen C. White 7191 for this exciting event. Below, you will find a more detailed description of Professor Brewer’s lecture:

This talk will explore the ways in which, in the eighteenth century, authors were routinely and widely treated as if they were something other than fully human, and how this treatment, far from being a moral outrage, was what enabled the literary world to function. I propose that these attempts to impute alternate forms of personhood to writers can serve as a sort of vernacular theory which lays bare the underlying presumptions, structures, and proclivities of eighteenth-century literary culture as a whole.

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