Contemporary Modernisms

Organise: Scientific Committee; Chair: Hans Vandevoorde (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

“Contemporary Modernisms” engages with contemporary literature’s relation to early twentieth-century modernism. The papers presented in this panel question contemporary authors’ relations to historical modernism, whether framed as nostalgia, critique or both. Izabela Sobczak focuses on the way contemporary Polish women writers such as Izabela Filipiak, Ewa Kuryluk and Agata Tuszyńska relate to European and American modernism. Rather than seeing their relation to the past as nostalgia, she notes how these authors use intertextuality to find their own “authorial, gendered, and sexual subjectivity.” Emanuel Lupașcu, by contrast, focuses on nostalgia. In his paper, he discusses Romanian poet Mircea Cărtărescu’s relation to modernism. Testing the limits of a metamodernist framework, he argues that it is ultimately nostalgia that is central to Cărtărescu’s work. Kaitlin Thurlow shifts the attention to the contemporary South-African writer Damon Galgut. Drawing on an interdisciplinary and transnational framework, she questions Galgut’s treatment of memorial and reads his work in relation to visual art. Anneloek Scholten’s paper speaks to several strands within the panel. It focuses on Scottish author Shola von Reinhold’s 2020 novel LOTE’s ambiguous engagement with historical (black and queer) modernism. While the novel is deeply critical of modernism’s white and Western-centred cultural project, it is also heavily invested in its subversive potential.


Izabela Sobczak (Adam Mickiewicz’s University) – Intertexts of the ‘New’ Modernism. Intimate Paths of Women Writers’ Response to Literature of the Last Century

Kaitlin Thurlow (University of Georgia) – Failing to Remember: Aesthetic Encounters in Damon Galgut’s In a Strange Room

Emanuel Lupascu (Babeș-Bolyai University) – Seeking Wholeness: Nostalgia, Psychoanalysis, and Metamodernism in Mircea Cărtărescu’s Fiction

Anneloek Scholten (Radboud University) – Meta-Modernism as Postcritique: LOTE (2020) and Modernist Trans-Fictions