The term “addiction” was not widely established in the 19th century. Even today, although amply attested in medical and legal dictionaries, it is not unambiguous: the label “addict” is highly stigmatizing, while “addiction” to yoga or organic sourdough is a status marker. Nineteenth-century writers nonetheless depicted recognizable states of dependency and loss of autonomy, which 21st-century readers find unmistakably familiar. This panel welcomes submissions which examine the fictional depiction of characters recognizable as addicts, whatever the nature of the compulsion (alcohol, opium, violence, gambling, tobacco, etc.), and which in particular draw out crucial inferences for current thinking about addiction and, more importantly, ethical responses to the crisis. The works examined may come from any literary tradition, but the paper as well as any handouts should be in English.
By June 1, 2020, please submit an abstract of 300 words, a brief bio, and any A/V requests to Maureen Jameson, University at Buffalo (SUNY), at email@example.com.