Organization: Northeast Modern Language Association Conference
Re-engaging with the Old Myths: Contemporary Literature, Women, and Classics
Novels and literary works that adapt Classical figures and text continue to be very popular, such as Natalie Haynes’s A Thousand Ships, Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls and The Women of Troy, Madeline Miller’s Circe, Ali Smith’s Girl Meets Boy, and others demonstrate. Many of these retellings focus on Classical women, putting these characters at the center of the narratives. These relatively recent works show one way in which the Classical tradition can still be relevant, especially as it adapts to and includes new histories, viewpoints, and situations. However, we also see that Classics departments are being reduced, and the field of Classics is grappling with its relationship to racism and misogyny, as Donna Zuckerberg’s Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age shows. In her analysis of how Classical figures continue to be referenced in Antigone Rising: The Subversive Power of the Ancient Myths, Helen Morales writes that “telling new stories is, of course, essential, but viewing our worlds through the lens of the old myths is also meaningful” (xvii). This panel invites papers that analyze how engaging with “the old myths” can lead writers and readers to both a deeper understanding of both the contemporary works and the female mythological figures themselves. Can these newer adaptations or retellings of myth work to address some of the more problematic legacies of the Classics, and what can be gained for authors and readers by re-engaging with Classical mythologies?
This panel invites papers that focus on contemporary works that use women from Classical literature and mythology as their inspiration, and it suggests using these newer works to consider how these sources make meaning now and in the future.
This panel for the 2024 Northeast Modern Language Association conference is accepting papers. NEMLA’s 2024 annual conference will be held in Boston, Massachusetts from Thursday, March 7 – Sunday, March 10, 2024. Please visit this site to submit your abstract: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/Login.
Please submit paper proposals of 250-300 words by Thursday, September 30, 2023.
For more information, please visit the NEMLA website: https://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention.html