Novel Theory: May 31-June 2, 2018

The biennial conference of the Society for Novel Studies at Cornell University

What is the theory of the novel in the 21st century? How do novels theorize?

Registration is now CLOSED. If you are on the program but have not yet registered, please email

Some highlights of the conference…

Keynote by Ursula Heise, “Scale and the Novel in the Anthropocene”

Plenary panel on “Theories of the Novel Now,with Nicholas Dames, Debjani Ganguly, Kate Marshall, Ignacio Sanchez Prado, and Jordan Stein

Panels led by Venkat Mani on refugees, Dierdra Reber on post-truth culture, Anne Garland Mahler on the Global South novel, John Plotz on the episode, Jonathan Culler on optional narrator theories….

Closing plenary discussion with Sianne Ngai

Seminars around keywords in the field, including….

  • Nancy Armstrong and Tim Bewes, with Priya Joshi, Roberto Dainotto, Alexander Millen, and Peter Boxall: contemporary
  • Namwali Serpell with Stephen Best, Glenda Carpio, Nadia EllisUri McMillan, and Ismail Muhammad: BLACK
  • Anna Kornbluh and Oded Nir with Kasia Bartoszynska, Bruce Robbins, and Phil Wegner: totality
  • John Marx and Jesse Rosenthal with Tess McNulty, Kalyan Nadiminti, Richard Jean So, Ted Underwood, Megan Ward: data
  • Jen Fleissner with Amanda Anderson, Chris Freeburg, Andrew H. Miller, Paul Stasi, and Katherine Snyderinteriority
  • Kelly Rich with Janice Ho, Caroline Levine, Sangina Patnaik, Jill Richards, Michael Rubenstein and Susan Ziegerinfrastructure
  • David Coombs and Elaine Auyoung with Jonah Siegel, Anna Henchman, and Jonathan Kramnick: empiricism
  • Yoon Sun Lee with Pardis Dabashi, Elaine Freedgood, Billy Galperin, Brian Richardson, and Wendy Xin: plot
  • Talia Schaffer and Elsie Michie with Daniel Hack, Michaela Bronstein, Grace Lavery, Anna Maria Jones: memory/influence
  • Jed Esty and Paul St. Amour with Rachel Buurma, Tommy S. Davis, Nathan Hensley, and Nirvana Tanoukhigenre/scale
  • Chris Holmes and Tim Wientzen with Sarah Brouillette, Stephanie DeGooyer, and Christian Thorne: limit
  • Amanda Claybaugh and Jen Spitzer with Wendy Lee, Gage McWeeny, Julie Beth Napolin, Martin Quinn, Shirley Wong and Dora Zhang: detail
  • Beth Blum with John Lurz, Günter Leypoldt, Emily Lordi, Megan Quigley, and Robert Volpicellicharisma
  • Ben Parker with Natalie Amleshi, Danny Byrne, Corbin Hiday, Matthew Price, and Carie SchneiderLukacs
  • Bradley Fest, with Alex Creighton, Alley Edlebi, Jason Potts, Robert Ryan, and Aaron Vieth: length
  • Pamela Gilbert, with Zach Samalin, David James, Bojan Srbinovski, and Eleanor Courtemancheaffect
  • Robert Tally, with Lauren Gillingham, Trish Bredar, Mark Wollaeger, and Drew Strombeek: space

Seminars on novels….

  • Deidre Lynch and Katie Trumpener: Madame de Lafayette, La Princesse de Cleves
  • Julia Chang and David Kurnick: Benito Pérez Galdós, Tristana
  • Ulka Anjaria and Aarthi Vadde: Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar
  • Rebecca Walkowitz and Martin Puchner: Yoko Tawada, Memoirs of a Polar Bear

Award-winning novelist Helena Viramontes will do a reading followed by a conversation with critic Dean Franco.


Support for this conference comes from Ithaca College and from the Cornell University Departments of English, German Studies, Romance Studies, and the College of Arts and Sciences. Additional support comes from the Society for Novel Studies and the journal NOVEL.

Questions? Contact cel235 at

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