ANDA SEMINAR 2013. Storyworlds: Narrative Genres and Forms in the Contemporary British Novel
25 October, Dipartimento di Scienze della Mediazione Linguistica e di Studi Interculturali, Università degli Studi di Milano, La Statale.
The ANDA Seminar 2013 was held at the Department of Language Mediation and Intercultural Studies of the University of Milan on 25 October. Its title “Storyworlds: Narrative Genres and Forms in the Contemporary British Novel” aimed, primarily, to elicit a fruitful debate on the ways of approaching, understanding and “doing” storytelling at the beginning of the 21st century. At the same time, it was an attempt to map out some of the most recent narratological developments and discontinuities brought centerstage across different fictional experiments with form and genre.
The Seminar was inaugurated by Patrick Parrinder’s compelling keynote lecture, which, taking its cue from Zadie Smith’s famous observations on the future of the novel in her 2008 essay “Two Paths for the Novel”, went on to analyze emerging trends in contemporary British fiction. The first section of the seminar addressed issues concerning the difficulties inherent to writing “the present” against a backdrop characterized by new forms of communication and structures of feeling based on simultaneity (Carlo Pagetti), the interplay of concepts of borderity and gender (Nicoletta Vallorani), contemporary children’s literature (Francesca Orestano), and the entanglement of music, silence and memory in Luke Williams’ The Echo Chamber (Pierpaolo Martino). In the afternoon session Lidia De Michelis addressed the ethics and aesthetics of fictionalizing the non-fictional, Laura Colombino analyzed the spatial-political meaning and dimensions of J.G. Ballard’s late London novels, and Annalisa Pes extended the scope of the Seminar to discussing developments in contemporary Black British fiction.
The Seminar was rounded off by a roundtable, chaired by Paolo Bertinetti and Carlo Pagetti, which introduced the challenges posed by the vexed problem of how to effectively teach and research British and Anglophone literatures in the context of the Italian academia and highlighted a range of good practices and effective strategies.