CFP Deadline Extended: Emily Dickinson’s Narrative Cartography

CFP Deadline Extended: Emily Dickinson’s Narrative Cartography
New Proposal Deadline: December 20th.

“The Emily Dickinson International Society and the International Society for the Study of Narrative invite papers for a proposed special session entitled “Emily Dickinson’s Narrative Cartography,” at the 2018 MLA conference in New York, scheduled for January 4-7. Participation on the panel will be open to all members of the MLA.

Narrative theory’s attention to plot, traditionally, has been more concerned with the temporal than with the spatial—more with sequences of events than their spaces. However, contemporary narratology’s “spatial turn” evinces an increasing concern for space, place, and geography. Recent developments in narrative theory direct our attention to a second meaning of “plot,” offered by the Oxford English Dictionary, where “plot” refers to “A fairly small piece of ground, esp. one used for a specified purpose, such as a building or gardening,” a definition that invites reflection on the intersection of narrative and space in ways that might usefully illuminate the study of both.

In June 1869, Emily Dickinson famously wrote to T. W. Higginson, “I do not cross my Father’s ground to any House or town” (L 330), then cultivated her “solitary Acre –” (Fr. 778) as a rhizomatic locality from which her imagination radiated. In poems and letters, as well as in her herbarium, Dickinson recurrently probed the intersecting zones of house, garden, and world. Revolving, on the one hand, around the particular experiences, memories, and artifacts attaching a life to a place, her writings seem, on the other hand, to call forth a vision of the world—this “Apocalypse of Green –” (Fr. 1356)—as a network or ecology of chaotically circulating voices and elements, a place where we cannot get our bearings. Following the spatial turn in Dickinson, mapping the immersive environments evoked in her writings, as well as reading her poems and letters as environments encourages the production of new, layered narratives—“plots”—broadly concerned with Dickinson’s relation to geography, cartography, memory, and genre.

Possible paper topics include the relationship between memory, space, and narrative; the dynamic between what Christine Gerhardt calls “near and far geographies”; and the poetics of cartography. More specific inquires into Dickinson's green narratives—her botanical imagination, her poetry of the garden, and, beyond it, the land- and sound- scapes—as well as narratives exploring the recent archaeological excavation and reconstruction of the garden site at the Dickinson Homestead are also welcome.

Proposals should be no more than 300 words, and include a title and a brief biographical note. Please submit your proposal to Dan Punday ( and Marta Werner ( by December 20th. Any questions can be directed to Dan Punday at”