ALA: Good Talks

I enjoyed every talk I went to and learned a lot from them. The program from old conferences are available online.

I want to get a copy of Marcus Librizzi’s paper on “The Yellow Wallpaper” as ghost story. I think that adding that in as a section, perhaps even presenting the same story with three different introductions (psychological, gothic, and feminist) would be an interesting way to get introductory students to see literature as more involved than they might have thought othterwise.

I also thought Marcus’ talk would give me some good ideas for my SCMLA paper on the gothic in Sookie Stackhouse.

Peter Betjemann did a great job on introducing three different ways of looking at Gilman’s works. I was a little intimidated, honestly.

However, there could easily be a fourth (fifth, and sixth) way to introduce Gilman. I don’t think I have a handle on Peter’s approaches, though I have asked for a copy of his paper, so maybe I will be able to do that.

I appreciated his reference to Wm Carlos Wms on labeling, “use the old words.”

Jessica Lang did a great talk on third generation Holocaust texts. Her paper dealt with The Lost. Some interesting thoughts:
transmission of information becomes less full with each generation
third generation only has an indirect relation to the original experiences
quest for individuals of a lost family is different from the lost families
survival testimony is often not eyewitness
stories are based not on factual accounts but on absence

Laura Henigman presented a great talk on Abigail Bailey’s narrative on marriage. Bailey’s work focused on four years of her marriage, 1788-1792. The Bailey marriage ended sometime after Asa Bailey slept with his sixteen year old daughter.

Henigman described it as a captivity narrative (which lent itself to my thought on the mental asylum patients’ work as captivity narrative). She also discussed the legal system’s response to Asa Bailey’s transgressions. Incest was not a legal issue at the time and it would have been seen only as aggravated adultery. (Which does not grant Phoebe any status within the system except as scarlet woman.)

She also discussed how testimony of a daughter against her father would have been a dramatic inversion of family power. Phoebe, in fact, refused to testify.

Those were the Sunday talks I heard. One of the ones I wanted to hear, on two asylum narratives by Mary Wood, was not presented.

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