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NEMLA 2014 Call for Papers: The Battle of Gettysburg in Fiction and Film

Call for Papers

High Water Mark of War: The Battle of Gettysburg in Fiction and Film


45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NEMLA)

April 3-6, 2014

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Host: Susquehanna University



Often regarded by scholars as one of the major turning points in the United States Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg has attained an iconic status in American literature and culture. Twentieth Century southern writer William Faulkner claimed in his novel Intruder in the Dust (1948) that “For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863.”  Living with the legacy of defeat, white southern males imagined (in Faulkner’s view) a time when General Pickett had yet to lead his charge and the South still imagined it could win the war.  Northern writers such as Michael Shaara also turned to Gettysburg for a wide variety of reasons.  In Shaara’s case, the struggle at Gettysburg provided moral clarity that was sorely lacking in the Vietnam War era.


This panel will address the question of what actually happened at Gettysburg and how those events were reshaped over time to create distinct ‘legacies’ of that battle and the war of which it was a part. Questions to consider include but aren’t limited to:  How is race addressed (or not) in portrayals of the battle?  What role do civilians play in representations of the battle?  Is battlefield heroism portrayed in a straightforward or ironic light?  Does a particular narrative of the battle seem to say more about its own times than the Civil War era?


Film scholars are encouraged to submit proposals for this panel. Papers that examine the civilian experience of the battle are also sought.


Please send your abstract of approximately 250-300 words along with a one page CV to


The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2013



Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however, panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.  For a full list of NEMLA 2014 conference sessions visit:


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