Saturday, 9 - 10:30 a.m.
Katherine Fishburn, Michigan State University.
"Recognition and Re-cognition in Doris Lessing's
In all her science fiction, Doris Lessing challenges our views of reality through the complementary
formal techniques of recognition and re-cognition.
That is, she is forcing us to see ourselves and to
change ourselves. Through recognition Lessing
gives us greater insight on ourselves by allowing
us to recognize ourselves in the alien world of
the text. But at the same time we begin to
change, not just our view of the world, but our
very definition of reality itself. By making us
self-conscious readers, Lessing opens our minds
and transforms our perceptual paradigms and thus
the world itself.
MASKS AND THE FANTASTIC IN DRAMA
Chair: Francis Gillen, University of Tampa.
Susan Harris Smith, University of Pittsburgh,
Mask in Modern Drama: An Overview."
From 1896, the date of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi, to
the present, about 225 plays using masks have been
written for the Western stage. The various uses
to which masks have been put reflect not only our
historical and cultural heritage, but also specifically modern ideas about aesthetics, psychology,
and sociology. The mask has figured prominently in
every significant and influential experimental
artistic movement, challenging the primacy of language and becoming both a profound metaphor in the
text and a powerful emblem on the stage. The use
of masks can be divided roughly into four broad
categories: satiric and grotesque; ritual, myth,
and spectacle; dream images and psychological projections; and social roles assumed or imposed.
F. Robert Lehmeyer, The University of Alabama in
Birmingham. "Mask and Marionette: Schnitzler's
Throughout his artistic life as dramatist Arthur
Schnitzler was fascinated by the human need to
hide behind masks and to play a role in society.
This role playing is an integral part of his great
play Reigen, and in his Paracelsus the statement
is baldly made: "We are all playing roles. He who
knows that is wise." In his trio of one-act plays
Marionetten Schnitzler examines once again the
question of human identity. Is life, after all, a
game and we merely players? Are we in fact free
agents or merely puppets made to move at the whim
of an unknown force?
Una Chaudhuri, New York University. "Black Faces,
White Masks: The Semiotics of the Racialized Self
^in Genet's The Blacks."
Jean Genet's play The Blacks is at one and the
same time an analysis of theatrical signs such as
mask and a drama employing these signs. Genet
uses mask to comment on the reduction of a
person's complex selfhood to role, by both the
audience and the actors. The ritual in the play
can be seen as an attempt to recapture a pre-
semiotized, pre-blackened/whitened self.
THE INVERTED PERSPECTIVE
Chair: Judith Kollmann, University of Michigan, Flint.
Patricia Traub, Floral Park, New York. "Of Vonda, and
Snake, and Sand: Dreamsnake, a Recognition of the
The central myth in human life is the journey of
the hero. A constant in literature is the individual's search for identity, a seeking of the Self
— the mythic dimension. If, as Joan Didion says,
"We tell ourselves stories in order to live," what
does the story of the female hero reveal; what
does it engender in the reader? Vonda N.
Mclntyre's novel, Dreamsnake, evokes one of the
hero's thousand faces, the face of the healer,
Snake, whose rare dreamsnake has been destroyed.
Not alien, Amazon, or other — Mclntyre's hero and
her journey suggests an archetype of the future
manifesting in the present, the female hero.
Julia G. Cruz, Washington State University.
In "The House of Aster ion," Jorge Luis Borges, one
of the patriarchs of the Neo-Fantastic in
literature, presents the inverted perspective of
the often-told myths revolving around Asterion.
In doing so, Borges has lent a new and original
facet to the ancient Greek myth. The objective of
this paper is to study the content of that ancient
Greek myth through Borges' inverted perspective
and examine the innovative procedures through
which he achieves this effect.
Douglas Miller, University of Michigan, Flint.
"Hoffmann's Murr the Cat: The Philistine and the
E.T.A. Hoffmann's unfinished novel Murr the Cat
(1820-22) makes us aware of the disparity between
the comfortable assumptions of the Philistine and
elements of fantasy that surround and sometimes
endanger our lives in the real world. Reason and
Fantasy are given separate voices through the
ficional device of two books "accidentally" interwoven into one. The radical confrontation between
these two views produces a pointedly grotesque
statement on the impossibility of reaching a true
understanding of the world through the application
Chair: Richard Mathews, University of Tampa.
Philip E. Smith, University of Pittsburgh. "Last
Orders and First Principles for the Interpretation
of Aldiss' Enigmas."
The structure and contents of Brian Aldiss' Last
Orders suggest not only a theory of science fiction, but also a method of reading. Aldiss insists