CFP (Essay Collection): Thomas Bernhard and the Consequences (Deadline 1 January 2018)

Gregor Thuswaldner's picture

What are the consequences of Bernhard’s writing? This collection of essays (in English) will take up the question of Bernhard’s worldwide impact on fiction and theater since his death in 1989.

Like Kafka and Proust and few others, Bernhard created a unique style that captured the spirit of his time and place. Moreover, his themes were very narrowly focused on his time and place. Yet, strangely, he has had a worldwide impact, especially on the most ambitious and worldly writers. How transferable are his prose and dramas? To imitate Bernhard would be a futile and corrosive as imitating Proust or Kafka.  Yet his mark is evident in writers as different as Geoff Dyer and W. G. Sebald, William Gaddis and Imre Kertész, Javier Marías and Susan Sontag. The list is quite long. Has turning him into a classic defanged his sharp bite? What is Bernhard’s fate at the hands of his academic admirers? What are the reasons professors outside of German Departments teach Bernhard in their literature classes? Are there philosophical consequences to be drawn from fictional prose that constantly vaunts philosophy without actually philosophizing? These and many other question remain open. We seek to publish a book that moves the study of Thomas Bernhard in new directions.

Please send one-page abstracts (250 words) and a short bio to all three editors:

Dr. Olaf Berwald oberwald@kennesaw.edu

Dr. Stephen Dowden dowden@brandeis.edu

Dr. Gregor Thuswaldner gathuswaldner@northpark.edu

Deadline for Abstracts: January 1, 2018