Deadline for submissions: February 1, 2020
Marcel Proust closes the first volume of À la recherche du temps perdu with the assertion that ‘remembrance of a particular form is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years.’ To Proust, nostalgia for the past, no matter how powerful, can only ever be a pale imitation of previous lived experience.
Coined to describe feelings of homesickness experienced by soldiers abroad, the term nostalgia has since come to stand for sensations of loss with regards to the irretrievable nature of places, communities, and experiences that no longer exist as they once did. Indeed, as Svetlana Boym suggests, these may never even have existed in the first place. In her seminal work The Future of Nostalgia (2001), Boym describes the emotion ‘as a defense mechanism in a time of accelerated rhythms of life and historical upheaval.’ Nostalgia is often construed as a conservative force, one which seeks to revert to past certainties as a response to the mutability of the present. Nevertheless, the act of looking back can also lead to radical leaps forward. In certain circumstances, the retrieval of that which appears lost to the past has the potential to act as a catalyst for renewal.
As our current climate makes clear, the manipulation of nostalgia can have a significant impact on the social fabric, in terms of the way that we conceive of our place in history and our future trajectory. Volume 12 of UCL English Department’s journal, Moveable Type, looks to explore the nostalgic impulse, broadly interpreted. In addition, we will consider artistic responses such as poetry, flash-fiction and short stories. Some potential topics may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Lost time: memory and temporality in literature
- Nationalism and revivalist literature
- Lateness and late-coming
- Looking back in anger: the dangers of nostalgia
- The nostalgia of history, myth and folklore
- Editing: the search for the Ur-text
- Postcolonialism, decolonialization, and exile
- Amnesia and forgetting
- Iconoclasm and nostalgia: policing the past
- Solastalgia – nostalgia for a prior ecological state
- The retro
- Sensory nostalgia
- The nostalgic impulse in canon formation
- Hauntological readings of nostalgia
Please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 February 2020 (doc/docx files only), with a short abstract and bio in the main body. Academic articles are limited to 3000-5000 words and should subscribe to MHRA referencing guidelines. Authors are limited to only one submission. We ask that creative responses do not exceed 5000 words, though they can be an interlinked series of poems or prose pieces. All academic submissions will be double-blind peer reviewed, and feedback will be provided for all submissions.