Part of PAL’s 2018 Young Scholars Workshop

4pm Reception, with books for purchase
4:30pm Keynote Lectures and discussion

Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall
Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, First Floor


Amanda Anderson, Brown University: “Thinking With Characters”

This paper will trouble any easy distinction between literary character and real character by taking seriously the literary representation of moral thinking.  An extension of my work on forms of intellectual temperament (The Way We Argue Now, Bleak Liberalism) and on the complexities of moral experience (Psyche and Ethos [forthcoming]), this essay will focus on literary representations of how characters think and act via differently productive modes of deliberation, decision, and rumination.  Special attention will be paid to rumination as an understudied form of moral thinking characterized simultaneously by intermittence and persistence, distraction and obsession.  The main example for the purposes of this occasion will be Anthony Trollope’s The Last Chronicle of Barset but I will make reference to other writers in the realist and modernist tradition.

Rita Felski, University of Virginia Charlottesville: “Identifying with Characters”


This talk seeks to defend identification and to rethink character. Accounts of identification often equate identification with empathy or confuse it with identity. Arguing that identifying is a more unpredictable and varied process, I disentangle four key strands: alignment; allegiance; recognition, and empathy. Identifying with a character, meanwhile, can overlap with attachment to an author, a star, a style.  I discuss characters as ontological hybrids composed out of disparate materials; worldly actors haloed with affective and existential force.