Got back from the MLA earlier this week and my head is still spinning. What an amazing experience.
First and foremost, I want to acknowledge the panel that I had the privilege of being part of: The Feminine in André Gide’s Works and Life . My co-panelists and I discussed different aspects of how Gide presents and deals with women in his works: Prof. Justine Legrand (La Sorbonne) presented a stunning paper on Geneviève and the ways that Gide posited lesbianism within that work; Prof. Alina Opreanu (Harvard) discussed Et nunc manet in te, Gide’s elegiac memoir about his life with and marriage to Madeleine following her death, a presentation that lead almost seamlessly to mine entitled “Imagining Madeleine” where I discussed the way that the drama of the character of Alissa in La Porte étroite articulates to an imagined/eventual future Gide’s estranged marriage to Madeleine. The evening before my presentation, I added a reference to Charles O’Keefe’s book Void and Voice (where O’Keefe declares that the narrator of La Porte étroite, Jérôme, “lies”). One of the people in attendance who offered some rather insightful (and hilarious) reflections during the Q&A turned out to be none other than Charles O’Keefe himself. What a joy and honor to have him there, and what a relief that I did not know that it was he beforehand! Special thanks to the Association des amis d’André Gide and Prof. Christine Latrouitte Armstrong (Denison) for convening and supporting the panel.
I attended some other amazing panels that I found truly inspiring. One was a poetry panel where my department chair, Prof. Peter Consenstein, discussed Georges Perec (“Georges Perec, a Man Asleep, Is You,”), as well as a panel on disability studies that has fortified my own work with Gide’s La Symphonie pastorale with respect to the character of Gertrude, and finally a panel on the Digital Humanities that my friend and colleague Prof. Lauren Klein (Georgia Tech) convened on slave narratives. The question I ask myself is in what ways can I use DH in the research and reading of Gide?
In all the experience was worth more than I could have expected or hoped for. It was inspiring to be at this conference among academics in the humanities from all over the world, and a true privilege to see so many past and current colleagues in attendance.
See you all at the MLA 2013 in Boston!