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Peter Boxall @ The Center for the Studies of the Novel

Fri October 29th 2021, 12:00 - 1:30pm

Please join us on Friday, October 29th for the Center for the Study of the Novel’s Books at the Center event. We are delighted to welcome Peter Boxall, Professor of English at the University of Sussex, to celebrate his most recent book, The Prosthetic Imagination: A History of the Novel as Artificial Life (Cambridge UP, 2020). 

Here is a short description of Prof. Boxall’s latest work: 

In The Prosthetic Imagination, leading critic Peter Boxall argues that we are now entering an artificial age, in which our given bodies enter into new conjunctions with our prosthetic extensions. This new age requires us to reimagine our relation to our bodies, and to our environments, and Boxall suggests that the novel as a form can guide us in this imaginative task. Across a dazzling range of prose fictions, from Thomas More's Utopia to Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, Boxall shows how the novel has played a central role in forging the bodies in which we extend ourselves into the world. But if the novel has helped to give our world a human shape, it also contains forms of life that elude our existing human architectures: new amalgams of the living and the non-living that are the hidden province of the novel imagination. These latent conjunctions, Boxall argues, are preserved in the novel form, and offer us images of embodied being that can help us orient ourselves to our new prosthetic condition. 

Ian Duncan (English, University of California, Berkeley), and Nancy Ruttenburg (English, Stanford) will serve as respondents to Professor Boxall. 

The event will take place via Zoom on Friday October 29th at 12pm (PST). This is the link to register in advance. Those who wish to read The Prosthetic Imagination’s introduction and chapter “Prosthetic Worlds” before the session should request the PDF by contacting Allie Gamble (algamble [at] (algamble[at]stanford[dot]edu)).

Peter Boxall is Professor of English at the University of Sussex. His research has focused on the relationship between aesthetics and politics in modernist and contemporary writing, and more recently on the longer history of the novel. He has written books on Samuel Beckett, on Don DeLillo, and several books on the novel, including Twenty-First Century Fiction and The Value of the Novel. Professor Boxall has also edited a range of work - including a collection on Beckett's politics, entitled Beckett/Aesthetics/Politics, a collection on poetry, entitled Thinking Poetry, and 1001 Books you Must Read Before you Die. He is also co-editor of Volume 7 of the Oxford History of the Novel, editor of the book series Cambridge Studies in Twenty-First-Century Literature and Culture, and editor of the UK journal Textual Practice. He is currently writing a book on the twentieth-century novel and the decline of the west, entitled Fictions of the West. 

Ian Duncan is Professor and Florence Green Bixby Chair in English at University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel (Cambridge, 1992), Scott's Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh (Princeton, 2007), and most recently Human  Forms: The Novel in the Age of Evolution (Princeton, 2019). He is currently writing a short book on Scotland and Romanticism. Duncan is a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a member of the editorial board of Representations, a General Editor of the Collected Works of James Hogg, and co-editor of a new book series, Edinburgh Critical Studies in Romanticism. 

Nancy Ruttenburg is Willian Robertson Coe Professor of American Literature in the English Department at Stanford University. She also holds courtesy appointments in the Departments of Comparative Literature and Slavic Languages and Literatures. Prof. Ruttenburg is the author of Democratic Personality: Popular Voice and the Trial of American Authorship (Stanford, 1998) and Dostoevsky's Democracy (Princeton, 2008), and she has recently written on the work of J. M. Coetzee and on Melville’s “Bartleby.” Books in progress include a study of secularization in the postrevolutionary United States arising out of the naturalization of “conscience” as inalienable right, entitled Conscience, Rights, and The Delirium of Democracy; and a comparative work entitled Dostoevsky And, for which the Russian writer serves as a lens on the historical development of a set of intercalated themes in the literature of American modernity. 

This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome, and we hope to see you there! 

Allie Gamble (algamble [at] (algamble[at]stanford[dot]edu))

Ido Keren (ikeren [at] (ikeren[at]stanford[dot]edu))

Casey Patterson (caseyp [at] (caseyp[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Alex. Sherman (ajsherm [at] (ajsherm[at]stanford[dot]edu))