By Abi Sears
Finality is defined as the ‘impression of being final and irreversible’ (Oxford Dictionaries, 2017). Within today’s society the significance of the final, and transition from the familiar into a world of change, is particularly poignant. The Brexit vote in June, and the recent inauguration of Donald Trump, has instigated an upsurge of hatred, vitriol and prejudice. From the horrifying increase in terror attacks all over the world, to the harrowing treatment of refugees reported in the media of the past year, some of us may feel the world we live in is becoming somewhat unrecognisable, and regressing into a haunting ideology of truly dangerous values.
Whilst the world we once knew is under the thumb of violence the necessity to resist, and challenge, these ideas has never been so important. As postgraduate literature students, we are finishing our education in a deeply troubling time; therefore, the importance of the arts and humanities is greater than ever to encourage resistance through new dialogues, voices and literatures. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1950 William Faulkner spoke of the ‘inexhaustible voice’ of man and ‘the writer’s duty to write’. ‘The poet’s voice’ continues Faulkner, ‘need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail’ (Faulkner, 1950) accentuating the powerful, and vital, nature of the written word. The study of literature permeates our barriers, activates a space in which to question, critique, write back and teaches us to never stop asking questions. Such ability to evoke change can, we hope, interrogate the concept of finality and introduce new dialogues as a response to harmful and prejudicial ideas.
We are holding a one-day conference at York St. John University, on June 6th 2017, entitled The Book Closes: Finality in Contemporary Literature in which we aim to reflect on and respond to a number of issues in current literature surrounding finality, addressing and challenging its irreversible quality. Please send abstracts of 200-300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 5th of April. Link to CFP: https://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/cfp/2017/01/30/the-book-closes-finality-in-contemporary-literature