CFA: Bicycles / Bicycling in Literature and Culture

CFA: Bicycles / Bicycling in Literature and Culture

(proposals due 1/8/13; essays due 1/2/14)

The American author Charles Morley once said: ‘The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets’. As Morley’s quote suggests, many people have perceived an intimate connection between cycling and literature, and this edited collection aims to further reflection that relationship between bicycles and art. We are seeking interdisciplinary essays from scholars interested in analyzing the role and significance of the bicycle in the novels, poems, short stories, plays, memoirs, films, television shows, songs (etc.) of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Essays on texts other than literature and mass media will be considered, so long as they are primarily still engaging in textual or literary analysis. Since the bicycle is becoming increasingly important and relevant given our world’s growing environmental and economic troubles, we intend for this collection to make a timely and useful foray into understanding the historical and current significance of these fascinating machines.

Possible topics include but certainly are not limited to:

Cycling / bicycles and:
– class mobility, socialism, depressions and economic ‘cycles’
– environmentalism, nature, wilderness
– modernism (Hemingway, Beckett, Joyce, etc.)
– the Victorians (Wells, Conan Doyle, etc.)
– perceptions of time, speed, and space
– the country and the city
– urban design, contested urban space, suburbia
– gender, masculinity, femininity
– race studies, postcolonialism
– cycling memoirs
– travel writing, cyclotourism
– sexuality (heteronormativity, queerness, etc.)
– childhood, children’s literature and culture
– film: ‘cycling films’ (Breaking Away, Quicksilver, etc.), cycles in film
(E.T., The Wizard of Oz, etc.), documentary (Bicycle Dreams, B.I.K.E., etc.)
– bike (sub)cultures: racing, bike messenger, tall bike, etc.
– music, song, performance
– leisure and labour
– cycling periodicals: poems, stories, travelogues, photo essays, zines, comics
– ghost bikes: the influence of bikes in cycle-less texts.

Abstracts due: August 1st (250-300 words; include contact info and short bio or CV)
Final essays due: February 2014
Please direct all questions and submissions to the editors:
Jeremy Withers, Iowa State University (withers@iastate.edu)
Daniel Shea, Austin Peay State University (shead@apsu.edu)

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