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Re-Thinking Literature

International Conference

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 – Saturday, September 21st, 2013

at Hemmerdinger Hall, NYU

Location: Hemmerdinger Hall, Silver Center, NYU
100 Washington Square East (enter on Waverly Place)


Re-Thinking Literature brings together philosophers, writers, critics and theoreticians of literature and art, to examine what, in the 21st Century, is understood when we speak about "literature." We still ask familiar questions such as “What is the situation of the writer today? What does literature mean today?” but ask them today undetermined by preexisting “isms,” past the dogmas of recent years, post-Post, as it were. Re-Thinking Literature seeks new, multiple perspectives for the meaning and significance of the cultural construct “literature” today—and examines how a younger generation of literary thinkers and practitioners deals with it.

Organized by Donatien Grau and Tom Bishop.

All presentations in English. Free and open to the public.

Press Release
Conference poster



Thursday, September 19

7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Tom Bishop and Donatien Grau
Welcome and Presentation

Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, art critic, poet
Keynote address: Critical Conditions

8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Boris Groys, NYU, art critic, poet
The Art Installation as a Novel

Donatien Grau, critic
The Limits of Knowledge: Some Notes Towards a Literary Conception of Literature



Friday, September 20

10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Stathis Gourgouris, Columbia, critic
Heiner Müller's Lyric Loneliness

Camille de Toledo, writer
Empowering Literature in the XXICentury. AGlossary

Wayne Koestenbaum, CUNY, poet, cultural critic
Corpse Pose

2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Shelley Jackson, writer, artist
The Shelley Jackson School for Ghost Speakers and Hearing-Mouth Children

Ben Lerner, poet, novelist
Virtual Ekphrasis: Fiction as Criticism and Curation

Jean-Philippe Toussaint, novelist, filmmaker
Writing Today

Camille Laurens, novelist, essayist
Re-Thinking / Re-Feeling

Joshua Cohen, novelist, critic
WIKI, What I Know Is


7:00 p.m.

Hélène Cixous, Paris VIII, novelist, essayist, philosopher
Keynote address: Ay Yay: The Shout of Literature



Saturday, September 21

10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Jesse Ball, poet, novelist
The Book and Its Phantom

Tristan Garcia, novelist, philosopher
What Becomes of the Novel when the Gods are Coming Back? A secular Form of Literature Facing the Return of Religion

2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Laurent Dubreuil, Cornell, philosopher, critic
Cognition, Intellection, Contradiction

Simon Critchley, New School, philosopher
Ways of Re-Thinking Literature: What We Learn from Hamlet

4:00 p.m to 6:00 p.m.

Emily Apter, NYU, cultural critic, comparatist
Rethinking the Textual Object: Translated, Curated, Punctuated, Looked at, Listened to...

Paul Audi, philosopher, critic
Literature and Its Discontents: Fortune and Misfortune of the French Case

Avital Ronell, NYU, cultural critic, philosopher
The Turn of the Screwed


This conference is made possible by the generous support of the Florence Gould Foundation, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and Institut Français.