"how and why do literary works celebrate or challenge cultural narratives?... what other factors (e.g. audience, gender, identity, occasion, politics) also contribute to the dialogues & exchanges that literary texts invite and receive?"I didn't hear about this until recently, and the deadline is next week for abstracts, but I'm thinking of perhaps submitting an abstract on a cool manuscript poem by Samuel Daniel. It's a verse epistle to prince Henry (the one who would have been king instead of Charles I if he (Henry) hadn't died of typhus when he was about 18. The poem is unique because it challenges the dominant colonialist propaganda that contributed to the Virginia colony. Daniel is telling Henry not to engage in colonial ventures. It's not really an enlightened position, though, because he's basically afraid that American colonies will breed a dangerous ease of life in the English and kind of ruin their national character. It actually doesn't depart from the dominant discussions of the issue which always hovered around (sometimes gendered) discussions of ease/hardihood and overcivility/savagery. But I think it's interesting that Daniel would consider advising the heir to the throne via a verse epistle on a subject like this. If Henry had lived to be king, and if he had listened to Daniel, history could have been very different.
The manuscript itself is part of the Brotherton MS at Leeds, but fortunately there's a good facsimile and discussion in this book (that I'm getting via Melcat!):
Pitcher, John. Samuel Daniel: The Brotherton Manuscript: A Study in Authorship. Leeds: U of Leeds, 1981.
Stay tuned for more on this. I need to be done by Tuesday!