CfP: Smallness: Myths, frames and avatars of the late modern (26 Nov 2021; deadline 30 June)

Grupo Poéticas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Research Seminar

Smallness: Myths, frames and avatars of the late modern

In an effort to reach beyond the conspicuous, the large and clearly visible, the spectacular and magnified, this seminar is an invitation to read, watch and assess smallness, detail, imperceptibility, following Virginia Woolf’s direction: “let us not take for granted that life exists more in what is commonly thought big than what is commonly thought small” (“Modern Fiction”). Physical smallness comes to be explored, thematised and staged in different genres and formats, from literature to art, from tiny everyday materiality to the most peculiar oddity. Beyond the material and the metaphysical, this seminar also aims at exploring other notions around littleness, such as brevity, lightness, paucity, miniature.  By examining the practice of writers and artists whose work has used small-scale methods or gravitated upon minuteness, concision and the virtually unnoticeable, we are ready to revise and rethink aesthetic and  literary categories investigating the social and symbolic stature that smallness can engender.  

From Emily Dickinson’s “We should not mind so small a flower” to Louise Glück’s “small chips of matter”, from Deleuze and Guattari’s and Pascale Casanova’s “minor (or small) literature”, to Sianne Ngai’s revisions on the “cute,” and Mandelbrot’s elaboration on “fractals,” we aim at reflecting upon smallness, the infinitesimal and the microtextual. In view of our ongoing interest in myth, this seminar will open up a space for reflection on small or minor myths, in relation to larger founding societal and cosmological narrative frames.  Presentations should focus on any recent literary or artistic practice in order to reassess its value against large-scale ways of reading and interpreting reality in the 20th and 21st centuries.

We are seeking 350 w. abstracts (with 3 keywords) by June 30, 2021

Please, send us your short bio (150 w.) and affiliation

Proposals should be sent to Professor Esther Sánchez-Pardo (        

Our seminar will be held both online and face-to-face at U. Complutense

Structure: Two keynotes and a number of selected presentations

Notification of acceptance: July 23, 2021