Past Program

Mar 21 - Mar 28, 1998

The Contemporary Novel


The novel has been described as the most effective agent of the moral imagination, a literary genre that allows the novelist not only to represent, but also to criticize and question life in society. An art form that has by turns been hailed, lambasted, proclaimed dead, revived, deconstructed, and minimized, the novel remains a vital form of literary and cultural expression, revealing much about the essential world in which we live.


This session will bring together novelists, literary critics, and scholars from around the world to explore the state and form of the contemporary novel, and to analyze what it reveals about the diversity of the human experience at the end of the twentieth century. Novelists will give readings and offer interpretations of their works; literary critics and scholars will lead discussions on the role, reception, and impact of the novel in their respective countries or regions, and will compare and contrast the novel to other literary forms. Session participants will also examine the narrative voice in the contemporary novel and consider aesthetic and formal innovations that have emerged in recent years.