Feb 24, 2009

The 2009 Eaton SF Conference: Extraordinary Voyages: Jules Verne and Beyond

Things are heating up fast in the world of Steampunk academia. There are a number of papers being presented at the 2009 Eaton SF Conference (which is focusing on the work and influence of Jules Verne) on Steampunk. I'm looking forward to "Chums of Chance and Warlords of the Air: A Steampunk Genealogy for Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day" by Rob Latham, as I've been reading Pynchon's epic myself. I'll be chairing a paper session on "THE EXTRAORDINARY VOYAGE IN OTHER MEDIA" which includes a paper titled "Oceans of Noise: Archetypal Readings of Jules Verne in The Abyss", which while not directly concerned with Steampunk, seems very intriguing nonetheless. I'll also be presenting a modified version of the presentation I gave at Steam Powered last fall, which is the presentation I'll be using Art Donovan's Shiva Mandala in. Here's the abstract for "Finding Nemo: Verne’s Antihero as Original Steam-Punk":
In the foreword to his annotated translation of Jules Verne’s Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), Walter James Miller suggests that Verne’s image was in need of rehabilitation due to the plethora of poor English translations his works have suffered. With the emergence of better translations, the same need for rehabilitation has emerged for Captain Nemo, the anti-hero of Verne’s underwater adventure tale. In the updated, post-colonial English translations of L’île mystérieuse (The Mysterious Island), Nemo is revealed to be very nearly the antithesis of the Caucasian pop-culture iteration made famous by James Mason and most recently continued by Patrick Stewart and Michael Caine. In L’île mystérieuse, Nemo is revealed to be an Indian prince whose real name is Dakkar, a leader of the Sepoy rebellion against colonial rule in 1857. It is this Nemo, Verne’s original character, who embodies the essence of the Steampunk hero: the self-made inventor of the spectacular Nautilus, a rebel against imperial tyrrany, and an egalitarian humanist who makes no differentiation in race or creed. This paper will explore the various representations of Nemo in Verne’s novels, their film adaptations, as well as Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s hyper-faithful rendering of Nemo in the two League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novels, with the goal of rescuing the real Captain Nemo from Orientalist obscurity.

In addition, Jake Von Slatt sent me this call for papers for an upcoming edition of The Journal of Neo-Victorian studies - I'll be submitting something for sure, and I look forward to seeing what the rest of the Steampunk scholars out there bring to the table.

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