CFP: Studies in the Performativity of Villainy and Evil in British, American, Irish and Anglophone Literature and Media

Palgrave Macmillan
Stichtag: 31.03.2020

Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,
And cry ‚Content‘ to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions.
I’ll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
I’ll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
I’ll play the orator as well as Nestor,
Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,
And, like a Sinon, take another Troy.
I can add colours to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel to school.

(Henry VI Part III, 3.2)

The emphasis on “the performativity of texts” (Skinner x) has now become common in literary studies. “The notion of literature as performative” (Culler 96) is now entrenched. It pervades many of the recent studies of the theory of literature. This is why the concept of performance is no longer confined to literary forms that are traditionally written to be performed on the stage, the pulpit or the podium, like drama, songs and sermons. Every form of literature can be considered as performative. Moreover, the works of Judith Butler, Quentin Skinner, Richard Schechner, Jonathan Culler, Jacques Derrida, Richard Rorty, and others have shown that performativity characterizes all the aspects of literature. The writing, marketing, reading and analysis of literature are performative. It is quite common to describe them as acts, esp. the act of reading. This performativity extends the concept of literature irrevocably beyond the boundaries of the written text. It also proves that we need to cope with the looseness of the term literature that can no longer be confined to classical genres. Many traditional and new (non)-discursive practices started to fall into the category of literature, from which they have long been excluded.  Probably the most intriguingly appealing characters in traditional and contemporary literature, the representations of evil characters – be they villains in drama, antagonists in fiction and cinema, bosses in video games or corrupt public figures in satirical writings – has always been connected with the notion of performance. Evil characters, real or/and fictional, are – for the most part – defined by their deeds. This is why the notion of performance can be quite helpful in understanding them.

To further contribute to the articulation of this interconnection between performativity and the literary representation of evil characters, we are seeking full articles for a collection of academic essays on the performativity of literary villains in literary texts that are conceived in the English language for Palgrave Macmillan. This volume tries to use the emerging interdisciplinary theories of performance to study the literary villain.  It attempts to cover a wide range of classical as well as nonclassical and even experimentalist genres. The aim of this collection is to investigate the literary representation of the villain in different literary texts. It tries to emphasize the role of the villains and their performative energy in shaping the texts under scrutiny. The reviewers recommended that we extend the scope of the collection and, therefore, we are seeking full articles on the following topics:

  • Beowulf (we need more articles about this classic and its different adaptations)
  • Medieval literature (Chaucer, Arthurian Legends, Metaphysical Drama)
  • Renaissance writers other than William Shakespeare
  • Irish drama and fiction
  • Early American texts (may include early English versions/translations of Native American folklore)
  • 18th century British Literature
  • Romanticism
  • African American Literature
  • African literature in English
  • Comic books
  • Representation of Evil and villainy in musical performances
  • Music and evil
  • Cartoon
  • Films
  • The representation of evil in pornography and eroticism
  • Video games (with focus on their literary aspect)
  • Contemporary Gothic literature and media
  • Children literature
  • Fan studies

Unfortunately, other areas have already been covered and the reviewers recommended no further additions to them. Please send your full article and a short bio to no later than March 31, 2020.
For any query please do not hesitate to contact the editor Dr. Nizar Zouidi e-mail: We look forward to your contributions.

You can use MLA or Chicago style but please try to provide as much information as possible.

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