B S Johnson Journal – Call for papers

Via Joe Darlington

Call for papers – The B.S. Johnson Journal – Issue 3 – Truth

The B.S. Johnson Journal is pleased to announce the new theme for our forthcoming issue : “Truth”. Johnson struggled with questions of truth his entire life and we now invite research papers, journalistic essays, creative writing, reviews and reminiscences all struggling with the same issue. These might entail readings and reassessments of Johnson’s work from contemporary theoretical perspectives, pieces utilising historical or archive research, or new works that have been created based on or responding to Johnson’s work and insights.

Johnson produced a lot of fictional and programmatic efforts aimed at telling the “truth” in the hope that it would make up for the “chaotic” nature of life. Johnson’s now famous assertion that firstly, “the two terms novel and fiction are not … synonymous” and that, secondly, he chose “to write truth in the form of a novel”, have led critics to call his position doctrinaire and solipsistic, if not boring. The third issue of The B.S. Johnson Journal seeks to see how Johnson’s quest for truth in novels extends to his short stories, poetry, journalistic pieces and films.

Julia Jordan, in her introduction to B.S. Johnson and Post-War Literature – Possibilities of the Avant-Garde (2014), points out the paradoxical tension in Johnson’s prose between dogmatism and elusiveness. This reminds us that we need a systematic reading of the treatment and presentation of Truth in Johnson’s work. Indeed, if we take the truth to mean what happened to the author –  as he invites us to do in his quoting Beckett in the preface to Albert Angelo: “There is nothing else, let us be lucid for once, there is nothing else than what happens to me” – then Johnson’s prose becomes irrelevant for anyone but himself. Or does it?

Vanessa Guignery (2009) invites us to see beyond the autobiographical truth Johnson wants to lend to his work, to consider instead the phenomenological dimension of which she finds evidence in Johnson’s short story “What Did You Say The Name of the Place Was?”. We therefore invite Johnson’s readers to read beyond the author’s dogmatic judgements to question the resonance of Truth in his work :

–          – How do Johnson’s most solipsistic art productions manage to engage the reader or spectator ?

–          – What does Johnson’s engagement with Truth tell us about his view of the role art should or could play in Society ?

–          – Can his will to tell the Truth be related to the Zeitgeist of the 1960s ?

–          – Can Truth be relayed in third-person pronoun narratives ? How does it compare with first-person narratives ?

–           – Can self-consciousness be synonymous for truth ?

–           – Where does Johnson’s truth locate itself ?

Please submit your work for consideration, along with any enquiries, to the editors at bsjjournal@gmail.com by Monday 2nd May, 2016. We look forward to hearing from you!


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