Wednesday, August 17, 2022

CALL FOR PAPERS: Online Midsummer Seminar 2023 - Fantasy Goes to Hell: Depictions of Hell in Modern Fantasy Texts

The CFP deadline is May15, 2023.

The Mythopoeic Society invites paper submissions for an online conference that focuses on the various depictions of the concept of hell in modern fantasy works. Aspects of this topic might include but are certainly not limited to any of the following: 

  • The mystical spiritual descent: what can be gained from a descent to hell
  • The escape from hell: What is saved, and what is left behind
  • The harrowing of hell: the rescue of others from hell
  • The pact with hell: self-damnation or turning the tables 
  • The intersection of race, racism, and hell
  • Hellish places: Mordor, Charn, the Upside Down, the post-apocalyptic world 
  • The influence of fantastic ur-texts about Hell: Aeneas’s visit in The Aeneid; Dante’s Inferno; Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus; Milton’s Paradise Lost; Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit; the art of Hieronymus Bosch; Mozart’s Don Giovanni
  • “This IS the Bad Place!”: The primary world as Hell

Papers from a variety of critical perspectives and disciplines are welcome. We are interested in ANY form of media — text, graphic novels, television, movies, music and music videos, games — as long as it can be described as fantasy and includes a hell or its denizens.
Some texts to consider:

  • C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce
  • Charles Williams’s All Hallows’ Eve
  • Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens (book and television series)
  • Lois McMaster Bujold’s Five Gods series
  • Music videos: Lil Nas X’s “Montero” and “Industry Baby”
  • Television series: Buffy the Vampire SlayerAngelLovecraft CountrySupernaturalThe Good Place
  • Movies: Get OutDogma
  • Tanith Lee’s Tales From the Flat Earth series (Death’s Master et seq.)
  • Works by Vaclev Havel, Franz Kafka, Nikolai Gogol, George Orwell
  • Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (graphic novels and television series)
  • Walter Wangerin, Jr.’s Dun Cow trilogy
  • Evan Dahm’s Harrowing of Hell (graphic novel)

Each paper will receive a 50-minute slot to allow time for questions, but individual papers should be timed for oral presentation in 40 minutes maximum. Two or three presenters who wish to present short, related papers may also share a one-hour slot. Participants are encouraged to submit papers chosen for presentation at the conference to the special issue of Mythlore devoted to this theme. All papers should conform to the MLA Style Manual current edition.

Proposals should be approximately 200 words in length and should be sent to both co-chairs: and

More information can be found on the OMS event page

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