Ah, rejection.

Part of this gig, in fact part of any gig, part of LIFE is dealing with rejection. Today I was rejected for the 2nd time to the third panel at the ol’ MLA, sigh. For some reason, I felt like sharing this process with you all. This means my next shot at this huge conference will be 2014 (yes, you read that correctly) and will likely also be when I will be interviewing for jobs. Wow. So, either way, panel or no panel, I’ll be there. Here is the rejection email, followed by what I thought was a very interesting abstract. Happy Rejection reading! (cross those fingers for the sacred Fulbright; I should know in the next two weekst!)

Dear Ms.Musings,
I am sorry to say it wasn’t possible to include your paper in the MLA session on “National Literatures.” There were many excellent submissions, and could only accept three papers.
I hope to meet you at another opportunity, and again, thank you so much for your submission.

(not toooo bad, right? about as nice a rejection email could be).


The turn of the 21st century has brought with it a variety of contemporary Brazilian novels with an increasingly global character, as well as a number of noteworthy transnational authors who are helping to (re)define the boundaries of nation and how it is conceived. Traditional definitions of transnational literature have often engaged the nation from the vantage point of the exterior, through the lens of exiled writers and Brazilian diaspora. I postulate that this definition must be broadened to include narratives that transgress the nation from its interior, thereby expanding and redefining the imagined borders and margins of nationhood from within. Indeed, it is not merely an envisioning of the nation from abroad, but in fact a broadening of the nation from within, which more adequately delineates recent transnational literary projects.

Within this scope, I will analyze two important transnational narrative frameworks. Firstly, I will explore an immigration-themed novel, A Chave da Casa by Tatiana Levy, considering how its distinctive temporalities and multi-layered narrative voices transgress national boundaries, serving to expand and redefine Brazilian-ness for its immigrant population and beyond. Secondly, I will examine two novels in which Brazilian authors extend the confines of their narratives to transnational spaces, specifically Budapest by Chico Buarque, which voyages from Rio to the Hungarian Capital, and Rakushisha by Adriana Lisboa, which incorporates a Japanese-Brazilian protagonist, transgressing historical and geographical borders from Rio to Kyoto. Both of these narratives problematize traditional understandings of nation and question fundamental elements of Brazilian identity through their transnational backdrops. I contend that this recent trend in the contemporary Brazilian novel, to choose foreign settings as primary or secondary narrative milieus, speaks to the perceived necessity to transcend and interrogate established national geographies. Indeed, there exists an underlying tension between the national and transnational, which these three texts explore through temporality, setting and narrative voice.

(Now wouldn’t that have been a pretty little paper? 🙂 )




2 thoughts on “Ah, rejection.

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