Dr Vike Martina Plock writes
We are looking for one or two delegates to join us on a panel on neuroscience and literary modernism at the MSA 9th Annual Conference âGeographies of Visual and Literary Cultureâ? in Long Beach, CA (1 â 4 November 2007).
Turn-of-the-century scientific inventions and discoveries created radically new topographies of the human mind. Especially neuroscience, relying on improved technology in the area of microscopy, suggested profoundly new ways of looking at the nervous system, making its internal organisation and geography visible to the human eye. Whilst the workings of the human mind thus became more comprehensible to neuroscientists, scientific studies simultaneously emphasized the complexity and vulnerability of the nervous organisation, an intricate system of neuronal interdependencies where neuronal transmission and communication among different neuron groups could easily be interrupted and permanently damaged.
This panel aims to look at how writers of the modern period represented, reflected on, and commented on emerging theories in turn-of-the-century neuroscience. Its emphasis will be less on neurology, the study of damage to the nervous system through trauma and shell shock, as on the manner in which new images of the microscopically exposed nervous system influenced modernist writers in re-considering writing techniques in the fist half of the twentieth century.