The Outlandish, Uncanny, and Bizarre in Literatures and Cultures

University of Opole, 29-30 September 2014
Deadline for proposals: April 30, 2014


They said, please, please make love with Helen, we require an assertion of value, we are frightened. I said that they shouldn’t be frightened (although I am often frightened) and that there was value everywhere. Helen came and embraced me. I kissed her a few times on the brow. We held each other. The children were excited. Then there was a knock on the door, I opened the door, and the new gerbil walked in. The children cheered wildly.
Donald Barthelme, “The School” (from Sixty Stories)

Unlike Barthelme’s fiction, life is not always so colorful, playful, or unpredictable. Indeed, the Yankton Sioux writer Zitkala-Sa once wrote that the bulk of modern society spends its waking hours “hopelessly treading drudgery mills.” Perhaps this grim fact accounts for our interest in that which transports us from such mechanized ruts into worlds – real and unreal – ruled by the outlandish, uncanny, and bizarre. Our conference aims to compare, juxtapose, and reveal various notions of the otherworldly – those things that make us scratch our heads, and those ideas that appear, either overtly or subtly, transgressive, unfamiliar, inappropriate, or ill-suited to what we deem normal existence. In doing so, we wish to trace how artists and cultures in general have dealt with representations of the outlandish, exploring its functions and forms.

In light of these aims, this conference provides a platform to reflect upon themes that address, but are not restricted to:

  1. changing notions of the outlandish, uncanny, and bizarre
  2. representing the fantastic, strange, and odd
  3. the evolution and functions of the gothic
  4. the outlandish,  uncanny, and bizarre in cinema, television, and the visual arts
  5. the exotic and the other
  6. literature as a revolt against the banal
  7. the Freudian notion of literature as fantasy
  8. anti-realism and the fantastic
  9. the motif of doppelgänger in literature
  10. notions of shock value
  11. the outlandish, uncanny, and bizarre in postmodern literature
  12. the campy and sexually taboo
  13. transgressive subcultures
  14. outlandish parody as social critique
  15. the literature of escape

For those scholars interested in participating in this eccentric endeavor:

Please send us an abstract (not exceeding 300 words, including the title, your professional affiliation, e-mail address, phone number, and audio-video requirements) by April 30, 2014, to The language of the conference will be English. The time allotted for individual papers will be twenty minutes.

Conference participation fees:

The participation fee is PLN 450, or €100 (PLN 350 or €70 for postgraduate students)
This fee includes all conference proceedings, daytime refreshments, and a tour of Opole.

Accommodation is not included in the conference fee.

Organizing Committee:
Prof. Ryszard W. Wolny
Dr Tadeusz Lewandowski
Dr Stankomir Nicieja
Aleksander Kozieł, BA