Deadline 30 Apr 2021

Proximity, contamination, and contagion [closed]

Deadline for submissions: April 30, 2021
Publication: December 2021
Download: (ITA) (ENG)

Download (call for papers ITA) (call for papers ENG)

Although primarily perceived as threats, both contamination (from the Latin contaminare, to blend, mingle) and contagion (con-tangĕre, to touch together) imply some form of communication and transmission “by contact direct or mediate” (OED). Understood as procedures of exchange, they have long been used as productive metaphors for various forms of proliferation of ideas and phenomena, thus exceeding the boundaries of their original epidemiological context. The 2021 issue of LEA encourages contributors to explore the ideas of proximity, contamination and contagion in all their connotations, thinking not only in terms of disease and invasion, but also of constructive and enriching cross-fertilization between peoples, cultures, texts, and ideas.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Epidemics/pandemics in literature: contagion, disease, isolation and quarantine. Representations of human vulnerability, anxiety and fear;
  • The language of disease: communication strategies, linguistic changes or challenges, translation issues, epidemic/pandemic discourses, metaphors of disease;
  • Language contact, proximity among disciplines, or cultures;
  • Circulation and recirculation of texts in books, journals, and newspapers. Successive rewritings or reprintings of texts or parts of texts;
  • Borrowing or sharing of motifs, ideas, and discourses across time and cultures. Intertextuality as contagion;

Rapid and ‘viral’ spread of information, ideas, genres, techniques, rhetorical practices etc. within one culture or across cultures.

Essays should be 8,000-12,000 words in length – approx. 50,000-75,000 characters with spaces, including notes and bibliography. All essays are submitted to the section “Scritture”.


LEA also welcomes review-essays, reviews, conference reports, description of research projects (etc.), not necessarily related to the topic of the Call for Papers, for the section “Osservatorio”. Approx. contribution length: 5,000-10,000 words (30,000-65,000 characters with spaces), including notes and bibliography.

Manuscripts can be submitted using our online systems. Should you experience any issues in uploading the manuscript file, contact <ayse.saracgil(AT)> and <ilaria.natali(AT)>. Please find our guidelines here.

Deadline for all submissions: April 30, 2021.