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Call for papers: Genesis – Vilnius 2025

Genetic scholars, as they follow the evolution of an artwork, seek to grasp the sui generis character of the creative process. This pursuit of an elusive objective recalls a recent provocative tourism campaign launched by Lithuania’s capital to attract a younger demographic. The ad boldly declared: “Vilnius—the G-spot of Europe. Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it—it’s amazing.” Be as it may, one derives pleasure from genetic research: delving into manuscript materials uncovers the historical contexts the author faced, touches on the intertextual influences the writer engaged with, and pulls the archive reader into discussions about the work’s reception. Reconstructing the genesis means intruding into various realities—both credible and possible—of the work under development. It also involves tracking the mimetic operations employed when the creative mind transforms everyday experiences into fiction and vice versa. However, these textual and non-textual realms reach the scholar in fragments.

Geneticists have persistently experimented with the problem of the perception gap adopting various methods: differentiating creative processes (cf. Genesis 2017), comparing practices across different arts (cf. Genesis 2022), or consulting creative agencies (cf. Genesis 2023). In the words of Aristotle, both genetic scholars and writers operate similarly: “the poet’s job is not relating what actually happened, but rather the kind of thing that would happen” (Poetics, 1451a). Aligning two seemingly impassable mazes of literary studies—genetic reconstruction and mimesis—thus means inspecting the emergence of meaning. From initializing to modifying and, to some extent, stabilizing it, the author (or the critic) inscribes himself into the generative algorithm of surrounding discourses (cf. a semiotic approach by Algirdas Julius Greimas) and constantly breaks this code when creative impulses incite. Integrity and fragility counterbalance each other in the composition process: fictionalizing acts can be recognized within what’s perceived as authorial documentation, while editing sometimes equally both refines and obscures articulated ideas, et cetera.

Revision may continue ad infinitum, although it remains a mystery how the author determines the moment of aesthesis. Besides, the way geneticist rationalizes the construction materials of the cathartic recoil literature causes in the reader, may not necessarily match with the author’s or editor’s vision for the work’s effect.

The following topics may guide the focus of submissions, yet do not limit them:

  • In what way do the theories of mimesis (classical or modern) apply to manuscript interpretation? What are the problems of evaluating the mimetic effects of textual versions?

  • How do fictionalization techniques both derive from and transcend the events they represent?

  • What kind of relationship can be drawn between credible and possible in the revision process?

  • How are the agents of genesis presented in the authorial manuscripts? In what way does a prototype become a character?

  • What are the tensions of relating the idea of bibliographic code to its enactment?

  • What are the pillars genetic scholar rests on when creating a new reality for the work of art to live on?

  • Considering the interplay between genesis and mimesis, can the concept of ‘possible worlds’ offer new insights?

  • How does genetic reconstruction stretch the limits of realities known to have shaped the work of art (be it literature, music, architecture, painting, or theatre)?

  • How do textual and non-textual realities intertwine in genetic research?

  • Which qualities of digital medium bring out—or burden to reveal—the nature of the genetic motion?

We encourage scholars from diverse disciplines and academic backgrounds to participate. The language of the conference is English with possible sessions in French, if offered. To submit a proposal for a 20-minute presentation, please send an abstract (approximately 300 words), a short bio, and your affiliation to by 1 October 2024. Acceptance notifications will be sent via email on 1 December 2024. Information regarding logistics, registration fee, and other details will be published on the conference website during the registration period.

The conference is organised by Vilnius University (, ITEM (www.item., and The Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore (

Academic Committee:

Mateusz Antoniuk (Jagiellonian University),

João Dionísio (University of Lisbon),

Paolo D’Iorio (Institute of Modern Texts and Manuscripts – ITEM),

Nathalie Ferrand (ITEM),

Paola Italia (University of Bologna),

Sakari Katajamäki (Finnish Literature Society – SKS),

Paulius V. Subačius (Vilnius University),

Dirk Van Hulle (University of Oxford),

Peng Yi (National Central University, Taiwan).

Organising Committee:

Dovilė Gervytė,

Nijolė Keršytė,

Paulius V. Subačius,

Mikas Vaicekauskas.


The GENESIS CONFERENCES welcomes proposals for hosting and organizing future editions. The conference series are dedicated to genetic criticism. The events are held regularly in different countries around the world: Helsinki, Cracow, Oxford, Taipei, Bologna... Each conference is organised by a distinguished organising committee and an international academic committee. GENESIS attracts an interdisciplinary audience interested in the application of genetic criticism to literature, philosophy, or the arts.

In 2026, the conference will take place in Lisbon, and there are also plans for the 2028 conference to be held in Paris. If you are interested in hosting the event in 2027, 2029 or 2030, please send a letter of interest by 1 February 2025 (to Proposals should address the following issues: draft conference theme, organizational institution(s), hosting location, potential time when the conference can be held.

All proposals will be discussed by the representatives of the conference series in Vilnius in October 2025.



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