Coming up soon is our international workshop “(Re-) Constructing lives” at the SAES Conference, hosted this year by the University of Reims from 1-3 June.
Click below for details and programme
We are very happy to announce the publication of part one of “Great Biographers” in the e-journal Les Grandes Figures historiques dans la littérature et les arts (N°6 2017)
The publication of part two (N°6 bis 2017) is scheduled for October 2017.
Editors: Joanny Moulin & Hans Renders
Joanny Moulin (Aix Marseille univ, LERMA, Aix-en-Provence, Biography Society)
Hans Renders (Groningen University,Faculty of Arts, Biography Institute, History Department)
Tobias Heinrich (New College, University of Oxford), “Friedrich Schlichtegroll’s Nekrolog. Enlightenment Biography”
Nikol Dziub (Université de Haute-Alsace), “Washington Irving biographe, ou la fabrique des mythes américains”
Damien Fortin (Université de Lorraine), “Eloge et élégie. La critique biographique de Sainte Beuve”
Christopher Griffin (Institut Catholique de Rennes), “‘I should like to see our young officers read all your volumes’: Theodore Ayrault Dodge and American Military Biography”
Joanny Moulin (Aix Marseille univ, LERMA, Aix-en-Provence), “André Maurois, or the Aesthetic Advantage of Biography over the Novel”
CALL FOR PAPERS :
25-26 January 2018
Some writers are so fascinated by other artists that they study their biographies and tell their life stories, in fictional or non-fictional form. Whereas artists’ lives have been written throughout the ages, they have become increasingly popular since the romantic period, with the rise of the artist-hero in the Künstlerroman. Many romantic and post-romantic writers portrayed an artist from their home country as iconic of the nation, thus establishing or consolidating a national cultural tradition. However, there are numerous examples of authors who wrote the life stories of writers, painters or musicians from countries other than their own:
Alexander Pushkin tells about the rivalry between two famous composers in his theatre play Mozart and Salieri (1830) ; André Maurois narrates the life story of Shelley in Ariel ou la vie de Shelley (1923); The Moon and Sixpence (1919) is a fictional biography of Paul Gauguin written by Somerset Maugham and Symphonie Pathétique (1935) is Klaus Mann’s biographical novel of Tchaikovsky. More recent examples are the literary biography of Jane Austen written by the Canadian novelist Carol Shields in 2001; Caryl Phillips’ Radio Play A Kind of Home: James Baldwin in Paris (2004) and Julian Barnes’s novel The Noise of Time (2016) in which he examines the biography of Shostakovich.
All these examples show literary writers who, in many different ways, construct their subject’s life stories in order to reflect on life and art and to define their own aesthetic position. Whether they criticize their ‘hero’ or identify with him/her as a formative model and make it their own, they establish a trans-national relation with this particular artist.
We will further investigate the dynamics of such transnational relations and appropriations in a two-day international workshop on artists’ biographies in the 19th-21st centuries. We will focus on the lives of artists, written by artists, such as literary biographies, biographical novels and operas or theatre plays that clearly rely on biographical elements.
We aim to examine four central issues:
Proposals, no longer than 200 words, should be sent before 1 June 2017 to Kasper van Kooten (K.B.vanKooten@uva.nl) and Marleen Rensen (M.J.M.Rensen@uva.nl).
Pr Joanny Moulin, Aix Marseille Université
Dr Jean-Charles Perquin, Université Lumière Lyon 2
Do biographies necessarily impose on lives an artificial pattern? Is not a life already a construction, quite apart from any attempt to write about it? If, on the one hand, biography may serve the ideological purpose of ceaselessly constructing and reconstructing idealized lives of iconic historical figures, on the other hand, it may just as well work the other way around. If biography can serve the purposes of myth-making, modern biography is more often than not an investigation, de-constructing the lives of historical personages to re-construct them on a more true-to-life basis. For instance, in a distant past, James Anthony Froude’s Life of Carlyle scandalized his contemporaries by knocking the great man off his pedestal, paving the way for Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians, and much more recently the biographies of C. G. Jung by Richard Noll and Ronald Hayman, reconstructing the life of the Swiss psychologist in a very iconoclastic light, or again Pierre Péan’s François Mitterand, Un jeunesse française, unearthing once more the socialist leader’s commitment with the Vichy government.
This workshop will particularly welcome contributions looking at the positioning of biographies relatively to this ideological notion of “construction”. Other papers may concentrate rather on the biographers’ narrative discourse as a process of re-constructing those parts or sides of their subjects’ lives that have been erased out of historical document, whether intentionally or accidentally—a limit case in this respect is Ivan Jablonka’s Laetitia, and the use of ‘fictions de méthode’ to investigate the gaps. Another direction worth exploring would be the way in which, biographical information about an author/an artist may drastically inflect the reception of his/her work.
Thursday 1st June 2017
4.00-6.30 : Ateliers I
Chair: Joanny Moulin (Aix-Marseille Université)
4.00-4.20 – Antoine Capet (Université de Rouen) – Churchill personnage de « biopic » : « reconstruction » d’une vie légendaire
4.20-4.40 – Catherine Heyrendt (Université Reims-Champagne-Ardennes) – Champagne, myth, and turtle soup : reconstructing Winston Churchill’s life in food and drink
4.40-5.00 – Olivier Frayssé (Université Paris IV- Sorbonne) – La dimension biographique du révisionnisme dans l’historiographie américaine
5.00-5.20 – Patrick Di Mascio (Aix-Marseille Université) – Biographie et démocratie: remarques à partir de Tocqueville.
Friday 2nd June 2017
Chair: Hans Renders (University of Groningen)
9.00-11.00 : Ateliers II
9:00-9:20 – Jean Raimond (Université de Reims Champagne-Ardennes) – « Robert Southey’s Life of Nelson : the making of a legendary heroic figure »
9:20-9:40 – Jean-Charles Perquin (Université Lumière Lyon 2 ) -Henry James’s “The Private Life” and Robert Browning
9:40-10:00 – Page Richards (University of Hong Kong) – Lyric Construction and ‘Born Retrospection’: ‘Late Arrivals’ and Re-Conception in Biographical Lyric.”
10:00 – 10:20 – Isabelle Pariente-Butterlin (Aix-Marseille Université) – The Concept of Moral Life
Saturday 3rd June 2017
Chair: Page Richards (University of Hong Kong)
09:00-10:30 : Ateliers III
9:00-9:20 – Natalie Dykstra (Hope College, Holland, Michigan) -Nicked with Incident: Eloquent Objects and Biographical Storytelling
9:20-9:40 – Alice Braun (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre) – “Setting my story against hers”: (re)constructing motherhood in Jeanette Winterson’s autobiography
9:40-10:00 – Aquarini Priyatna (Universitas Padjadjaran, Bandung, Indonesia) – [Re]Constructing the Self, Rebuilding A Life Post Nude Images in Playboy: The Biography of Indonesian [ex] Nude Model Tiara Lestari
11.00-12.30: Ateliers IV
Chair: Catherine Heyrendt (Université Reims-Champagne-Ardennes)
11.00-11.20 – Marleen Rensen (University of Amsterdam) -Constructing Transnational Lives
11.20-11.40 – Marco Mongelli (University of Bologna & Paris IV Sorbonne) – L’usage de la fiction dans les biographies de Jean Echenoz
11.40-12.00 – Valeria Mosca (University of Genoa) – A Life in Writing and a Life of Writing: J.C. Kannemeyer and David Attwell’s Biographies of J.M. Coetzee
12.00-12.20 – Alexandre Tremblay (Aix-Marseille Université) -Lytton Strachey: Constructing a Metafictive Essence