Category Archives: Events

ESSE 2016 in Galway: Seminar “BIOGRAPHY” 22-26 August

Last updated 30/07/2016

13th ESSE Conference: 22-26 August 2016

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Conveners : Joanny MOULIN (The Biography Society, Aix-Marseille Université, France) & Hans RENDERS (Biography Institute, University of Groningen, the Netherlands)

This seminar invites contributions to the study of biography as a genre, considering that it raises specific issues that distinguish it from autobiography. It would equally be interested in approaches to the practice of biography as a method of academic research, from microhistory to literature and cultural studies. For instance, individual papers may address theoretical questions, case studies of particular biographers’ works, the history and the poetics of biography, the impact of the biographical turn, the evolution of biographical dictionaries, or the innovative influences of the biopic and digital humanities.


Tuesday 23rd August 17.00-19.00 — “Historical Perspectives”
1. RENDERS, Hans (University of Groningen, the Netherlands) — Biographies as Multipliers; The First World War as Turning Point in the Lives of Modernist Artists
2. RICHARDS Page (University of Hong Kong, China) — Biography, the Historical Lyric, and Rita Dove
3. BROCK Malin Lidström (Luleå University of Technology, Sweden)  — Mad, bad or (just) sad? Recent biofiction of Zelda Fitzgerald
4. WILSON COSTA Karyn (Aix-Marseille Université, France)  — “Auguste Angellier’s Life of Robert Burns: an Indulgent Biography”
5. POLLAND Imke (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Germany)  — Imaginary Biography? Portraying the public and private persona in the royal biopic The Queen.

Wednesday 24th August 14.00-16.00 — “Biographers”
6. MOULIN Joanny (Aix-Marseille Université, France)  — André Maurois, or the Aesthetic Advantage of Biography Over the Novel
7. DE HAAN Binne (University of Groningen, the Netherlands) — Richard Holmes: A biographer-historian par excellence
8. THIRRIARD Maryam (Aix-Marseille Université, France)  — Harold Nicolson, the “New Biographer”
9. TREMBLAY Alexandre (Aix-Marseille Université, France)  — Giles Lytton Strachey and Biography: The Oddity of True Interpretation
10. SABLAYROLLES François (Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas, France)  — The Silhouetted Figure of the Biographer

Thursday 25th August 11.00-13.00 — “Interdisciplinary perspectives”
11. DI MASCIO Patrick (Aix-Marseille Université, France)  – Biographying Freud
12. FAUSEL, Heidi (Aix-Marseille Université, France) — A Study in Time Travel: Writing the Life of William Caxton
13. RENSEN Marleen (University of Amsterdam the Netherlands)  — Biography, Cultural Mediation and Transnational Studies
14. HARMSMA Jonne (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)  — From Model to Vision: A Biographical Turn in Political Economy?
15. POULOMI Mitra (Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, India)  — “Cinematic (Mis)representation of Femininity: Virginia Woolf in The Hours”

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Biography Society workshop at the SAES Conference in Lyon – June 2016

 Last updated on 24/05/2016

The Biography Society will be taking part in the SAES conference (Société des Anglicistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur ), 2-4 June 2016 at Lyon III University .

Here are the CALL FOR PAPERS and PROGRAMME for our workshop:

Biography Studies: An Interdisciplinary Confluence

Since the end of the last century, a “biographical turn” has occurred in the Humanities, which, after several decades that have been dominated by the “death of the subject”, place the human individual once again at the heart of debates. The development of researches on autobiography and autofiction in literary studies, the methodology of life writing in the social sciences, have characterized the first phase of this movement. Today, Biography Studies appear as a dynamic emerging field, under way of theorization. Researchers in many countries and various disciplines turn to studying the hitherto underestimated genre of biography. Contemporary literature and cinema display a remarkable interest for biofiction and the biopic. In history, biography asserts itself as an innovating mode of historiography. Researchers of several disciplines are pulling together around the recently founded Biography Society (, to animate this new research field and to contribute to its theorization.

Anglistics, as a multifarious discipline, is a vantage ground for Biography Studies, not only because of the importance of biography as a genre in English literature, from Izaak Walton and John Aubrey, to Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, to Thomas Carlyle, to Virginia Woolf, Giles Lytton Strachey and the authors of the New Biography, to the Oxford DNB, and the flourishing biographical productions in anglophone countries today; but also because Biography Studies constitute an interdisciplinary zone of confluence, properly speaking, at the crossroads of “civilisation“, literary and cinema studies, history and visual arts. Many French anglicistes are biographers in their own rights, others have developed the study of literary biography around Frédéric Regard, and new projects to study the biopic are in the offing.

This first workshop of The Biography Society is intended as a rallying call to English Studies scholars interested in Biographical Studies in one way or another: it welcomes contributions from researchers of various waters, confirmed academics or doctoral students. Papers can address the practice of biographical writing, offer theoretical reflections on biography, the biopic, biofiction, or biographical dictionaries, explore new biographical approaches to literature, or else propose analyses of remarkable biographers and biographical works in historiography, literature, cinema, or other media. Abstracts for papers focussing on the theme “confluences”, of no more than 300 words, should be addressed before 25 January 2016 to

Conveners: Joanny Moulin (PR) and Maryam Thirriard (PRCE, PhD student)


2  June – 3.30 – 6.30 Workshop I

3.30-4.00 – Antoine Capet ”Churchill et ses biographes”

4.00-4.30 – Olivier Frayssé (Paris 4) “Biographie et généalogie: les grands ancêtres: le cas d’Abraham Lincoln”

4.30-5.00 – Karyn Wilson Costa (Aix-Marseille): “Auguste Angellier’s Life of Robert Burns: an Indulgent Biography”

5.00-5.30 – Louis Roux (Saint-Étienne): “Ruth Scrurr: John Aubrey: My Own Life”

5.30-6.00 – Alice Braun (Paris Ouest Nanterre): “When Janet Frame’s biography and autobiography collide”

6.00 – 6.30 – Questions

3 June – 9.00 – 10.30 Workshop II

9.00-9.30 – Taïna Tuhkunen (Angers) : “A real life on a reel: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s biographical picture of Allen Ginsberg (Howl, 2010)”

9.30-10.00 – Delphine Letort (Le Mans) “Adapting and Reenacting the Past in the Political Biopic Selma

10.00-10.30 – Questions

4 June – 9.00 – 10.30 Workshop III

9.00-9.30 – Patricia Godi Tkatchouk (Clermont-Ferrand 2) : “Art and life, or aspects of the original integration of biography in feminist literary criticism to read women poets”

9.30-10.00 – Patrick Di Mascio (Aix-Marseille): “Americanizing Freud: John Huston’s Secret Passion”

10.00 – 10.30 – Questions

4 June – 11.00 – 12.30 Workshop IV

11.00-11.30 – Maryam Thirriard (Aix-Marseille): “Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, Harold Nicolson, André Maurois and the ‘New Biography’: Zones of Confluence”

11.30-12.00 – Alex Tremblay (Aix-Marseille); “Lytton Strachey and Biography: The Oddity of True Interpretation”

12.00 – 12.30 – Questions

Biography beyond Borders: Colloquium on American and European Biography- Nov. 2016

Save the date5th NOVEMBER 2016

In collaboration with the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing at Oxford, housed at Wolfson College and directed by Professor Dame Hermione Lee, BIO will host a Colloquium on American and European Biography, to be held on November 5 2016.

Preliminary plans include an elegant reception to be held in London on the evening of 4 November; travel by train to Oxford on the morning of the 5th, and a day devoted to panel discussion of significant differences (and some similarities) between American and European biography. A lunch-time discussion will feature a top American and a top European biographer exploring the question of how we can push the boundaries of the purposes and meaning of biography, and how American and European perspectives might differ in doing so. The colloquium will conclude with a reception at Wolfson College.

Full details of the cost of housing and conference fees will soon be announced. Wolfson is an elegant, modern college with excellent conference facilities, including eighty en-suite bedrooms. (

For those who are interested, a BIO group will be spending Thursday night, November 3, at a Victorian Bed and Breakfast in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, run by a key former staff member in the Royal household who also offers specially guided tours of the area.

If you are interested in being part of this exciting collaboration between OCLW and BIO (either as a participant on a panel or as a member of the group), please contact either Deirdre David ( or Will Swift (drwswift@gmail.comto indicate your desire to learn more information.

Salon du livre d’histoire de la ville de Versailles

Le salon Histoire de Lire est un événement de la ville de Versailles, présidée par Etienne de Montety.
Il a pour objectif, depuis sa création en 2008, de promouvoir des œuvres de grande qualité historique et accessibles à un large public. Il est ouvert aux différentes formes d’expression écrite (monographies, biographies, essais, mémoires apocryphes, récits, romans historiques, bandes dessinées…) Il accueille aussi bien des historiens déjà reconnus que de jeunes talents prometteurs. La vocation de ce salon est de rendre plus accessible et plus vivante une science encore trop réservée à des publics avertis et d’élargir ainsi son audience aux plus jeunes.