Tag Archives: Biography Society Workshop

SAES Workshop: (Re-)Constructing Lives, June 1-3 2017

Workshop of the Biography Society

Annual Conference of the SAES
Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne
1-3 June 2017 in Reims



Pr Joanny Moulin, Aix Marseille Université
Dr Jean-Charles Perquin, Université Lumière Lyon 2

Workshop description:

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discourse as a process of re-constructing those parts or sides of their subjects’ lives that have been erased out of historical document, whether intentionally or accidentally—a limit case in this respect is Ivan Jablonka’s Laetitia, and the use of ‘fictions de méthode’ to investigate the gaps.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.

List of contributors:

  1. James Atlas – New York Institute for the Humanities (USA)
  2. Alice Braun – Université Paris Ouest Nanterre (France)
  3. Antoine Capet – Université de Rouen (France)
  4. Patrick di Mascio – Aix-Marseille Université (France)
  5. Natalie Dykstra – Hope College, Holland, Michigan (USA)
  6. Olivier Frayssé – Université Paris IV- Sorbonne (France)
  7. Catherine Heyrendt – Université Reims-Champagne-Ardennes (France)
  8. Marco Mongelli – Univ. of Bologna & Paris IV Sorbonne (Italy & France)
  9. Joanny Moulin – Aix Marseille Université (France)
  10. Valeria Mosca – University of Genoa (Italy)
  11. Isabelle Pariente-Butterlin – Aix-Marseille Université (France)
  12. Jean-Charles Perquin – Université Lumière Lyon 2 (France)
  13. Aquarini Priyatna – Universitas Padjadjaran, Bandung, (Indonesia)
  14. Jean Raimond – Université de Reims Champagne-Ardennes (France)
  15. Hans Renders – University of Groningen (The Netherlands)
  16. Marleen Rensen – University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
  17. Page Richards – University of Hong Kong (China)
  18. Alexandre Tremblay – Aix-Marseille Université – (France)