Tag Archives: Congrès de la SAES

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


Workshop of the Biography Society

at the

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
(see below for programme)

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discourse as a process of re-constructing those parts or sides of their subjects’ lives that have been erased out of historical document, whether intentionally or accidentally—a limit case in this respect is Ivan Jablonka’s Laetitia, and the use of ‘fictions de méthode’ to investigate the gaps.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

4.20-4.40Catherine 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