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European Journal of Life Writing
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
     ISSN (Print) 2211-243X
     Published by VU e-Publishing Homepage  [3 journals]
  • Bibliography

    • Authors: Ioana Luca
      PubDate: 2014-08-01
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • Deportation, Memory and the Self in Dalia
           Grinkevičiūtė’s Memoirs A Stolen Youth, A Stolen
           Homeland and Lithuanians by the Laptev Sea

    • Authors: Audrone Raskauskiene
      First page: 1
      Abstract: The present discussion adresses the issue of deportation, displacement, memory and the self in Dalia Grinkevičiūtė’s Lietuviai prie Laptevų jūros: Atsiminimai, miniatiūros, laiškai, written in 1949–50, first published in 1997 and in 2002 translated as A Stolen Youth, a Stolen Homeland, and in the second version of the memoirs, Lietuviai prie Laptevų jūros, written in 1974, in 1990 translated as Lithuanians by the Laptev Sea. At the age of fourteen, Dalia Grinkevičiūtė (1927-1987) was deported from Lithuania to Siberia during the mass deportations of 1941 and spent almost 10 years in Yakut Republic. Considering Grinkevičiūtė’s life experience writing memoirs may be understood as a means of composing or re-creating the self. At the same time, this re-creating of the self through narrative becomes a healing process to that wounded by the tragic experiences of deportation and exile. If we refer to Lacan, relating self to the others brings a healing effect. According to such scholars as Kohut, Hartmann, Modell, and Kernberg, a sense of self depends on the negotiations of self defined against and in relation to others, where the “other” takes the form of an object of various emotions. For many of these scholars, creativity, especially writing, performs the function of restoring or re-creating a sense of self and re-negotiating self-object relations. The idea of writing as re-creation of the self, can be related to autobiographical writing where this is quite explicit.
      PubDate: 2014-03-21
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • Writing the Lives of the Poor

    • Authors: Timothy Ashplant
      First page: 1
      Abstract: The conference 'Writing the Lives of the Poor' arose out of a joint Anglo-German research project, “Pauper Letters and Petitions for Poor Relief in Germany and Great Britain,1770–1914”, funded by the UK’s Arts & Humanities Research Council,and directed by Prof. Steven King (University of Leicester) and Prof.Dr. Andreas Gestrich (Director, German Historical Institute London. These narratives comprise letters and petitions written by paupers seeking some form of relief. In describing the circumstances which led them to appeal for help, the authors construct autobiographical vignettes. The project aims to construct an online, edited corpus of such texts, which survive in considerable numbers in British and German archives.
      PubDate: 2014-03-14
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • Love Plus Anarchy

    • Authors: Heathcote Williams
      First page: 1
      Abstract: Here’s something to offend everyone – which should make us think about grounds of taking offence. In an invitation to self-reflect, Heathcote Williams' poems ask more of readers than usual: it’s part of what makes them so interesting for life writing.
      PubDate: 2014-02-14
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • Speaking the Self, Narratives on Srebrenica

    • Authors: Odile Heynders
      First page: 1
      Abstract: In this article, various life narratives documenting the fall of the Srebrenica enclave in July 1995 will be discussed and analyzed. The fundamental question underlying the reading of these narratives is ‘How do separate stories construct the memory of a European locus, offering an understanding of a geopolitical space as build on interchangeable voices’? The larger context within which this paper is written is my research on the symbolization of Europe: to get a grip on the European reality and culture we need to analyze and interpret narratives in the light of and with regard to the historical facts, their impact, and the collective and suppressed memories involved.  
      PubDate: 2014-01-17
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • Review authorized biography Angela Merkel

    • Authors: Marieke Oprel
      Pages: 7 - 11
      Abstract: With Angela Merkel favoured to win the German election again, several political books about the German chancellor were published during 2013. Both in Germany and abroad, observers puzzled over the reasons for the on-going success of Mrs. Merkel, the scientist from East Berlin who became an internationally honoured stateswoman. One book stood out because of the label ‘authorized biography’ on the cover: Angela Merkel. The Chancellor and her world, written by Stefan Kornelius. Whether Merkel asked Kornelius, head of the international section of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, to write a book about her political career and vision, or just commented and approved a book Kornelius had written independently, is not mentioned. However, the fact is that Kornelius’ book is the first biography for which Merkel gave her consent. The question is: what new light does this authorized biography shed on the person behind the politician? This article was first published in EJLW on 14 October 2014.

      PubDate: 2014-10-14
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • Narratives of Survival and the Politics of Memory

    • Authors: Vieda Skultans
      First page: 11
      Abstract: Narratives of survival illustrate a number of converging theoretical issues of importance for life-history writing. On the one hand, personal memory strives for connection with shared structures of thought: little stories seek to attach themselves to big stories. On the other hand, nation building shapes personal memory to serve its political grand narratives. In the interstitial space room must be found for the articulation of the experience of little individuals.
      PubDate: 2014-04-18
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • When “Mixing Memory and Desire”: Imaginative Revisions and the
           Productive Power of Nostalgia in Rebecca Brown’s Oughtabiographies

    • Authors: Lies Xhonneux
      First page: 23
      English: This essay focuses on the “oughtabiographies” of the contemporary lesbian writer Rebecca Brown, which function as imaginative vehicles with which the author (re)writes her own past the way it should have been. Thus her work will be seen to extend the realm of longing – usually reserved for the future – into the past, thereby highlighting the role of desire and the value of “narrative truth” in personal history writing. Moreover, Brown’s active reworkings of her personal past allow for a critical reappraisal of the concept of nostalgia, which is usually dismissed as conservative or passive.
      Dutch: Dit essay bespreekt de “oughtabiographies” van de hedendaagse lesbische schrijfster Rebecca Brown, waarin deze auteur haar eigen verleden herschrijft tot wat het had moeten zijn. Zo toont Browns werk de invloed van verlangens – die normaal gezien tot het domein van de toekomst behoren – op (het denken over) het verleden, en benadrukt het het belang van “narrative truth” in de context van persoonlijke geschiedschrijving. Bovendien laat Browns actieve herwerking van haar verleden een kritische herwaardering toe van het concept nostalgie, dat vaak als conservatief of passief wordt afgeschilderd.
      PubDate: 2014-01-17
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • Early Russian Autobiography: Old Texts, New Readings

    • Authors: Yury Zaretskiy
      Pages: 44 - 62
      Abstract: The article discusses research perspectives in the study of Russian pre-modern first-person writings that are commonly called autobiographies. Its first part starts with definitions of what is “early russian” and “autobiographical,” briefly introduces six texts, gives a condensed review of the approaches to the study of these texts by literary and cultural historians from 1950s to the present, and concludes with suggestion of some new perspectives to their analysis. The article argues that re-questioning of early Russian autobiographical writings is prompted by some recent important changes in the humanities and social sciences and by some insights from historians and literary scholars who study first- person texts of the Western tradition. The second part of the article is a case- study that examines one autobiographical text, The Life (Zhitie) of monk epifanii (' – 1682) and focuses on one topic: representation of the hero/author’s pain and healing. The analysis of this representation is conducted in relation to concrete social and political contexts of the text. The study concludes that con- textualizing pre-modern first-person narratives as social activities embedded in historically specific reality helps in better understanding of their meanings. 
      in Russian
      Ранняя русская автобиография: Старые тексты, новые прочтения В статье рассматриваются перспективы изучения древнерусских сочинений от первого лица, которые обычно называют автобиографиями. Ее первая часть начинается с определения понятий «древнерусские» и «автобиографические» затем дает краткие характеристики шести текстов, содержит сжатый обзор подходов к изучению этих текстов историками литературы и культуры с 1950-х гг. по настоящее время и завершается предложением возможных новых направлений их исследований. В статье утверждается, что новые вопросы к древнерусским автобиогра-фическим сочинениям диктуются недавними важными переменами в социальных и гуманитарных науках, а также результатами, полученными историками и ...
      PubDate: 2014-06-20
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • How I Lost My Memory and Never Got It Back

    • Authors: Domnica Radulescu
      Pages: 55 - 59
      Abstract: This piece is a cross over memoir writing / short story that could also qualify as exilic writing. It emerges from my own experience of immigration and exile to the United States and in particular it tells the story of my last day in my native country of Romania before my escape in 1983. It also recounts  the wrenching episode of my passing through customs and leaving my country forever on a plane to Rome. The essay is about memory, the trauma of exile and the troubled journey of recerating myself as an immigrant straddling two different countries and cultures.
      PubDate: 2014-06-20
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • 1969: Stories into Music

    • Authors: Andrew Kupfer
      Pages: 60 - 70
      Abstract: For composers on both sides of the rock/classical divide, the music of the late 1960s is inseparable from personal history.
      PubDate: 2014-07-25
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • A Threefold Hybridity. Picturebook art fantasies as life writing

    • Authors: Ingrid van der Heyden, Helma van Lierop
      Pages: 63 - 81
      Abstract: Picturebook art fantasies about the life and work of famous artists are usually studied from an art education perspective, but they are also interesting from the point of view of life writing, because of their hybridity on three levels: the combination of fact and fiction, the synergy between text and images and their attractiveness for both child and adult readers. In this article two picturebooks are examined on this threefold hybridity, one about Wassily Kandinsky and one about Piet Mondrian. Both books are part of a series of picturebooks, initiated by the Municipal Museum in The Hague and Dutch children’s book publisher Leopold. It is argued that the postmodern experimentation with the form which is characteristic of life narratives for adults, can also be observed in children’s literature. The biographies of Kandinsky and Mondrian make use of novelistic techniques and the interplay between words and images to tell about the life and work of these two visual artists. The many allusions in text and images to the art and the poetics of the two painters show that these picturebooks are a challenging form of life writing for both adults and children.  
      PubDate: 2014-10-03
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • Am I Doing the Right Thing?

    • Authors: Maurizio Ascari
      Pages: 72 - 87
      Abstract: This article describes the genesis of Faded Letters, a novel that is rooted in real facts, notably, tracing the fate of Antonio Ascari, who was deported to Germany in 1944 as a forced labourer and died in Lublin in 1945, while fleeing from Germany with other Italian prisoners.
      PubDate: 2014-07-25
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • Identity and Writing in the Diaries of Plath and Woolf: Defining,
           Abjectifying, and Recovering the Self

    • Authors: Christie Mills Jeansonne
      Pages: 82 - 102
      Abstract: The ordering, de-abjectifying function of language is often harnessed by the diary writer: re-living and re-writing a fictive self through diary writing allows the writer control and understanding of the self which has experienced and then changed in the interval of time between the event, the recording, and the rereading. The diaries of Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf lend credence to this possibility of recovering abject identity through language. Their diary accounts of mental illness wield mastery over their experiences and emotional responses by choosing to recount them (or not). My paper seeks to reveal how Plath’s and Woolf’s distancing and retelling does not simply divide their selves (the pre- and post- trauma selves, the physical and textual selves), but allows them a greater range of movement, enabling mediation and reconciliation of many self-identities from the past, present, and future, and granting the authority to narrate their own continuums of becoming. This article was first published in the EJLW on 13 October 2014.
      PubDate: 2014-10-13
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
  • Thieving Facts and Reconstructing Katherine Mansfield’s Life in
           Janice Kulyk Keefer’s Thieves

    • Authors: Monica Latham
      Pages: 103 - 120
      Abstract: The aim of this article is to examine how the biographical material that Janice Kulyk Keefer “steals” from Mansfield’s life is used to re-create a “quasi-real” life in a novel which absorbs reality, digests it, and offers an oxymoronic, semi-fictitious product: a biofiction. Keefer selected biographèmes or kernels of truth on which her fictitious details and characters could be grafted: following Mansfield’s physical, emotional and intellectual trail was an imperative part of Keefer’s research plan, as essential as close reading of the modernist author’s letters and journals. Besides seamlessly fusing reality and fiction, historical and imaginative truths, these hybrid products bring together the characteristics of literary and genre fiction. The article also focuses on the generic aspect of Thieves, which “sells” a scholarly literary background by using a commercial format that borrows features from popular genres such as love stories, thrillers, mystery and detective novels. The result is a multi-layered story endowed with great narrative virtuosity and variety, with leaps in time and space and with parallel stories that finally intersect. The article ultimately concludes with more general considerations on how such biofictions recreating the myth of iconic figures have proved to be a flourishing literary genre on the current book market. This article was published in EJLW on 14 October 2014.
      PubDate: 2014-10-14
      Issue No: Vol. 3 (2014)
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