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

    • Authors: Anneke Ribberink, Tiina Kinnunen, Kirsti Niskanen, Angelika Schaser
      Pages: 1 - 8
      Abstract: Politicians all over Europe used to write about their lives, and keep doing so. Like other well-known persons they are “unusual biographical subjects”, because the biographical activity concerning their lives often starts while they are still alive. (Frank 1999). On the one hand, classical autobiographies written by politicians themselves (and their co-authors or ghost-writers) are published widely and are not only an important part of the memory politics and the construction of national history, but also a contribution to the stabilization of gender conceptions.(Depkat 2014, p .247-265; Ulbrich, Jancke and Bosch 2013, p. 5). Often the (auto)biographers intend to contribute to political and historical analyses. On the other hand, life writing has changed and diversified rapidly during the 20th century. The widespread desire for authenticity and truth seems to be enormous, so we can see a process of democratization, including  a change of the concepts of private and public spheres. Nowadays everybody is entitled to present his or her life in public.(Ulbrich, Jancke and Bosch 2013, p.5). Life writing took place not only in hard copy, but in many different media, like radio, film, tv, blogs, facebook and other new social media. So it seems a good moment to look at the (auto)biographies and memoirs in the political area during the 20th and the beginning of the 21th century.
      PubDate: 2016-12-28
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • Introduction to the IABA Europe Madeira Conference Papers

    • Authors: EJLW Editors
      First page: 1
      Abstract: In 2015, the fourth IABA Europe conference took place in Funchal, Madeira, [being] hosted by the Centre for Atlantic Studies (CEHA) and co-hosted by the European Journal of Life Writing. This conference aimed to advance contemporary discussion on narrating lives (telling life stories) by and interpretation of life narrative and life writing, and the tensions to which these may give rise.
      PubDate: 2016-06-22
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • Fans of the Archive: Reading Fan Letters in Richmal Crompton's

    • Authors: Jane McVeigh
      Pages: 1 - 2
      Abstract: Richmal Crompton was a British twentieth-century writer of popular children’s stories. This seven minute film is about her fans, past and present, and is based in her archive at the University of Roehampton. It was made in collaboration with Archives and Special Collections and Media Services at the University of Roehampton, as well as members of the Just William Society and Richmal Crompton’s family.
      PubDate: 2016-03-24
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • The Stranger in the Self. Hofmannsthal’s Relationship to Jewishness

    • Authors: David Österle
      Pages: 1 - 12
      Abstract: This articles examines Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s changing view on his own Jewish origins from a biographical perspective. In his youth Hofmannsthal not only repeatedly expressed sympathy for the Jews and their plights but also antipathy towards Roman Catholicism. However, the poet’s views got increasingly skeptical towards his great grandfather’s religion from the mid-1890s onwards. This shift of opinion needs to be seen in the context of continued migration of ethnic groups within the multi-ethnic Habsburg empire, especially of Jews and Slavs from Galicia, who were perceived as a threat by large parts of the rest of the population. With recourse to Michel Foucault (Of Other Spaces) Hofmannsthal’s increasing identification with the Catholic culture of the Habsburg monarchy and the suppression of his Jewish heritage can be interpreted as a dialectical process of appropriation and resistance. This article discusses the question, if the poet’s creative biographical engagement with prominent figures of the Habsburg monarchy such as Prince Eugen and Empress Maria Theresa became a surrogate for Hofmannsthal’s own troubled and therefore unwritten history. This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on March 6th 2015, and published on Febreuary 21st 2016. 
      PubDate: 2016-02-20
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • Small Talk

    • Authors: Marjorie Kanter
      Pages: 1 - 35
      Abstract: Words matter.  Actions matter.  The same word, the same action can sometimes mean something quite similar to author and reader, yet at other times something very different from writer to reader and reader to reader, and yet still carry meaningful meaning.   At the outset, I write for myself, to help let go of, enjoy, work through, understand, save a thought, an experience, a gesture, an encounter... When I decide to share my writing formally, it is because I feel I have reached a corpus that will be meaningful to others, that it can stand alone without me.  Most of my writing is a reflection of real experience, either a short interact between several people or a reflection on life in feelings or thoughts. 
      This piece was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on July 10th 2015, and published on February 21st 2016.

      PubDate: 2016-02-20
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • Understanding Literary Diatexts: Approaching the Archive of Richmal
           Crompton, the Creator of ‘Just William’ Stories

    • Authors: Jane McVeigh
      Pages: 2 - 22
      Abstract: Richmal Crompton was born in Bury, Lancashire on 15 November 1890 and she wrote and published ‘Just William’ stories from 1919. She was very prolific, and published thirty-eight ‘Just William’ story collections, some forty novels and other short story collections. She is most famous for her stories about an eleven year old boy called William who features in the ‘Just William’ stories. Crompton often wrote ideas on fragments of paper. Her archive at the University of Roehampton also includes letters and other documents from fans, friends, family, local organisations and businesses which have, on the other side, ideas for her stories. The archive houses Crompton’s library taken by her family from her last home. Personal notes and postcards from friends were found inside these books. Moreover, the archive includes other personal items, such as her desk, typewriter and glasses. This essay will consider how we can understand the archive of the author, Richmal Crompton, based on a diatextual analysis that draws connections across the fluid boundaries that all of this material creates within this physical and imaginative space. This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on October 1st 2015 and published on 22 June 2016.
      PubDate: 2016-06-22
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • Extraordinary ordinary men Biographies of Dutch post-war premiers reviewed

    • Authors: Marieke Oprel
      Pages: 3 - 15
      Abstract: This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on December 24th 2015 and published on June 13th 2016.
      PubDate: 2016-06-13
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • The socialist new woman redux: Hella Wuolijoki’s life writing in the

    • Authors: Katarina Leppänen
      Pages: 9 - 23
      Abstract: Abstract: Autobiography can be thought of as, among other things, a speech of defence. The Estonian-Finnish author Hella Wuolijoki started writing her autobiography in prison and it very much reads as a legitimization of her political life choices. The article investigates how Wuolijoki depicts her own politicization, and how she plays with different author names in order to destabilize a taken-for-granted author position. The material used is her three part autobiography/memoirs, in which she explicitly declares that she is less interested in the facts of her life, but rather wants to keep them in their original memory-form. This gives her the freedom to recount events she deems important for her self-formation, rather than events or general interest. Feminist and autobiographical theory is used as a tool to investigate how dislodging the authorial position can open new ways of emphasising a woman’s political development. Thus, the literary formation of a political and feminist persona can be studied through her works. In this article I relate Wuolijoki’s writing to a way of theorizing the position of the political woman that could be found in Alexandra Kollontai’s pamphlet on the socialist New Woman written in 1918. The article analyses how Wuolijoki legitimizes her political activities by recounting her life as always intricately connected to contemporary political events. The article shows that political autobiography is a concept that can open new perspectives on women’s life writing and that the construction of an autobiographical persona that combines the concepts of woman and political may rely, as in this case, on types or models found in literature rather than life.  Swedish: Självbiografi kan ses som, bland annat, ett försvarstal. Den estnisk-finska författaren Hella Wuolijoki började skriva sin självbiografi i fängelset för att legitimera sina politiska livsval. Artikeln undersöker hur Wuolijoki skildrar sin egen politisering och hur hon leker med olika författarnamn för att destabilisera en förgivet tagen författarposition. Det analyserade materialet utgörs av hennes självbiografi/memoarer i tre band i vilka hon explicit deklarerar att hon är mindre intresserad av fakta och snarare vill behålla händelserna så som hon minns dem. Detta ger henne friheten att behandla skeenden som hon anser viktiga för sin egen formering snarare än sådant som kan vara av allmänintresse. Feministisk och självbiografisk teori används som ett verktyg för att undersöka hur förskjutningen av författarens ställning kan öppna nya sätt att betona en kvinnas politiska utveckling. I artikeln jämför jag Wuolijokis skrivande med Alexandra Kollontajs sätt att teoretisera den nya kvinnan i pamfletten den socialistiska Nya Kvinnan från 1918. Artikeln analyserar hur Wuolijoki legitimerar sina politiska aktiviteter genom att ständigt relatera till samtida politiska händelser. Artikeln visar att en läsning ur ett politiskt självbiografiskt perspektiv kan öppna för nya perspektiv för kvinnors life-writing och att konstruktionen av ett självbiografiskt persona som kombinerar begreppen kvinna och politik, åtminståne i det här fallet, är beroende av typer och modeller som finns i skönlitteraturen snarare än livet. 
      PubDate: 2016-12-28
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • A Demythologized Auto/Biography: Beginnings and Evolution of Metabiography
           in Feminine Postmodern Fiction

    • Authors: Souhir Zekri
      Pages: 13 - 35
      Abstract: The postmodern features of English fiction like fragmentation and metafictionality seem to find an equivalent in life writing and metabiography. Such instances of metabiography either expose the protagonist in the process of writing a biography or memoir, and/or include extracts of life writings which are textually incorporated in their original format. The aim of this paper is first to explore the structural characteristics of metabiography and its evolution from a theme to a structure/form, through Henry James’s The Aspern Papers (1888), A.S. Byatt’s The Biographer’s Tale (2000) and Marina Warner’s fiction. As Richard Holmes explains, “the boundaries between fact and fiction have become controversial and perilous” (16), boundaries which are crossed by Warner and Byatt, both postmodern female novelists who rely on the plurality of voices and textual collage instead of the conventional omniscient narrator and the linear narrative represented by James. Second, the focus will be on the strategies combining the aesthetic with the ethical, or “the political desire to write the histories of the marginalised, the forgotten, the unrecorded” (Byatt On Histories 10-11) through metabiographical autobiographies and diaries in Warner’s Indigo and The Lost Father. The life writing themes treated in these novels are also studied in relation to the modernist and postmodernist views of reality, history and representation which they reflect. This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on April 27th 2016, and published on February 21st 2016.   
      PubDate: 2016-02-20
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • Is Relationality a Genre?

    • Authors: Julia Watson
      Pages: 16 - 25
      Abstract: Review of Anne Rüggemeier, Die relationale Autobiographie: Ein Beitrag zur Theorie, Poetik und Gattungsgeschichte eines neuen Genres in der englischsprachigen Erzählliteratur [Relational Autobiography: A Contribution to the Theory, Poetics, and Genre History of a New Genre in English-language Narrative Literature] (Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2014)
      PubDate: 2016-09-21
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • "The Literary Interview as Autobiography"

    • Authors: Jerome Boyd Maunsell
      Pages: 23 - 42
      Abstract: This article examines how interviews with writers and artists operate as forms of autobiography, especially when collected and published in books. It briefly traces the history of the interview in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, alongside precursors in the earlier forms of dialogues and table talk. It argues that books of collected interviews, with examples including Frédéric Lefèvre’s Une heure avec… series (1924-33) and the Paris Review “Writers at Work” volumes, offer colloquial portraits which have distinctive qualities compared to more ‘written’ autobiographies. Avant-garde writers and artists in particular have taken to the art of the interview from the 1950s onwards with the advent of the tape recorder, in an international tradition of volumes outlined here including Richard Burgin’s Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges (1969), Pierre Cabanne’s Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp (1971), David Sylvester’s Interviews with Francis Bacon (1975-1987), Marguerite Duras’s Practicalities (1987), and J.G. Ballard’s Extreme Metaphors (2012). Chance, improvisation, and edited spontaneity emerge as attributes of the interview as a form of autobiography. Interviews, it is suggested, not only create flexible, immediate autobiographies of their subjects, but offer a dynamic mode of criticism, a space for the free play of ideas.
      This article was submittted to the European Jounral of Life Writing on November 27th 2015 and published on June 22nd 2016.
      PubDate: 2016-06-22
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • Gender clashes and faux pas. the political diaries of Ulla Lindström,
           Swedish minister in 1954-66

    • Authors: Gunnel Karlsson
      Pages: 24 - 44
      Abstract: Gender clashes and faux pasThe political diaries of Ulla Lindström, Swedish minister in 1954-66                                                                                                             The political diaries of Ulla Lindström caused a great sensation when published in 1969, three years after her resignation as Swedish minister without portfolio. She was the only woman minister in the Swedish government from 1954 to 1966, and her career had, according to the press, been characterized by faux pas or, as one reviewer of her diaries wrote: “(t)he silly Ulla /…/ of the botches, bodges, and gaffes.” He added that he himself had helped to write her down “with both malice and recklessness.” He was, however, not the only journalist putting down Ulla Lindström. A particular discourse or way of describing Ulla Lindström’s political persona was developed in the Swedish press during Lindström’s ministerial career. She started as the good-looking “pin-up girl” of the Parliament and ended up as the “shrew” of the party, the faux pas queen who was too talkative and thus in need of a muzzle. She was constructed as deviant, both as a woman and as a politician.In her political diaries Ulla Lindström herself compared the way she and her male colleagues were portrayed in the press. In my paper I will compare Lindström’s own political persona with the persona created in the press asking what was behind the creation of the “faux pas queen”. Genuskrockar och fadäser.Statsrådet Ulla Lindströms politiska dagböcker Såsom åtskillig forskning visat har det varit svårt för politiskt aktiva kvinnor att förena de motstridiga krav som ställts på dem som handlingskraftiga politiker och ”riktiga” kvinnor. Inom massmedieforskning används ofta ordet persona för att beskriva den personlighet som en politiker iscensätter på den offentliga arenan, en politisk persona. Problemet för politiker är att det i massmedia ofta skapas en annan persona än den som politikern själv iscensätter, så beskriver t ex en forskare hur en ”false persona” av Hillary Rodham Clinton skapades under den så kallade Whitewateraffären (Cit efter van Zoonen 2005:100).      Pressens bild av Ulla Lindström som ett pratigt och beskäftigt statsråd, vars karriär präglades av grodor, fadäser och klavertramp, kan ses som ett sätt att ”skapa” en politisk persona och med den en diskurs; ett specifikt sätt att tala och skriva om regeringens enda kvinnliga minister åren 1954-66. När Ulla Lindström efter sin avgång 1966 publicerade de politiska dagböcker hon fört under sin statsrådstid var ett av hennes motiv sannolikt att hon ville ge sin version, dvs skapa sin egen politiska persona som motvikt mot den bild som skapats av henne i pressen.  I mitt bidrag skall jag ge exempel på hur Ulla Lindström skapades som politisk persona och hur hon själv såg på eller tolkade den bild som gavs av henne.
      PubDate: 2016-12-28
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • Report on the Inaugural Asia-Pacific Chapter Conference

    • Authors: Jo Annette Parnell
      Pages: 26 - 33
      Abstract: “Locating Lives”: The Inaugural Conference for the International Auto/Biography Association (IABA) Asia-Pacific Chapter took place at the Flinders University City Campus, Adelaide, South Australia, 1-3 December, 2015. The IABA Asia-Pacific Chapter stems from the central disciplinary association for auto-biography scholars, the International Auto/ Biography Association (IABA World), which is a multidisciplinary network that aims to foster the cross-cultural understanding of self and identity and location, and promote global dialogues about life writing/narrative. The IABA Asia-Pacific Chapter conference follows on from the successful IABA Americas and IABA European Chapters’ conferences, and aims to stimulate and promote new region-specific conversations and encourage regional participation in the IABA World conference. The goal of IABA Asia-Pacific is to develop scholarly networks between life narrative scholars and writers in the Asia-Pacific region to assist and support the practices of high-quality life narrative theory, practice, and pedagogy in the region (see IABA Asia-Pacific International Auto/ Biography … ). 
      PubDate: 2016-10-13
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • Beyond the Subject – towards the Object? Nancy K. Miller’s What They

    • Authors: Anne Rueggemeier
      Pages: 36 - 54
      Abstract: In contrast to a long scholarly tradition that “separated subject from object, mind from matter” (Hodder 2012, p. 15), current writers of autobiography do no longer ignore the fact that “the content of our so-called inner lives comes heavily freighted with material from outer sources” (Eakin 2009, p. 102). The focus on things runs counter to internal and essential concepts of selfhood as they are rooted in Western thinking and rather make visible the material world, the body and the environment as formative factors of selfhood. It thereby contrasts the Cartesian concept of self founded on thought and reflection with a concept of self based on materiality. Drawing on Nancy K. Miller’s autobiography What They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past (2011) this paper will demonstrate that autobiographical objects foster a relational concept of self that is situated in the in-betweenness of subject and object, ego and autre as well as between the biographical and the autobiographical. Thus, the integration of objects highlights the fact that existence is not an individual affair, but that an autobiographical self emerges through and as part of his/her entangledness. Connected to this is the observation that objects function as a form of resistance against the processes of mind based epistemology and make a plea for “situated knowledges” (Haraway 1988).Finally, the essay takes a glimpse at some contemporary autobiographies from Britain, Sweden and Germany to illustrate that object-based life writing and the specific epistemology connected to it are worthy of further investigation. This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on May 6th 2015 and published on March 5th 2016.
      PubDate: 2016-03-05
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • Grief Interrupted: Writing My Father’s Life

    • Authors: G. Thomas Couser
      Pages: 43 - 60
      Abstract: In the fall of 1974, my mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 65; about eight months later, my father succumbed to depression at 69. The job of cleaning out the house in which I had grown up fell to me. My labors were rewarded by the discovery of a trove of personal documents—mostly personal  letters— in my father’s closet. At the time, too traumatized to engage with them, I skimmed, sorted, boxed, and stored them. It took me more than thirty years to open that box and absorb its contents. My rediscovery of this archive significantly affected my relation to the field of life writing, to which I had devoted my academic career. It greatly enhanced my appreciation of correspondence: I finally “get” letters. And the rich material impelled me to compose a memoir of my father. Doing so made me face ethical issues from a novel perspective. Moreover, writing my father’s story has helped me understand how a traumatic sequence of events when I was 28 has directed and shaped my academic work from the beginning. This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on August 29th 2015 and published on June 22nd 2016.
      PubDate: 2016-06-22
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • Gender, Politics, and Participation: The Contests of Autobiographical
           Writings in Poland

    • Authors: Dietlind Huechtker
      Pages: 45 - 66
      Abstract: This article discusses the connections between gender, politics of participation and of truth through the lens of life stories. They take as an example the contests of autobiographical writing which took place in Poland between the two World Wars. Poland after the First World War can be a good example to analyze the social and political meanings of participation, because it was a newly founded state with a huge tradition in autobiographical writing.
      PubDate: 2016-12-28
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • "Proper” Profiles. On Facebook’s investment in the
           autobiographical genre.

    • Authors: Susanne Fuchs
      Pages: 55 - 74
      Abstract: The term “Fake profile” was invented by the press to designate Facebook-profiles that do not represent the life of their authors, but are instead used for depictions of alter egos or fictional characters. The following article investigates how the term “Fake profile” introduces a genre-designation that causes its alleged opposite, the “proper” profile to emerge. Put in conversation with Jacques Derrida’s discussion of the law of genre and Michel Foucault’s questioning of the referential function of the name of the author it becomes apparent, that the difference between “fake” and “proper” cannot be sustained; the signature of the author does not stabilize the relationship between the writer and the contents of the written text. It is ironically the company’s own attempt to guarantee the “authenticity” of the profiles established on the platform through a real name requirement, that draws attention to the impossibility of the fixation of this relation. The article examines in how far the suspension of genre-designations (fake and proper) causes the unease with which online-identities are generally regarded within the press and the Academic discourse. This article was submitted on July 22nd 2015 and published on May 24th 2916.
      PubDate: 2016-05-24
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
  • Framing an Accusation in Dialogue: Kafka’s Letter to His Father and
           Sarraute’s Childhood

    • Authors: Lorna Martens
      Pages: 61 - 76
      Abstract: Kafka in the Letter to His Father mimics a courtroom trial with pleadings and rejoinders; Sarraute in Childhood tells her story in the form of a dialogue between herself and an initially confrontational, later complicit interlocutor. Curiously, both autobiographical texts have accusatory agendas. Kafka levels an accusation against his father, Sarraute against her mother. Following Rousseau, autobiographies that accuse others and/or vindicate the self are not rare, but the art of accusation is delicate: in order to stick and not boomerang on the writer, the accusation must be persuasively delivered. This paper examines how Kafka and Sarraute, both lawyers by profession, balance the dialogue form and the accusation. It is argued that each writer uses his or her version of the dialogue tactically, to accuse the parent while camouflaging the accusatory agenda, but in the end to win the case. This article was submitted on August 29th 2016, and published on November 28th, 2016.
      PubDate: 2016-11-28
      Issue No: Vol. 5 (2016)
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762
Fax: +00 44 (0)131 4513327
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