2009 Postgraduate Biography Conference: History, Mystery & Myth
Saturday 14th November 2009 at the University of East Anglia, Norwich
In recent years trends in biography have shifted from the desire to present a definitive life to a more self reflexive approach. Metabiographies such as Lucasta Miller's The Bronte Myth, Sarah Churchwell's The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe and Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder provide alternative renderings of both the biographical subject and his or her entry into collective cultural consciousness.
This one day postgraduate conference intends to respond to these recent innovations in life writing by offering the opportunity to explore such questions as:
Is the "definitive life" dead?
How can we write about subjects with pervasive public images?
Does biography have a claim to truth of representation?
We invite postgraduate researchers to submit abstracts for papers of 15-20 minutes considering the questions posed above or indeed any topics connected to the role of myth in biography and history. These may include but are not confined to the following research areas:
Works in Progress: Strategies for Negotiating Mythologized Subjects
Critical Readings: Analysing History, "Truth" and Perception in Life Writing
Theoretical Approaches: Audience Expectations, Historical Conventions and the Biographical Form
Paper title with an abstract of between 200-300 words should be emailed to Biography@uea.ac.uk by 1st September. Please include your name, email address and university affiliation along with brief details of your writing or research project.
The conference will commence with a keynote speech by life writer Kathryn Hughes, and the event will conclude with a 60 minute round table discussion in which practicing biographers Jon Cooke, Lucasta Miller, Helen Smith and DJ Taylor will consider themes arising from the day.
School of Literature and Creative Writing
University of East Anglia
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