In this email exchange, Jean-Christophe Menu inveighs against the deterioration of comics autobiography into a formulaic ‘genre’. Fabrice Neaud maintains that the autobiographical enterprise is necessarily a dangerous undertaking in which a precarious subject comes into being, unlike the ‘proximate’ autobiography featuring a ready-made persona in search of peer approval. He employs a Darwinist evolutionary metaphor to demonstrate the colonisation of the ecological niche that houses comics autobiography by an ‘autobiography-lite’ better adapted to the market. He details the criticisms that have been made of his work (‘egotistical’, or formally over-conservative) and laments the tendency to equate artless scribbles with ‘sincerity’. Menu regrets that a distanced and selective portrayal of family life can be read as invasive of privacy, with devastating legal consequences.
Jean-Christophe Menu and Fabrice Neaud
The Case of Thaleia Flora-Caravia's Photographic Images and Self-Portraits
the painter, but also examines, alongside and complementarily, written autobiographical texts, in this case the painter's unpublished autobiography, whose narrative unfortunately only reaches the year of 1906, as well as her private letters
Sophia Yablonska's Travelogues in the History of Modern Ukrainian Literature
Maria G. Rewkowicz claims that “autobiography as a literary genre was quite widespread among feminist writers in the 1970s and 1980s.” 56 Giving examples such as Kate Millett's Flying (1974) and Sita (1977), Anja Meulenbelt's The Shame Is Over
Olivier Schrauwen’s Arsène Schrauwen beyond Expectations of Autobiography, Colonial History and the Graphic Novel
Benoît Crucifix and Gert Meesters
, otherness in general and the comics medium itself. After a brief introduction to Schrauwen’s work, we will show how Arsène Schrauwen emphatically stays away from reality-based graphic novel genres such as autobiography or the travelogue, while still making
The Genesis of Sartre’s Theatrical Career in Writings to, with, and by Beauvoir
Dennis A. Gilbert
One of the principal themes of Jean-Paul Sartre’s autobiography, The Words (1963), is an understanding of his vocation as a writer during his childhood, adolescence, and, I would add, through the publication of his first novel, Nausea (1938
Negotiating Comics with David B.'s Epileptic
With Epileptic, French comics artist David B. presents a graphic novel as innovative in style as it is experimental in content. In the foreground, Epileptic is an autobiographical tale about his youth overshadowed by his brother's suffering from epilepsy, but it is also the illustration of a dream-world. David B. consequently entangles the levels of reality, autobiography and dreamlike fantasy. Emphasised by the interaction of clear graphics with hard black-and-white contrasts and the use of surrealistic and medieval quotations, David B. presents a unique combination of art, narrative and abstraction.
Hazel E. Barnes
Since any autobiography is necessarily personal and since I have recently written one, I will rephrase the question in my title: “Who is the subject of my autobiography?” If I say, “Hazel Barnes,” the answer is unchallengeable but not illuminating. If I say, “I am,” we fall into a morass. To critique that “I am” would be to take on all of the problems of postmodernism. I wish that I had added a subtitle so that the whole would read, “Who is the Subject of Autobiography? A Sartrean Response.” Or better, “The Response of a Sartrean.” This way I would be on firmer ground, though many interesting questions would remain. Let us assume that I have done so.
Testimony and Solidarity in Egyptian Women's Blogs
Much has been written about the role the internet played during the Arab uprisings of 2011, with particular attention paid to social media, whether Facebook, Twitter or blogging, and the extent to which it contributed to organizing the mass protests. Another recurring theme of the analysis of the uprisings was the role played by women, with Western media in particular emphasizing their contributions and debating whether this marked a pronounced increase in women’s agency. My article seeks to respond to these issues through an analysis of two Egyptian women’s blogs. Instead of contributing to the well-known debate about the internet’s capabilities for facilitating action, I examine how blogs observe resistance, exploring this through notions of digital testimony and autobiography. I then consider the issue of solidarity and whether this is gendered, which is an important issue to consider in light of the focus placed on women’s roles during the protests. Ultimately I aim to demonstrate that these Egyptian women’s blogs offer us new and productive ways of thinking about the role the internet played during the Arab uprisings and the autobiographical act, leading us to acknowledge the complexities of both solidarity and articulations of selfhood.
An International Symposium, 19–20 April 2014, Istanbul
Francisca de Haan
The Istanbul Women’s Library and Information Center Foundation, on occasion of its twenty-fourth anniversary, together with Yeditepe University organized the international symposium “Writing Women’s Lives: Auto/Biography, Life Narratives, Myths and Historiography,” which took place at Yeditepe University on 19–20 April 2014.
The symposium coordinators were Birsen Talay Keşoğlu, Vehbi Baysan, and Şefik Peksevgen, assisted by eleven more members of the Organizing Committee, including Aslı Davaz, director of the Istanbul Women’s Library.
Zeina Abirached, born in 1981 in Beirut, is a cartoonist who studied at the Académie libanaise des beaux-arts [Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts] (ALBA) in Beirut and the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs [National Graduate School of Decorative Arts] in Paris, France. In this artist's statement, originally written for a keynote lecture given at the American Bande Dessinée Society conference held at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) on 3 November 2012, she presents her four comic books published to date, all of them autobiographical: [Beyrouth] Catharsis [(Beirut) Catharsis] (2006), 38, rue Youssef Semaani [38 Youssef Semaani Street] (2006), Mourir, partir, revenir: Le jeu des hirondelles (2007), published in English as A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Live, To Return (2012), and Je me souviens: Beyrouth (2008), published in English as I Remember Beirut (2014). She focuses especially here on the dimensions of time and space, history and geography, and memory and autobiography in her work. She also discusses the influence of OuLiPo, and especially the writings of Georges Perec, on her comics.