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HomePortraits and self-portraits of authors : Picturing writers

Portraits and self-portraits of authors : Picturing writers

Portraits et autoportraits d'auteurs : l'écrivain mis en images

Retratos y autorretratos de autores: el escritor puesto en imágenes

Revue « Savoirs en prisme »

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Published on Wednesday, February 13, 2019


L’écrivain est devenu l’objet de représentations visuelles dont la multimodalité même fait sens. Le numéro 12 de la revue Savoirs en prisme invite les contributeurs à réfléchir au transfert du réel à l'imaginaire, voire au légendaire, d'écrivains réels. On pourra aborder ce transfert dans toute sa diversité, se demander comment la mise en images de l’auteur dans le paratexte fait récit, choisir de s’attacher à la mise en livres de l’auteur historique ou encore à son exposition dans un musée. L’auteur peut aussi se mettre en images lui-même : qu’advient-il lorsqu’il se met en scène dans une autofiction visuelle ? Quelle est la portée éditoriale, poétique, esthétique, culturelle ou médiatique de cette mise en images ?


Guest editors

Caroline Marie & Xavier Giudicelli


The figure of the writer is increasingly conspicuous nowadays. The “mania for portraits,” (conference, Université Lyon II, 2001) which has flourished along with the development of the art of photography, is undeniably a way of both freezing and disseminating a particular image of a writer—thereby excluding other possible representations and perceptions. That image of the writer is paradoxically often better known than his/her own works; at least, a portrait of the writer is often visible before the text itself, on the very threshold of books, on advertising posters or photographs on the back covers, for instance. Thus, the question: “Is an author a face rather than a text?” (Louette & Roche, « Portraits de l'écrivain contemporain », Cahiers de médiologie, 1/2003) has become legitimate in literary studies. At the same time, research in literature has recently turned to a new narrative phenomenon, namely the “becoming-character” (as Deleuze and Guattari would have called it) of the writer in contemporary literature, or “the author displaced into fiction.” (Pluvinet)

At the intersection between these two phenomena—the proliferation of images of writers and the “becoming-characters” of writers—this issue will focus on the fictionalisation of authors in and through the visual arts: painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, caricature, comics, picture story books—excluding moving images (theatre, cinema, TV series), whose theoretical stakes are arguably different. Art has certainly created many imaginary writers, but we propose to focus on the questions raised by the recreation of real writers in the visual arts, in Europe, from the early modern period to the present day.

The writer is no longer merely a face immortalized in a photographic pose, but s/he has become the object of visual representations whose multimodal dimension itself makes sense. Contributors may examine this transfer from the real to the imaginary—or even the legendary—in all its diversity, from a historical, diachronic, or comparative point of view; monographic approaches (analysing the example of a particular writer or of a specific work) are also welcome. Contributors may wonder how the picturing of an author in the (visual) paratext—posters, book covers, frontispices, websites—is turned into a form of narrative. They may choose to focus on the ways historical authors become book material in art books, graphic biographies, picture story books, or exhibitions in museums. The author can also picture him/herself: what happens when s/he plays his/her own role in a visual autobiofiction? Are the modalities and the stakes of the transfer of the real to the (visual) imaginary comparable when the figure of the writer holds a central place in the work, or when s/he plays a  secondary role alongside other fictitious characters, in the case of biopics or imaginary adventures, for instance? What is the editorial, poetic, aesthetic, cultural or media impact of those images of authors?

This issue of Savoirs en prisme seeks to approach the protean nature of portraits and self-portraits of writers from a poetic and aesthetic point of view, but also from the perspectives of the history of ideas, the history of publishing, art history, museum studies, and media studies.

Submission guidelines

The full essays should be sent jointly in .doc format via email to both guest editors

by June 1st, 2019:

  • caroline.marie@univ-paris8.fr
  • xgiudicelli@yahoo.fr

The essays should not exceed 40,000 signs in length (spaces and footnotes included).

The essays should contain no more than 6 images (jpg format, high resolution [300 dpi]. At this stage, the images should be included in the essay. Each image should be numbered and its placing indicated in the body of the essay. It is under the responsibility of the author of each essay to clear the rights of reproduction (if any). A caption must be provided for each image with the following elements: Author, Title, date, medium, dimensions, current location, source (ex. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Lady Lilith, 1867, watercolour on paper, 51,3×44cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Creative commons). [In the final stage of publication, the images will be sent in a separate file].

Please do not sign your article to allow the double-blind peer-review process. Please include an abstract in English (150 words) and an abstract in French or Spanish (150 words), 5 keywords in English and 5 keywords in French or Spanish. Authors should also send a short bio-biographical note in a separate document (.doc) in French, Spanish, and/or English at the same time as their essay. 

Essays may be submitted in English, French, or Spanish

The essays will be peer-reviewed. The reviews will be sent to the authors by the end of the autumn of 2019. The final, revised essays will be sent to us in December 2019. 

The submitted essays should scrupulously respect the editorial norms of the journal  Savoirs en prisme,  otherwise it will not be possible to include them in the fortcoming volume. The stylesheet is available at the followning address: https://savoirsenprisme.com/note-aux-auteurs/to-submit-an-article/


  • Saturday, June 01, 2019


  • auteur, portrait


  • Caroline Marie
    courriel : caroline [dot] marie [dot] up8 [at] gmail [dot] com

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Caroline Marie
    courriel : caroline [dot] marie [dot] up8 [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Portraits and self-portraits of authors : Picturing writers », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, https://doi.org/10.58079/121f

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