AUTOBIO – “Autobiographical Literature: Theoretical Issues and ‘corpora’

CoordinationPaula Morão


Research of the various ways of self-representation in literature and in the arts. Establishing the frontiers between portrait, self-portrait, diary, autobiography and memoirs. The development of this program implied a double bound, combining case studies of known texts (literary and artistic) and the research to identify new objects, in the international arts and literatures. We took interest not only in texts by writers, but also by artists (painters, film-makers, etc).

To achieve this purposes, discussions around concepts and bibliography in this field is a constant activity. As most of the group members are M.A. or PhD students, one of the main purposes is stimulating their work, and the coordinator’s, to pursue this path. The choice of thesis subjects in this field was stimulated, as well as the writing of case-study papers for further publication, namely in ACT 8.

– “ACT 8 – Autobiography. Self-Representation (Autobiografia. Auto-representação)”, 4 and 6 December 2002, CEC/ Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa. On the first day, the purpose was to discuss theoretical matters such as the frontiers between genres such as diary and autobiography. This took place motivated by two films, as follows. First, «À chacun son journal» (dir. Vassili Silovic and Atiq Rahimi, 1998, 50min.), presented by Paula Morão. Second, No sex last night (video-diary by Sophie Calle and Greg Shepard, 1992, 72min.), presented by Lourdes Câncio Martins. On the second day, four lectures pursued the same goals: Philippe Lejeune (going back to his definition of Autobiography, and presenting the Association pour l’Autobiographie), Clara Rocha, Anna Caballé and Paula Morão presented papers about several cases in contemporary literature, studying texts by portuguese and spanish authors, dealing with extreme situations such as amnesia, death, public exposure of private life, and memories of childhood.

– “ACT 16 – Writing Life. Truth and Fiction (Escrever a Vida. Verdade e Ficção)”, 16-17 November 06, org. Paula Morão and Carina Infante do Carmo, CEC/ Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa. The main purpose of the conference was to create links between scholars and students working in different perspectives (Literature, History, Sociology, Visual Arts). The sessions were organised in three different types. First: lectures by international scholars (Sidonie Smith, U.Michigan, USA, and Margaretta Jolly, U. Exeter, UK). Second, three round tables: one with writers, another one with History and Sociology scholars, a third one with art and aesthetic critcs. Third: presentation of papers previously selected, eight sessions, four papers each. We are currently editing the texts for publication.

Research team:

  • Paula Morão (FLUL)
  • Carina Infante do Carmo (Universidade do Algarve)
  • Clara Rocha (FCSH/Univ. Nova de Lisboa)