Call for papers Image and Narrative 24.2 (2023)

“Ecce mulier”: Female celebrity culture and the visual arts around 1900

Guest edited by Carlijn Cober, dr. Floris Meens and dr. Tom Sintobin, this issue will focus on representations and self-representations of female key figures during the fin de siècle of the 19th century. By combining visual, narrative and historiographical analyses, we aim to gain insight into how female artists, authors, actors, musicians, salonnières, scholars and muses both functioned within the cultural field and have been ‘imagined’ or imagined themselves during their lifetime and beyond.

Research questions can concern either literal or figurative interpretations of terms relating to both ‘image’ and ‘narrative’. In the case of literal visual imaginations, possible questions would be: How are female figures depicted in visual media, such as photographs, films, paintings, sketches, or cartoons? Against which background, in what posture, in whose company? Does that depiction follow, establish or transgress norms? How – through what media and in which circles – were these images established, distributed or consumed, both synchronically and diachronically? What was the relationship between various forms of representations and the women’s fame? Who was responsible for these depictions: did women have agency and to what extent can they be seen as a coproduction?

In the case of figural forms of imagination, questions could be: How did famous or influential women construct or fashion their own image? How are they visible in literary texts, poetry, diary entries, biographies, letter exchanges, plays, operas, operettas and songs? What role did they play within the cultural imagination? How have they been imagined, within which framework, in what role or position, in relation to whom? How have either their image or narrative evolved over time, during their life or ours? How can we render them visible or highlight different perspectives of them?

We are looking for articles with an average length of 5000 words (including notes and bibliography) that together address a wide range of methods and approaches related to this topic, and original interpretations of both ‘image’ and ‘narrative’. Those interested to contribute can submit an abstract of maximum 250 words and a cv to by October 1st, 2021. The deadline for the first drafts will be February 1st, 2022 the final deadline July 1st, 2022.