Autorschaft, publizistische Öffentlichkeit und Vermarktung (Halbsektion)

Sektionsleitung: Viktoria Adam (Heidelberg), Matthias Kohring (Mannheim)

Raum O 126


Bond, Emma (St Andrews)

Laying Claim to History – Contemporary Women Writers and the Public Debate over Italian Colonialism

Briese, Carola (Rostock)

„The long-awaited birdsong of one born black and gifted in Britain“: Ethnicity, Gender, Class and Age in the Marketing of Andrea Levy’s Literary Début

Krüger, Anna-Katharina (München)

Testimonio: a question of authorship and authority – Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú as a case study

Legendre, Bertrand (Paris)

Self branding: a skill for a novelist’s career

Morari, Codruta (Wellesley)

Art, Labor and the Market – Authorship as Work in La belle noiseuse and Van Gogh

Moudiléno, Lydie (Philadelphia)

Suspicion in the sentence: Postcolonial writers and the anxiety of authorship

Pfeiffer, Julia (Konstanz)

Author-image as survivor: The self-authentication of Scholastique Mukasonga in digital media

Philippe, Gaëlle (Grenoble)

Remake and Authorship or how to assume it in the public sphere. Three Hollywoodian Remakes, three Possiblities

Schmitz, Fabian (Konstanz)

Marcel Proust: Author, Publicist and Marketing Strategist on his own

Yacavone, Kathrin (Nottingham)

L’auteur est mort, vive l’auteur! The multiple images of Roland Barthes


Bond, Emma (University of St Andrews):
Laying Claim to History: Contemporary Women Writers and the Public Debate over Italian Colonialism

My contribution will explore the role of contemporary black women writers worldwide such as Maaza Mengiste (US), Nadifa Mohamed (UK) and Igiaba Scego (Italy) in re-igniting public awareness and debate around Italian colonialism, as well as attitudes to migrants and black Italian citizens (such as former minister Cécile Kyenge).
All three use a variety of public media to ‘talk back’ to a traditionally held silence about the horrors of the Italian colonial mission in East Africa: fiction and non-fiction writing, debates, interviews and events, and Twitter and social media. I will argue that it is precisely the public nature of the dialogue between the three authors and their works that holds the most power in terms of re-inserting the multiple stories of Italian imperialism into a wider global context.
In my paper I will look at recent writings by all three, particularly the short story ‘Madonna of the Sea’ (Mengiste), which recounts film-maker Dagmawi Yimer’s migration journey to Lampedusa;[1] Roma negata (Scego), and Black Mamba Boy (Mohamed), as well as interviews (often joint) and Twitter exchanges. I will conclude that laying claim to a shared history within the public domain can work towards processes of reconciliation, by cementing collective memory and establishing a collective ethos.

[1] Mengiste’s second novel, The Shadow King, which is set during the early years of World War II, tells the story of the Fascist invasion and occupation of Ethiopia and the resistance encountered there. In her latest email to me, Mengiste says there is still no formal publication date set, so unfortunately I will probably not be able to reference this important upcoming work fully in my paper.

Briese, Carola (Universität Rostock):
“The long-awaited birdsong of one born black and gifted in Britain”: Ethnicity, Gender, Class and Age in the Marketing of Andrea Levy’s Literary Début

Andrea Levy (*1956) is the first black British voice of a second generation whose literary début Every Light in the House Burnin’ (1994) was published to critical acclaim by the British trade publisher Headline. Levy’s début can be read as the first major stepping stone to a relatively intense decade of black British narratives produced from the perspective of the second generation of immigrants from former colonial territories. A look at her career allows not only to reconstruct the conditions and mechanisms that enable authors to move from a niche position towards a place within the ‘mainstream’ of the UK literary field. Moreover, the recognition of the national literary establishment has lead to significant modifications in her marketing effecting in particular ethnicity, gender, class and age, as the categories for the identification of literary fiction titles. As a result, ethnicity as a signifier of the margins in the British literary field seems to be dissolved by her publisher.
In a brief analysis of paratextual elements, focusing in particular the different versions of book covers that were designed over the years for her début novel, I will offer a close reading of the modifications of her marketing. This paper is an exemplary presentation of my Ph.D. project in which I explore to which extent British trade publishers make use of the aspects of ethnicity, gender, class and age for the marketing of black British début novelists. Although born in Britain, this heterogeneous group of published authors seems to be categorised in the first instance according to their ethnic background.
Especially first-time authors are carefully managed and considered effectively in their introduction and positioning in the market in order to be accepted by the literary establishment. The contradictory and changeable politics of representation pursued by publishers as well as authors and the negotiations/power relations among these actors will be discussed as a result of what Sarah Brouillette and Graham Huggan have called the ‘industry of postcoloniality’.

Krüger, Anna-Katharina (LMU, Graduiertenkolleg “Funktionen des Literarischen in Prozessen der Globalisierung):
: a question of authorship and authority – Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú as a case study

My paper discusses the Latin American genre of testimonio and its problematic authorship situation. It deals with the question of indigenous authorship and writing within Western discourse and publishing. The book Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú serves as case study, its controversial publishing history and the unresolved copyright dispute between editor and originator hereby illustrate Western superiority and authority over the unheard voices.
The testimonio Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú raises questions of political agency, methods of liberation, and economic authority/authorship. Testimonial texts are witness accounts of real life events where the originator of the story is used to market the book as an autobiographical project, creating the allure of reality and authenticity. However, analysing texts like Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú carefully, it becomes obvious how this genre is based on an unbalanced authorship situation: Testimonial literature, especially in the case of Guatemalan Menchú, means loss of authority; the editor as the official owner of copyright becomes the author in the economic sense, she holds the authority over text and meaning – oppressing the indigenous originator. This paper gives a new perspective on Spivak’s postcolonial theory of the subaltern by focusing on the troubled relationship between the two different and clashing authorial positions within the production and marketing of testimonial literature. A careful analysis of the paratext shows that the dominant position of the legal author stands in contrast with the genres agenda. The intention to represent the unheard within testimonio fails because the genre ignores the limitations of language and literature. The procedure of editing, translating and interpreting spoken words into written and commercial text undermines the original voice of the testimonial narrator, a textual censorship occurs and authorship becomes/is a means of Western control and power.


Beverley, John (1999). Subalternity and Representation. London: Duke University Press.

Beverley, John (2001). „What Happens When the Subaltern Speaks: Rigoberta Menchú, Multiculturalism, and the Presumption of Equal Worth”. In: Arias, A., (ed.) The Rigoberta Menchú Controversy. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 219-236.

Burgos, Elisabeth (1983). Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nacío la consciencia. Mexico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores.

Burgos, Elisabeth (2009). I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala. London and New York: Verso.

Genette, Gérard (2001). Paratexte: Das Buch vom Beiwerk des Buches. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Huggan, Graham (2001). The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins. London: Routledge.

Jones, Hugh and Benson, Christopher (2011). Publishing Law. (4th ed.) London: Routledge.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (2010). „Can the Subaltern Speak?“. In: Morris, Rosalind C., (ed.) Can The Subaltern Speak? Reflections on the History of an Idea. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 21-78.

Legendre, Bertrand
(Paris 13) :
Self-Branding : a Skill for a Novelist’s Career

La construction de l’identité littéraire peut être pensée comme un processus partagé relevant aussi bien de la responsabilité de l’éditeur (marque et techniques promotionnelles) que de celle des auteurs (blogs, réseaux sociaux, mobilisation de médiateurs…). Pour ces derniers, leur capacité à agir peut se révéler déterminante dès la recherche d’accès à la publication dans la mesure où elle définit plus ou moins nettement l’auteur comme « entrepreneur de lui – même », porteur d’un potentiel commercial dont il revient à l’éditeur d’apprécier l’étendue avant et dans la période qui suit son entrée dans le champ littéraire.
Si l’on admet l’idée que le rôle des éditeurs est de transformer un contenu esthétique ou intellectuel en valeur marchande, on note aussi que la multiplication des modes d’accès à la publication met à nouveau en évidence, en creux, leur fonction de banquier symbolique. La publication numérique peine encore, quelque soit la taille et la notoriété des structures qui l’assurent, à conférer aux auteurs qui y ont recours la légitimité culturelle qu’ils peuvent attendre de certaines marques éditoriales.
Cette communication cherchera à saisir la manière dont primo et jeunes romanciers appréhendent ces réalités et cherchent à les intégrer dans leurs pratiques en abordant leur carrière littéraire, depuis le jeu des recommandations mobilisées pour tenter de capter l’attention de l’éditeur, jusqu’à la fréquentation compulsive des salons et festivals, les pratiques numériques et la mise en scène de soi dans les lieux porteurs de légitimité littéraire, plus ou moins en rupture avec l’appareil médiatique. Elle s’intéressera donc à la question de la professionnalisation de la fonction littéraire pensée dans une perspective socio-économique qui dépasse la seule question de la création et intègre les conditions de circulation des œuvres.

Morari, Codruța (Wellesley College):
Art, Labor, and the Market: Authorship as Work in La Belle Noiseuse and Van Gogh

Authors are creators; authors are also workers. Conventional understandings of film authorship, however, tend to privilege the former and to obscure (or altogether ignore) the latter. While granting significant film artists the status of auteur, a cinematic authorship with a distinctive style and signature, the influential politique des auteurs very rarely addressed the socio-economic determinations and collective forces that weigh on individual filmmakers. The politique had little to say about politics and economics and a very modest concern for the realities of artistic labor. Using a case study, this paper reconsiders discourses about film authorship in light of the previous lack of attention to its economic and political dimensions.
Building on this conceptual framework, my presentation focuses on the 1991 Cannes Film Festival Main Competition program and specifically two French entries, Jacques Rivette’s La Belle Noiseuse and Maurice Pialat’s Van Gogh. The festival, renowned as a haven for auteur cinema, screened a number of films that year featuring imperiled artists. Commentators viewed them as confirmations of widespread critical anxiety about the precarious state of film authorship and art cinema. Upon closer consideration, though, the films in fact do not sustain a rhetoric of endangerment. Instead they depict artists in working milieux, the “studio” in Rivette and the art market in Pialat. They do not provide allegories that confirm auteurist discourses about the end of cinema; rather, they inscribe working artists to enact the artistic means and economic ends of cinema.
Rivette’s and Pialat’s films, with different emphases, compel us to reconsider the longstanding – and spurious – discursive opposition between art and labor and to appreciate the ways in which artists are also workers and, as such, subject to the laws of the market.


Dominique Chateau, Qu’est-ce qu’un artiste? Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2008.

Nathalie Heinich, La Gloire de Van Gogh: Essai d’anthropologie de l’admiration, Paris: Minuit, 1991.

Nathalie Heinich, L’Elite artiste. Excellence et singularité en régime démocratique, Paris: Minuit, 2005.

Pierre-Michel Menger, Portrait de l’artiste en travailleur. Métamorphoses du capitalisme, Paris: Seuil, 2003.

Pierre-Michel Menger, The Economics of Creativity: Art and Achievement under Uncertainty, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014.

Moudiléno, Lydie (Penn State, Philadelphia):
Suspicion in the sentence: Postcolonial writers and the anxiety of authorship

I propose to discuss what I see as an important trend in contemporary postcolonial literature: The recurring commentaries, in works by major African and Caribbean authors, about their „bibliothèques” and about the literary texts that have contributed to their education and informed their writing. I will suggest that this play of allusions and references (to a specific group of authors such as Kafka, Joyce, Faulkner or Kundera), should be read as an exhibition of cultural capital which stages kinships with canonical authors of „world literature” in order to gain further legitimacy. In parallel, I will also examine these discursive metaliterary strategies as more problematic symptoms of persistent „anxieties of authorship” which continue to plague Francophone writers in need of recognition within the global economy of contemporary world literature.

Pfeiffer, Julia (Universität Konstanz):
Author-image as survivor: The self-authentication of Scholastique Mukasonga in digital media

The Rwandan author Scholastique Mukasonga, living and working in France since 1992, is one of the (Afro-) Francophone authors who are particularly presented as such by their publishing houses. Her publisher Gallimard for instance publishes all of her works in the collection Continents Noirs, which of course has an impact on reception. Through the increasing interest in her works and finally by receiving the Prix Renaudot in 2012, her oeuvre is subject of a certain personalization in this collection and is reedited in the paperback collection Folio.
Nevertheless, Mukasonga runs a presence on the Internet where she’s giving information about her biography, news, readings, links to press articles, interviews on television and selling. She also makes use of new social media channels like weblog, Facebook and Twitter. The objective of this practice is naturally the delimitation in the literature field and, compared to other Rwandan authors publishing in France, Mukasonga achieves that. On the other hand, she realizes through this Internet presence a second aspect of authorship in the web, namely the production of web-literature: She posts commented pictures of Rwanda, which are meant to illustrate her works. This legitimizes the own writing, but also creates new texts and Mukasonga increases the power as an author in the web by influencing and determining the way of reception and interpretation of her works. Thus, she creates and legitimizes the image of an author as a moral witness of the history and as survivor of the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda, which is also coherent with the discursive ethos of her works as part of the posture according to Meizoz.
The present article wants to show how this francophone author uses parts of the digital media in the tense atmosphere of authorship, the supposed interaction and proximity with the public and the field of marketing in the French literature field.


Jürgensen Ch./ Kaiser G., Schriftstellerische Inszenierungspraktiken – Heuristische Typologie und Genese, in: Jürgensen Ch./ Kaiser G. (Hrsg.), Schriftstellerische Inszenierungspraktiken – Typologie und Geschichte, Euphorion Heft 62, Heidelberg, 2011, S. 9-30.

Martens D., La fabrique d’une notion. Entretien avec Jérôme Meizoz au sujet du concept de “posture”, in : Interférences littéraires/Literaire interferenties, nouvelle série, n° 6, Mai 2011, S. 199-212.

Meizoz J., «Postures» d’auteur et poétique (Ajar, Rousseau, Céline, Houellebecq), (letzter Zugriff, 05.01.15).

Paulsen K., Von Amazon bis Weblog. Inszenierungen von Autoren und Autorschaft im Internet, in: Künzel Ch./ Schönert J. (Hrsg.), Autorinszenierungen – Autorschaft und literarischesWerk im Kontext der Medien, Würzburg, 2007, S. 257-270.

Philippe, Gaëlle (Université Stendhal, Grenoble III):
Remake and Authorship or how to assume it in the public sphere. Three Hollywoodian remakes, three possibilities

Authorship in the field of collective works is not an easy question. The process of remaking makes the issue more complicated by adding the original’s authors in the equation. Between who claims to be the author, who legally is and who really is, the public sphere determines whom the public thinks the author is.
The collective aspect of the work is not the only difficulty that the author of a remake has to face in France. The practice of remaking, especially the hollywoodian one, suffers from an important delegitimation in France, because of the place of originality in its traditionnal aesthetic system, maybe reinforced by a contempt of hollywoodian remakes’ wave of French films. Authorship becomes one of the ways used by the practice of remaking to appear as legitimate as another film, the author embodies the originality by bringing novelty in his vision of a previous film. But because hypertextuality[2] is used as an ambiguous caution of remakes in the public sphere, the author of such an object has different possibilities to assume this controversial practice.
Through the examples of three cinematographic remakes (The Hills Have Eyes, King Kong and War of the Worlds), this contribution proposes to analyse the speeches around these films in order to determine how the figure of a remake’s author arises. If these three movies do not bring a closed answer to the question of remakes’ author, it underlines its complexity by highlighting three different types of remakes’ authorship : an authorship based on differentiation but moral fidelity to the original, the assumed-hypertextual author and the non-hypertextual one.

[2] GENETTE, Gérard (1982), Palimpsestes, Paris : Seuil, collection « Points ».

Schmitz, Fabian (Universität Konstanz):
Marcel Proust: Author, Publicist and Marketing Strategist on his own

Marcel Proust schrieb seine Recherche nicht weltvergessen im Bett liegend, vielmehr bietet er sich als ideales Referenzbeispiel für die Verquickung symbolischer und ökonomischer Aspekte der Autorschaft zu Beginn des 20. Jh. an. In Personalunion lassen sich an seinem Schreiben und öffentlichen Agieren die drei Rollen, diejenige des Autors, des Publizisten und Vermarkters seines Werkes, aufzeigen: Sowohl das theoretische Spielen mit und Suchen von Autor-Images, als auch Praktiken der Selbstinszenierung und Kreation einer textuellen und öffentlichen posture (Meizoz 2007), wie die Sorge um die postérité seines Werkes in einer strategischen Selbstvermarktung haben Spuren bis in die Recherche des autodiegetischen Erzählers nach seiner eigenen Autorschaft hinterlassen.
Ausgehend von seinen publizistischen Texten möchte dieser Sektionsbeitrag analysieren, wie Proust dort auf die öffentliche Begierde nach dem Körper des Autors reagiert und virtuos mit den Autorschaftskonzepten, dem sich ihm bietenden, im literarischen Feld des 19. Jh. Etablierten Repertoire (Diaz 2007), spielt. Dies transformiert er in seinem literarischen Schreiben in einen eigenen Autorschaftsdiskurs, der sich grundlegend durch sein literarisches Werk, die Recherche, zieht, wie es sich exemplarisch anhand der Auseinandersetzung mit prototypischen Autorfiguren zeigen lässt. Eng damit verbunden entwickelt Proust eine spezifische Vermarktungsstrategie, um das Interesse an seinem sukzessiv erscheinenden Werk wach zu halten: In ambivalenter Weise befeuert und negiert er u.a. in seiner Korrespondenz die Schlüssellektüre der Recherche und bedient damit ihm sehr vertraute Praktiken des literarischen Salons, dem Schauplatz des literarischen Feldes um 1900.
Ziel dieses Beitrages ist es, für diese Sektion einen historischen Referenzpunkt für die Analyse zeitgenössischer Beispiele zu bieten und eine diachrone Perspektive zu eröffnen, in der vergleichend die Verflechtung der Aspekte von Autorschaft, publizistischer Öffentlichkeit und Vermarktung betrachtet werden können. Wandel sowie die Kontinuität ihrer Praktiken und Strategien und deren mediale wie kontextuelle Bedingtheit im jeweiligen literarischen Feld ließen sich so klarer erfassen.


Diaz, José-Luis, L’écrivain imaginaire. Scénographies auctoriales à l’époque romantique, Paris, 2007.

Meizoz, Jérôme, Postures littéraires. Mises en scène modernes de l’auteur, Genève 2007.

Yacavone, Kathrin (University of Nottingham):
L’auteur est mort, vive l’auteur ! The multiple images of Roland Barthes

Within twentieth-century literary theory, Roland Barthes (1915-80) is inextricably linked to debates concerning authorship and to the idea of the ‘death of the author’, in particular. As is well known, from the 1960s onwards Barthes directly challenged the firmly entrenched l’homme et l’œuvre approach to literary interpretation in French academia, from a structuralist perspective. Relatively less discussed, however, he later developed a conception of authorship, which brings together textual and biographical realities, coining the terms of ‘biographème’ and ‘biographologue’ to describe the complex relation between the author’s life and work. This return to the issue of authorship in the last decade of his life was accompanied by a renewed and related interest in photography, as evidenced by his 1980 seminar ‘Proust et la photographie’, his autobiographical book Roland Barthes par Roland Barthes (1975) with its photographic preface, and his seminal book on photography La Chambre claire (1980).
Taking this Barthesian conjunction of authorship and photography as its starting point, this paper will revisit Barthes’s conception of the author in juxtaposition with the evolving photographic iconography of his own authorial persona, encompassing both public and private photographs of the French theorist. It will be shown that the textual and visual staging of authorship in Barthes’s work and life mirrors fluctuations to be found in his more theoretical reflections on authorship. Additionally, however, analysis of the use of photographic portraits of Barthes during the occasion of his centenary celebrations in 2015 (especially in the exhibition at the Bibliothèque nationale de France) reveals that the role of photography in the posthumous reception of Barthes follows its own dynamics, transcending his intentional photographic self-construction, amounting to what could be called, borrowing from Jérôme Meizoz’s notion of ‘posture littéraire’, a ‘posture photographique’. Thus, the theme of ‘authorship and the public sphere’ will be critically assessed through the self-reflexive prism of textual and photographic constructions and receptions of Barthes himself as a key theorist of the individual and cultural creation of the ‘author’.