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Open Access Variaties op een genre

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Variations on a genre. Three alternative forms of biography

This article presents alternative forms of life description by means of a biography in progress on the Flemish author August Vermeylen (1872-1945). The first form, the ‘turning point biography’ or ‘hapax biography’, avoids too conventional forms of biography by breaking up the traditional linearity and chronological presentation of life facts. One crucial year (here 1939) in the life of the author serves as the starting point. The second form, the ‘institutional generational biography’ intercepts the traditional objection to biographies that their particularity would prevent them from giving a general view on the period described. Thus, Vermeylen’s activities in several associations receive ample treatment. A third pitfall of the traditional biography is her constructive and manipulative character due to the narrative form. This I try to avoid by writing a ‘correspondance biography’ or ‘super individualistic biography’, in which micronarrative resist to all forms of totalizing. This biography on Vermeylen in the first place gives the floor to the women in his life.
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Keywords: biography; institutional/generational biography; super individualistic biography; turning point/hapaxbiography

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: November 11, 2017

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  • Het tijdschrift Nederlandse Letterkunde is een wetenschappelijk, peer-reviewed tijdschrift voor de Nederlandstalige letterkunde. Het tijdschrift is een podium voor vakbeoefening in al haar vormen en facetten. De diverse bijdragen beslaan in hun totaliteit het gehele spectrum van Nederlandstalige letterkunde van de Middeleeuwen tot heden. Een jaargang Nederlandse Letterkunde telt drie afleveringen waarvan er steeds één aan een actueel thema gewijd wordt.

    The Dutch-language journal Nederlandse Letterkunde (Dutch Literature) is an academic peer-reviewed journal for Dutch literature. The various contributions cover the entire spectrum of Dutch literature from the Middle Ages to the present. Nederlandse Letterkunde publishes three issues a year of which one is devoted to a contemporary topic.
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