Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Auckland Symposium on 'Character, Author, Person'

On Thursday, 17 December 2009, I shall be giving a paper as part of a symposium at the University of Auckland on 'Character, Author, Person'. Below are the symposium details (the same information can be found here on the Auckland English department page):

Character, Author, Person: The Problem of People in Texts
Thursday, 17 Dec 2009

Presenter: Department of English

Department: English

Venue: Room 426 Arts 1 Building

Time: 2pm

Our symposium will examine and theorize the place of people in and out of texts, and the roles conventionally assigned to authors, characters, and persons. All those interested in the history of the novel, in questions of autobiography and pseudo-autobiography, in how represented persons affect real audiences, or in unusual modes of authorship are most welcome to attend.

With Special Guests
Jonathan Lamb, Bridget Orr and Jonathan Walker

This is the abstract for my paper, ‘Gerolamo Vano as Character, Author, Person’:

My recent book, Pistols! Treason! Murder! is an illustrated biography of a Venetian spy, Gerolamo Vano, who was executed for perjury in 1622. It is not, however, a conventional biography retelling the events of an entire life in chronological order. Rather, it is an explication of the various senses in which Vano might (legitimately or otherwise) be described as a character, an author and / or a person on the basis of his various appearances in documents in the Venetian state archive, notably the collection of surveillance reports he submitted to his nominal employers, the Venetian Inquisitors of State. In what sense does a loose-leaf collection of unedited papers, originally intended for a handful of select readers, who, moreover, retrospectively judged their contents to be sufficiently damning as to warrant the author’s execution, and which have lain unread for hundreds of years since 1622, constitute a ‘body of work’ or evidence of a distinctive literary sensibility? In this presentation, I’ll outline some possible answers to this question.

For more information on Vano, see

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