I'll be talking about "Pinocchio, Unbuilt: The Hypertextual Venice of Robert Coover" (and a smidgeon of Judd Morrissey's RC_AI in homage to the latter) tomorrow at Fiction/Nonfiction: The Uses and Truths of Literature, a conference organized by Alison James and Luc Lang at the University of Chicago (Logan Center for the Arts, 802). Free & open to the public.

How does the fiction/non-fiction divide, which organizes bookstores and best-seller lists, shape the domain of the written word? How do readers distinguish factual from fictional representations and discourses, and what is at stake in this separation? In what ways are fact and fiction interwoven? This international conference, focusing on the French and American contexts as well as literary theory more broadly, examines the categories of fiction and non-fiction, and the boundary between them, as a point of departure for a dialogue on the kinds of truth we find in literature.  It also investigates the place of fiction and narrative form in non-fictional discourses that are usually placed outside the realm of literature. In addition to panels on the history, forms, and reception of fictional and factual writing, the event emphasizes literary practice through discussions with contemporary writers.

Organized by Alison James (University of Chicago) and Luc Lang (École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy) with the participation of Emmanuel Bouju, Aleksandar Hemon, Jeanine Herman, Jean-Louis Jeannelle, Lola Lafon, Françoise Lavocat, Maria Anna Mariani, Donald Nicholson-Smith, Aude Rouyère, Marianne Rubinstein, Luc Sante, and Jennifer Scappettone.

Papers in French and English.


Friday 13 November, 8:45 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Logan Center for the Arts 802

8:45 a.m.        Coffee

9:15-10:00       Alison James and Luc Lang, Welcome and Introduction

10:00-12:00     Session 1: Borders of Fiction/Frontières de la fiction

  • Françoise Lavocat (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3), “Fact and Fiction: A Boundary in Play.” Introduced by Esther Van Dyke (graduate student, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures).
  • Jennifer Scappettone (University of Chicago), “Pinocchio, Unbuilt: The Hypertextual Venice of Robert Coover.” Introduced by Michele Kenfack (graduate student, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures).
  • Emmanuel Bouju (Université Rennes 2/Harvard University): “Dans la boîte miroir: douleur fantôme et stéréométrie des temps dans The Lazarus Project.” Introduced by Ji Gao (graduate student, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures).

12:00-1:00       Lunch break

1:00-2:30         Session 2: Narrative, Fiction, Knowledge/Récit, fiction et savoirs 

  • Introduced by Bastien Craipain (graduate student, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures).
  • Marianne Rubinstein (Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7), “Writing Economics”/“Comment on écrit l’économie.”
  • Aude Rouyère (Université de Bordeaux),“Fiction du droit. Fictions de droit.”

2:30-3:00         Coffee break

3:00-4:30         Session 3: Author Roundtable

  • Moderated by Alison James
  • A discussion with Aleksandar Hemon, Lola Lafon, Luc Lang, and Marianne Rubinstein

4:30-5:00         Reception

6:00 p.m.        Panel discussion at Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5751 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637. French Literature in the United States: trends, translation, reception

  • Moderated by Aleksandar Hemon
  • With the participation of Jeanine HermanLola LafonLuc Lang, Donald Nicholson-Smith, and Luc Sante


Saturday 14 November, 9:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Logan Center 801

9:00-9:30         Coffee

9:30-12:00       Session 4: Factual Literature?/Littératures factuelles?

  • Jean-Louis Jeannelle (Université de Rouen), “ ‘Nous savons tout, les uns et les autres et les uns des autres’ : conviction et littérature factuelle.” Introduced by Linsey Sainte-Claire (graduate student, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures).
  • Maria Anna Mariani (University of Chicago), “Why Autobiography is a Double-Crosser.” Introduced by Chiara Nifosi (graduate student, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures).
  • Alison James (University of Chicago), “Speaking Facts: Paradoxes of the Literary Document.” Introduced by Caitlin Hoff (graduate student, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures).

12:00               Closing remarks