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CALL FOR PAPERS TEXTUS 2/2020 Issue on English Culture

AIA editorial 0 722

Biopics of British Celebrities (2010s): Recreating Lives for the Screen(s)

Editors: Maddalena Pennacchia (Università Roma Tre)

Deborah Cartmell (De Montfort University)

Copy Editor:   Michela Compagnoni (Università Roma Tre)

Biopics are films springing from biographical investigations which are inevitably linked to the broader creative activities of remembering, reconstructing, representing lives of people of renown using materials from different sources and media. After a long period of critical neglect, this resilient film genre, which has always mixed facts and fiction since its very inception, was rescued by George Custen’s ground breaking monograph in 1992, which was followed, many years later, by Dennis Bingham’s in 2010. From the turn of the Millennium on, perhaps also due to the extraordinary increase in the production of biographical films for the big and the small screen in a new media context, a number of critical studies have been published that contributed in various ways and from diverse perspectives to the debate around the many interdisciplinary and intermedial issues that the biopic addresses (Brown, Vidal, 2014; Minier, Pennacchia 2014; Pettey, Barton Palmer 2018; Cartmell, forthcoming).

This thematic issue of Textus aims to explore the recreation of lives of British celebrities  – heads of state and royalties, literary authors, performing artists, painters, pop stars, politicians, opinion makers and so on –  in biopics released or broadcast in the last decade (2010-2019) during which the so called ‘celebrity culture’ has fully developed and matured, such as, for example: The Iron Lady (2011), William and Kate (2011), Christopher and His Kind (2011) Saving Mr Banks (2014), Effie Gray (2014), Mr Turner (2014), The Imitation Game (2014), The Theory of Everything (2014), Suffragette (2015), The Crown (2016 -), The Darkest Hour (2017), Christopher Robin (2017), The Happy Prince (2018), Mary Queen of Scots (2018), The Favourite (2018), Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), Rocketman (2019), Vita and Virginia (2019), Tolkien (2019), All is True (2019).

Topics will include, but not necessarily be restricted to:

  • fact, fiction and faction in the biopic;
  • writing lives for the screens: a focus on the script;
  • hybridization phenomena of self-presentation: the biopic in the social media culture (FB, Instagram, YouTube Channels)
  • questions of national/ post-national/ trans-national identity in the biopic today;
  • new perspectives on genders and identities in the biopic;
  • new audiences and new media for the biopic;
  • the process of re-canonization from literary adaption to the biopic.

Deadline for abstracts: June 30, 2019

Acceptance of abstracts will be notified by: July 20, 2019

Deadline for articles: September 20, 2019

Please submit your abstract of approx. 500 words to: Maddalena Pennacchia (maddalena.pennacchia@uniroma3.it) and Deborah Cartmell (djc@dmu.ac.uk).


Brown T., Vidal B. (eds), 2014, The Biopic in Contemporary Film Culture, Routledge, New York.

Cartmell D., (ed.) (forthcoming), A Companion to the Biopic, Blackwell, Oxford.

Minier M., Pennacchia M. (eds), 2014, Adaptation, Intermediality and the British Celebrity Biopic, Ashgate, Farnham/ Burlington VT.

Pettey H. B., Barton Palmer R. (eds), 2018, Rule Britannia! The Biopic and British National Identity, State University of New York Press, New York.