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The Mythalexandre project

The literary creation of a myth of Alexander the Great in European literatures (10th century-17th century)

CPER 2009-2010   ANR 2009-2014 (ANR-09-BLAN-0307-01)       IUF 2014-2019

Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas, professor of Mediaeval French literature, University Charles-de-Gaulle - Lille 3, member of the IUF Institut universitaire de France. curriculum vitae

        catherine-bougassas [ @ ]

The project, based at the MESHS (Maison européenne des sciences de l'homme et de la société) and at the University of Lille 3, is funded by the CPER "Contrat Plan Etat Région" and the ANR "Agence nationale de la recherche française" for five years (2009-2014). It is now part of the IUF project of Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas.

Our team aims to study the processes through which the myth of Alexander the Great was received and transmitted across an extraordinary range of linguistic and cultural boundaries between the 10th century and the 17th century in Western and Eastern Europe. These processes involved the production of numerous texts that not only perpetuated but also reinvented the myth. Through them, we witness the making of an ideal figure of medieval royalty, a figure that is at once common to a wide range of works, yet varies according to the specific cultural and historical context in which it is embedded. Addressing a vast European corpus, we will be asking ourselves why and how the memory of Alexander the Great inspired such a large number and variety of works, many of which were  highly innovative since they inaugurated new forms of literary discourse.

ANR Project :The myth of Alexander the Great in European literatures (10th-early 16th century)

Even though we have chosen to work on this particular historical period and within these spatial boundaries and although we will be putting the emphasis on literature rather than on other forms of creativity -such as manuscript illumination, which we may still be looking at - ours is a vast and rewarding field of research, spanning five and a half centuries and covering the whole spectrum of European literatures. The originality of our collaborative venture lies in our comparative perspective and methods. Our interdisciplinary team, which meets at regular intervals, consists of twelve scholars of literature and history, specializing in Byzantine, Armenian, Slavic (Servian and Russian in particular), medieval Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, German, English, Dutch and Scandinavian literatures.

IUF project: European writings and readings on Alexander the Great in 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th centuries


The project focuses on the reception of Alexander the Great from 14th to 17th century, in France and in Europe: continuity and renewal of historical and fictional writings of his life, their literary, political and social usages, at a pivotal period which deeply transforms the linguistic and literary models, the apprehension of Antiquity, conceptions of History and its writing, those of translation, with humanism, and when the transition from manuscript to print diversifies publics and readings. The submitted project plans three parts:

(1) Critical éditions of texts hitherto unpublished: La Bouquechardière of Jean de Courcy and the first translation of Historiae of Quinte-Curce by Vasque de Lucène.

(2) A study programme: a comprehensive survey of French writing on Alexander in C15th and C16th; international study days around the European reception for Historiae by Quinte-Curce; the birth of Alexander-based theater; portraits of Greek philosophers (including Alexander) ; Alexander in the French universal stories.


Alexander redivivus, Brepols publishers:

dir. Margaret Bridges (University of Bern), Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas (University of Lille 3), Corinne Jouanno (University of Caen) and Jean-Yves Tilliette (University of Genève)


Save the date !

Alexander's entry on the European stage (late fifteenth-nineteenth century): workshop II Feb 05, 2016 from 01:00 AM to 12:59 AM University of Lille 3,
Alexander's entry on the European stage (late fifteenth-nineteenth century): workshop I Oct 02, 2015 from 02:00 AM to 01:59 AM University of Lille 3,
International closing conference ANR: Alexandre le Grand à la lumière des manuscrits et des premiers imprimés. Matérialité des textes, contextes et paratextes from Jun 12, 2013 09:00 AM to Jun 14, 2013 06:00 PM MESHS LILLE,
Alexander’s journey to the Earthly Paradise : Eastern and Western Perspectives. Mar 04, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 06:00 PM
International conference « Alexandre à la Renaissance » from Dec 09, 2010 09:00 AM to Dec 10, 2010 06:00 PM University of Caen,
Alexander in Mediaeval historiography (II) from Jun 04, 2010 11:15 AM to Jun 04, 2015 07:30 PM
Alexander in Mediaeval historiography (I) Jan 22, 2010 from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM