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The Mythalexandre project

The literary creation of a myth of Alexander the Great in European literatures (11th century-early 16th century)

Project CPER 2009-2010
Project ANR 2009-2013(ANR-09-BLAN-0307-01)
Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas, professor of Mediaeval French literature, University Charles-de-Gaulle - Lille 3

The literary creation of a myth of Alexander the Great in European literatures (11th century-early 16th century)
Project CPER 2009-2010
Project ANR 2009-2013 (ANR-09-BLAN-0307-01)
Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas, professor of Mediaeval French literature, University Charles-de-Gaulle - Lille 3

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 (2009-2013).

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 eleventh century and the first half of the sixteenth 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. 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.


- Thursday and Friday 9 - 10 December 2010 :
International conference « ALEXANDRE À LA RENAISSANCE »,
organized by Corinne Jouanno, University of Caen-Basse Normandie.

- Friday 4 March 2011, workshop :
Le voyage d’Alexandre au Paradis terrestre :
Orient et Occident, regards croisés ;
Alexander’s journey to the Earthly Paradise : Eastern and Western Perspectives.

Invited speakers :
René Bloch, Université de Berne,
Mario Casari, Université de Rome,
Patrick Gautier-Dalché, CNRS, IRHT
Jean-Claude Mühlethaler, Université de Lausanne,
François de Polignac, EHESS,
Jean-Pierre Rothschild, CNRS, IRHT,
Richard Trachsler, Université de Göttingen

Anna Caughey, Emily Wingfield, Université d'Oxford