mardi 6 mars 2018

321. Jolanta Pekacz 2 : problèmes généraux de la biographie

Quelques informations sur Jolanta Pekacz et sur un article qu’elle a consacré à Chopin

Classement : biographies



Table des Matières : vue d’ensemble
Première partie :Aperçus historiques (Pologne et relations franco-polonaises)
Deuxième partie :Frédéric Chopin, questions biographiques
Troisième partie :La nationalité de Frédéric Chopin, notamment :
Le statut de Frédéric Chopin quant à la nationalité
Le statut de Nicolas Chopin quant à la nationalité

Index des personnes citées dans le blog

*Jolanta Pekacz, « The Nation’s Property : Chopin’s Biography as a Cultural Discourse », dans Jolanta Pekacs (editeur), Musical Biography Towards New Paradigms, Aldershot, Ashgate Publishing, 2006, pages 43-68

Ceci est la suite de la page Jolanta Pekacz biographe de Chopin (2006), dans laquelle je présente l’auteur et cet article.
Je reproduis ci-dessous les passages le début de l’article consacré aux problèmes généraux de la biographie.

En gras les formulations qui ont une tonalité déconstructionniste (parfois relativiste).
Page 43/44
« The veracity of the many biographies of Fryderyk Chopin published since his death in 1849 has often been questioned on the grounds of their factual errors and interpretative inaccuracies resulting from these errors. However, these biographies have rarely been analyzed as cultural products embodying political assumptions, values, and methodologies specific for the time and place in which they originated; it has been overlooked that biographies are documents that tell us as much about their authors as about their subjects. As a result, new or corrected evidence continues to be presented within the nineteenth-century paradigm of biography writing because a scrutiny aimed at correcting factual errors cannot by itself seriously affect the assumptions of / traditional biography and its narrative plots. And since many aspects of Chopin’s biography continue to be assumed after the paradigm set by nineteenth-century biographers, it keeps shaping the direction and agenda of biographical inquiry.
The lack of analyses of cultural and methodological assumptions of earlier biographers can be partly explained by the difficulties involved in such analyses, as these biographers do not state, let alone discuss, critical points of view from which their works emanate, and thus create an impression of being “objective” accounts of Chopin’s life and career. And despite a thorough criticism to which nineteenth-century historiographical assumptions have been subjected, a familiar tendency toward an objectification of biographical discourse can be found in present-day biographies whose authors – following their nineteenth-century predecessors – attempt to establish their credibility by declaring their honesty and truthfulness in sources, and by emphasizing their minimal interpretative input.  »

Page 44-45
« Recent theoretical developments in the humanities encourage us to reconsider the premises of the traditional biography and open up new avenues for interpretation. The proposition that a biography should be scrutinized in the same way as any other historical source is now accepted among historians, just as is the perception of a historian as an active agent in biography writing, rather than a transmitter of eternal verities. The awareness of the specific political agenda of nineteenth-century biographers, in particular, has a potentially liberating impact on present-day musicologists as a prerequisite for a fundamental reconsideration of the old interpretations in musical biographies. In the present essay I examine, in the context of Chopin’s biographies and biographical essays, one of the fundamental tenets of the traditional biography – an assumption of the existence of a coherent, essentially unchanging and unitary self of a biographical subject – and demonstrate that rethinking this assumption along the lines proposed by recent theoretical thought in  / the humanities, helps to loosen the grip of nineteenth-century orthodoxy on our understanding of Chopin and his music, and leads to a more illuminating, more complex and, eventually, more comprehensive understanding of both. »

Page 45
« The traditional biography assumed the existence of a unified self of a biographical subject: a core personality that can be “discovered” if only the biographer digs deep and long enough. »

« This approach has been criticized in recent years on the grounds that biography cannot aim at construction a unified individual because there is no such thing. Instead, it has been argued that the perception of the self as unified and coherent is historically located and can be identified with an enterprise of moral and political renewal that became known as the “Enlightement project”, grounded in a belief in a human agent with a sense of inwardness, freedom, individuality, and embeddedness in nature. There is, therefore, no essential “self” of the subject that can be discovered by the biographer. The self is shaped ideologically by its relationship to significant others, beginning with the family, and by external forces, such as the political upheavals and economic depressions surrounding it. The self becomes a nexus of floating discourses which enter it from without, yet it is not controlled by any one paradigmatic discourse. The self, in other words, is culturally constructed. »

Page 46
« This perception implies that the goals of biography no longer include either the discovery of a unified self, or a psychic conflict that can unlock the whole personality of a subject and offer the key to understand his-her creative output. Instead, biographers aim at explaining how the identities were fashioned and constructed in given circumstances and how they were negotiated. »

Jolanta Pekacz développe deux thèmes : le problème de l’objectivité des biographes et le problème du fondement de la personnalité.

L’objectivité des biographes
Que les biographies (qui sont souvent des textes relevant de la littérature plus que de l'histoire, donc faiblement auto-critiques) contiennent des idées politiques sous-jacentes, reflètent des valeurs sociales et politiques, cela paraît évident. Peut-on dire pour autant que « biographies are documents that tell us as much about their authors as about their subjects » ? L’auteur tombe ici dans un lieu commun ; si on lit la biographie d’une personnalité qu’on connaît très peu au préalable, il est peu probable qu’on en apprenne autant sur l’auteur que sur la personnalité étudiée. En revanche, si on lit dix biographies sur la même personnalité, comme les faits utilisés sont pour la plus grande part récurrents, on arrive rapidement à ne plus apprendre grand-chose sur la personnalité étudiée et à percevoir (à travers les écarts factuels et interprétatifs) certains aspects de la personnalité de l’auteur. Mais ce n’est pas une démarche « grand public », c’est une démarche universitaire.
Par ailleurs, ce constat (les biographes ne sont pas objectifs) ne justifie pas la moindre « erreur factuelle » (pas seulement l’erreur proprment dite, mais aussi les omissions, présentations biaisées, etc.) ; Jolanta Pekacz semble ironiser sur les auteurs qui « attempt to establish their credibility by declaring their honesty and truthfulness in sources, and by emphasizing their minimal interpretative input. » ; il ne s’agit pas seulement de proclamer sa propre honnêteté vis-à-vis des sources, mais d’avoir une pratique effectivement honnête (donner des citations, donner des références, etc.) permettant (au moins potentiellement) au lecteur une vérification correcte.

La question du « Moi »
La conception développée par Jolanta Pekacz est certainement justifiée, mais elle y accorde une importance excessive, du fait qu'elle a tendance à déprécier ce qui relève du factuel.

A venir
Etudes de deux points biographiques traités dans l’article

Création : 6 mars 2018
Mise à jour :
Révision :
Auteur : Jacques Richard
Blog : Sur Frédéric Chopin Questions historiques et biographiques
Page : 321. Jolanta Pekacz 2 : problèmes généraux de la biographie
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