Broadcast Biographies. Innovations in Genre and Medium (1945- 2020)

Project Details


This project examines British and (West-)German broadcast
biographies from the period 1945-2020. After the Second World War,
Britain and Germany led the way in innovative biographical radio
productions that explored the relationship between fact and fiction,
text and sound. The project starts from the following hypotheses: (1)
that literary radio biographies remediate genre conventions
associated with the biography, such as the tension between
referentiality and fictionality and the relation between biographer and
biographee, and (2) that they critically reflect on the cultural memory
function of both public broadcasting and biography (e.g. by replaying
existing audio fragments and by critically reflecting on the history of
radio). The project builds on insights from literary radio studies,
audionarratology, media archaeology and cultural memory studies to
examine the radio biography in depth and focuses on productions by
(post)modernist and neo-avant-garde authors, such as Alfred
Andersch, Martin Esslin, Gerhard Rühm, Angela Carter and Tom
Stoppard. By studying the cases along three complementary lines –
their production and reception history, their remediation and
innovation of genre conventions, and their place in and critical
relation to audio memory – the project contributes not only to the
longstanding field of biographical studies but also to new and
emerging fields such as literary radio studies and sound studies.
Effective start/end date1/01/2231/12/25

Flemish discipline codes

  • Biography
  • Literatures in English
  • Literatures in German
  • Radio
  • Theory and methodology of literary studies not elsewhere classified


  • literary radio studies
  • genre development of biographical writing
  • cultural memory and the radio