Renowned Swedish author Monica Lauritzen: Writing biographies is a means of endowing new life to lost worlds




 On the morning of 17 November 2017, invited by the CCTSS, Monica Lauritzen, the renowned Swedish author, gave a lecture on the subject of "The Art of Female Biographies" for students and teachers at Beijing Language and Culture University. Prof. Kjell Espmark, renowned Swedish poet and former president of the Jury of The Nobel Prize in Literature, and Mathias Lafolie, the Cultural Counsellor to the Swedish Embassy to China, were also present at the lecture. Nearly 100 teachers and students listened to the lecture.

  During her lecture, Lauritzen first summarized the overall characteristics of biography writing through an exploration of the genre's history. Afterwards, she recounted her experience of writing the biographies for two 19th Century female Swedish authors. Monica Lauritzen also explained that she voraciously reads authors' diaries, private correspondences, and past magazine publications in an attempt to develop a diverse understanding of how that author's experiences were affected by different historical contexts. Furthermore, she described to those present how she navigates between subjectivity and objectivity — between the obligation to be faithful to her subject and the desire to express her own perspective. As far as Lauritzen is concerned, writing biographies is a process of retrieving lost worlds and endowing them new life.

  After the lecture, teachers and students fervently asked questions, to which Kjell Espmark (present with his wife) provided riveting answers that referred to his own personal experiences. Mathias Lafolie also expressed his views on the cultural exchange between China and Sweden in recent years. He said, "Although our two nations are geographically distant, they are close in terms of their spiritual bond. The two nations must continue to develop a cultural exchange. The Swedish government particularly encourages exchanges between Chinese and Swedish authors, hoping that, in this way, they will be able to promote and reinforce a mutual understanding between the two nations." The lecture brimmed with excitement, with listeners being treated to an intellectual feast.

  The lecture was hosted by the CCTSS and the School of Applied Foreign Languages (SAFL) of BLCU, and organized by the Norwegian Research Institute. Professor Lu Wei, the Dean of SAFL and Executive Vice-President of the Norwegian Research Institute, hosted the event.