Book Series Museums and Ideas

Museums in Literature

Fictionalising museums, world exhibitions, and private collections

Caroline Marie, Anne Chassagnol (eds)

  • Pages: 240 p.
  • Size:220 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:94 col.
  • Language(s):English, French
  • Publication Year:2022

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59357-9
  • Hardback
  • Available

How does literature represent, fictionalise, or theorise real or imaginary museums?


Caroline Marie and Anne Chassagnol are co-founders of the research project MuséaLitté (COMUE UPL).


Museum studies today understand museums as symbolic spaces shaping, staging, and disseminating images and imaginaries as well as discourses of knowledge and power. As they try to encompass, gather and classify all times and places within one purpose-built building, they may be theorised with Michel Foucault as “heterotopias,” like theatre and libraries, that is to say spaces both within and without time and place. As such, they invent specific discourse and partake of story telling and narrativisation.

This collective volume in English and French adopts the perspective of literary studies to investigate the way museums, be they real or imaginary, have been represented, reminisced, or fictionalised in many literary genres from the eighteenth-century to the early twenty-first century. It explores the ways fiction, children’s picture story books, and grey literature mediatise and fictionalise art museums, archaeological or Egyptological museums, war museums and museum-like spaces such as World exhibitions, private collections, or, arguably, hoarders’ houses, sometimes theorising both literature and museums as discursive spaces producing imaginaries.

It includes diachronical, comparative, generical overviews as well as case studies and interviews that together map out the varied modes of appropriation and figuration of museums by fiction, gothic, horror and fantasy, memoirs, reviews, children’s literature, and bande dessinée.


Preface: Wall Texts / The Literature of the Museum
Jonah Siegel

Culture Shock: How Literature Matters in Museums and Elsewhere
Anne Chassagnol and Caroline Marie

PART ONE Museums Outside Museums

Le musée hors du musée

In Conversation with Alexander Korzer-Robinson, Collage Artist, Author of the Cut Antiquarian Book on the Back Cover:
Looking at these Books is like Revisiting a Museum
An interview conducted by Caroline Marie

The Self-Contained Museum: Romanticism, Collecting, and the Space of Writing
Sophie Thomas

The Dark Side of the Museum: Collecting, Hoarding, and Susannah Walker’s
The Life of Stuff: A Memoir about the Mess We Leave Behind
Susanne Bayerlipp

In Conversation with Lance Olsen, Writer: On the Ongoing Multimodal Collaborative Installation There’s No Place Like Time
An interview conducted by Hanna Hadjadj

PART TWO Museums, Worlds, and Objects

Le musée, le monde et l’objet

Féerie de verre et de fer : le spectacle de l’Exposition universelle de Londres
sous l’oeil d’un feuilletoniste parisien
Bénédicte Jarrasse

The Egyptological Museum at Night: From Science to Magic, from Order to Chaos
Nolwenn Corriou

Howard Phillips Lovecraft : l’horreur au musée
David Labreure

Écriture d’un musée janusien : Classé sans suite de Claudio Magris, un roman muséologique
James Weldon

In Conversation with Edward Carey, Writer and Visual Artist: Of Camels, Magpies, Mudlarking, Palaces of Toys, and Making a Museum in One’s Home
An interview conducted by Caroline Marie

PART THREE Museums Poetics and Aesthetics

Poétiques et esthétiques du musée

L’album-musée : un sous-genre thématique et formel de l’album pour la jeunesse
Christiane Connan-Pintado

Le paradoxe du musée dans Maîtres anciens de Thomas Bernhard
Sylvaine Faure-Godbert

Le musée comme atelier chez Daniele Del Giudice et Antonio Tabucchi,
entre mémoire, imagination et cécité
Lavinia Torti

Conversation avec Emmanuel Guibert, dessinateur et scénariste :
La bande dessinée comme reliquaire ou l’art de collectionner les connivences
Propos recueillis par Anne Chassagnol

PART FOUR Museum Material Culture and Writing

Culture matérielle et écriture au musée

Contre la décadence latine : Joséphin Péladan dans les salles chaldéo-assyriennes du Louvre
Jessica Desclaux

« Qu’est-ce qu’il ne faut pas faire pour une exposition ! » :
ce que le livre doit au musée dans l’oeuvre de Jean-Philippe Toussaint 168
Maxime Thiry

The Oxford Museums and Storytelling for Young People
Ben Screech

Conversation avec Manuele Fior, auteur de bande dessinée.
Des Intransigeants à la naissance de la bande dessinée :
la force narrative du musée dans Les Variations d’Orsay (2015)
Propos recueillis par Anne Chassagnol

PART FIVE Fictionalisation and Legitimisation

Fictionnalisation et légitimation

La littérature, un dispositif de médiation puissant et sensible de l’expérience muséale :
le cas de la collection «Ma nuit au musée» des éditions Stock 194
Éric Triquet et Marie-Sylvie Poli

Sourcebook, Guidebook, VIP Pass:
The Role of the Museum in Writing for Young Readers
Kiera Vaclavik

The New Discourses of the New Private Museums:
Dakis Joannou, Eli Broad, and François Pinault
Morgan Labar

List of Images - Notes on Contributors - Index of Museums