The 12th International Conference of Baltic Literary Scholars

Life Writing and History Writing in Contemporary Baltic Cultures

Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Tallinn, 14-15 November 2019


The first biennial conference of Baltic literary scholars took place in Riga in 1996. It has been followed by meetings in Vilnius or Tallinn, which will also be the venue of the 12th Conference of Baltic Literary Scholars. The Conference is organised by the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences.

The 12th Conference of Baltic Literary Scholars will focus on recent developments in life writing in the field of literature and culture. Although autobiographical texts, such as diaries and memoirs, have been widespread in world literature since the 18th century – one only needs to mention Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s confessions (1765-1770) or Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), the autobiography of the Baltic noblewoman Elisa von der Recke (1795) or the diary of the Estonian poet Kristian Jaak Peterson (1818) –  the structure, and aim, of  life writing has undergone changes by present times.

Life writing has proved to be popular again during recent decades, and the format is still viable in the 21st century. At the same time, several new formats, themes and perspectives within life writing have emerged. The most significant recent texts constitute life writing as a realm with a strong tendency towards literature, but also social and cultural history. Autobiographical aspects are intertwined with fiction, better to reveal historical events that have influenced the destinies of many people. Memoirs will also help younger generations not to forget the tragic moments and periods of history.

Life writing functions as a textual practice not only in literature, but also in the visual and performing arts, in film and theatre.



Contact and further information
Anneli Mihkelev,
Marin Jänes,