30.1 | Sophie van den Elzen

Masterclass | On the Limits of Autobiography and Not Getting to Age: How Hervé Guibert did not Go Gently in À l’ami qui ne m’a pas sauvé la vie and Cytomégalovirus


This paper discusses two works by Hervé Guibert, a French author who was an influential voice in the public debates surrounding AIDS in the early 1990s. It examines how his post-diagnosis novels play with the autobiographical genre, rejecting the conception of autobiography as a monument to the aged man, a stable subject reflecting on and recasting his life as purposeful and fulfilled. Instead, Guibert highlights his lack of control or authorship over his life and confronts his own youth mainly through the antithetical way he portrays his friend and mentor, Michel Foucault, reclaiming subjectivity in a series of political texts.