Christophe C.J. Van Eecke

Winner Dissertation Prize 2016

Pandaemonium: Ken Russell’s Artist Biographies as Baroque Performance.

Supervisor: Professor M. Meijer, professor Karel Vanhaesebrouck
Co-supervisor: Dr. J. Post
Nomination: Maastricht University, Faculty of Social Sciences

Report by the Selection Committee

This dissertation analyzes in striking fashion the autobiographical approach of biographer Ken Russell from the perspective of the filmic genre. The author unravels the tangles in which Russell writes his own life through the lives of others. In terms of strategy and approach, the subject is decidedly unconventional. Van Eecke’s analysis of Russell’s work evokes a Jeroen Bosch-like quirky and kaleidoscopic world. This concerns ‘life writing’ – coincidentally also the theme of the 2016 Erasmus Prize – based on audio-visual interpretations. Moreover, the jury was particularly struck by Van Eecke’s ability to translate film into writing, using a clear and authoritative style. The unconventional character of the artist Russell, the subject of this study, keeps pace with the extremely original and innovative argument of the dissertation’s author.