In the Guise of Literature: The Exhibition of Languages, Nations and Communities at International Book Fairs

Similar in its function to national buildings of world expositions, the pavilion represents the core of the presence of Guests of Honour at international book fairs and a setting for the exhibition of books and literature. This research project aims to analyse literary exhibitions within these spaces and to examine the relationship between their aesthetical conception and the promotion of literature according to branded images of a country, a language or a community. 

By the means of a wide range of tools and media such as design, texts, pictures, videos, installations and interactive devices, the exhibition of the Guest of Honour shows literary works and contents as manifestation of a culture or a cultural system, rearranging its values with specific purposes for the public at the fair.

Focusing on examples of different Guests of Honour from Romance and German language areas at Frankfurt Book Fair, FIL Guadalajara, Feria del Libro de Madrid, LIBER Barcelona/Madrid and FILBo in Bogotá, the study investigates the semiotic modalities of processing literature, both as cultural heritage and as creative field of producing meaning, in the self-representation system of a collective cultural and political subject. The way in which exhibitions of Guests of Honour may contribute to activate reader responses by the public in approaching unfamiliar literary works will be examined considering the following issues: a) the critical ratio between exhibits and historical or literary contexts in a given culture; b) the narrative structures of the exhibition; c) media and modalities of its interaction with the public; as well as d) official discourses and their receipt by the press.

Selective Bibliography

  • Anastasio, Matteo (2018): "Neue Sprachen der Literatur ‘auf Französisch’: Strategien des Literaturausstellens im Zeichen von Innovation und Kooperation im Rahmen des Ehrengastauftritts Frankreichs auf der 69. Frankfurter Buchmesse (2017)". In: Bosshard, Marco Thomas/Brink, Margot/Hertwig, Luise (eds.): Der Frankfurter Buchmesseschwerpunkt "Francfort en français" 2017: Inszenierung und Rezeption frankophoner Literaturen in Deutschland. (Dossier in Lendemains. Études comparées sur la France 170/171, 2018), 47-74.
  • Anastasio, Matteo (2019a): "Caminos de… Portugal. El pabellón portugués en la 76a Feria del Libro de Madrid (2017) entre promoción literaria y turismo cultural". In: Cuadernos de Historia Contemporánea, 41/2019 (in print).
  • Anastasio, Matteo (2019): "‘México, un libro abierto’. La exposición central del País invitado en la 44a Feria del libro de Fráncfort (1992)". In: Bosshard, Marco Thomas/García Naharro, Fernando (eds.): Las ferias del libro como espacios de negociación cultural y económica. Vol. I: Planteamientos generales y testimonios desde España, México y Alemania. Frankfurt am Main/Madrid: Vervuert/Iberoamericana, 45-91.
  • Anderson, Benedict (1983): Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London/New York: Verso.
  • Baur, Joachim (2010) (ed.): Museumsanalyse. Methoden und Konturen eines neuen Forschungsfeldes. Bielefeld: Transcript.
  • Bal, Mieke (1996): Double Exposures. The Subject of Cultural Analysis. New York: London.
  • Bohnenkamp, Anne/Vandenrath, Sonja (2011) (eds.): Wort-Räume ZEICHEN-WECHSEL Augen-Poesie. Zur Theorie und Praxis von Literaturausstellungen. Göttingen: Wallstein.
  • Bosshard, Marco Thomas (2014): "Länderschwerpunkte auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse. Zur Selbstinszenierung von Nationalkultur anhand der Gastlandauftritte Argentiniens und Brasiliens". In: Gesine Müller (ed.): Verlag Macht Weltliteratur. Lateinamerikanisch-deutsche Kulturtransfers zwischen internationalem Literaturbetrieb und Übersetzungspolitik. Berlin: Walter Frey/tranvía, 147-163.
  • Fischer, Ernst (1999): "Geglückte Imagekorrektur? Bilanz des Schwerpunktthemas Österreich 1995". In: Stephan Füssel: 50 Jahre Frankfurter Buchmesse: 1949–1999. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 150-162.
  • Gfreireis, Heike/Lepper, Marcel (2007) (eds.): Deixis. Vom Denken mit dem Zeigefinger, Göttingen: Wallstein.
  • Hansen, Lis/Schoene, Janneke/Teßmann, Levke (eds.) (2017): Das Immaterielle ausstellen: Zur Musealisierung von Literatur und performativer Kunst. Bielefeld: Transcript.
  • Hendrix, Harald (2008): Writers House and the Making of Memory, New York-London: Routledge.
  • Joachimsthaler, Jürgen/ Trepte, Hans-Christian (2009): "Editorial". In: Joachimsthaler, Jürgen/ Trepte, Hans-Christian (eds.): National-Texturen. Nationalliteratur als literarisches Konzept in Nordosteuropa. Lüneburg: Nordost-Institut, 11-18.
  • Hochkirchen, Britta/Kollar, Elke (eds.) (2015): Zwischen Materialität und Ereignis. Literaturvermittlung in Ausstellungen, Museen und Archiven. Bielefeld: Transcript.
  • Kroucheva, Katherina/Schaff, Barbara (2013) (eds.): Kafkas Gabel. Überlegungen zum Ausstellen von Literatur. Bielefeld: Transcript.
  • Moeran, Brian (2010): "The Book Fair as a Tournament of Values". In: The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 16, 1/2010, 138-154.
  • Niemeier, Sabine (2001): Funktionen der Frankfurter Buchmesse im Wandel von den Anfängen bis heute. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  • Pedota, Enzo (2015): "Der argentinische Pavillon auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse 2010". In: Marco Th. Bosshard (ed.): Buchmarkt, Buchindustrie und Buchmessen in Deutschland, Spanien und Lateinamerika, Berlin/Münster: LIT Verlag, 223-266.
  • Régnier, Marie-Clémence (2015) (ed.): Ce que le musée fait à la littérature. Muséalisation et exposition du littéraire. Dossier in: Interférences littéraires - Literaire interferenties, 16/June 2015.
  • Rütten, Marion 1999: "Die Länderschwerpunkte ab 1988: Fallbeispiele Italien und Frankreich". In: Stephan Füssel (ed.), 50 Jahre Frankfurter Buchmesse: 1949–1999, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 139-149.
  • Schärer, Martin (2003): Die Ausstellung. Theorie und Exempel. München: Müller-Straten.
  • Scholze, Jana (2004): Medium Ausstellung: Lektüren musealer Gestaltungen in Oxford, Leipzig, Amsterdam und Berlin. Bielefeld: Transcript.
  • Szpilbarg, Daniela (2015): Las tramas de la edición mundializada. Transformaciones y horizontes del campo editorial en Argentina 1998-2013. Buenos Aires: Universidad de Buenos Aires.
  • Wenrich, Rainer/Kirmeier, Josef (2016) (eds.): Kommunikation, Interaktion und Partizipation. Kunst- und Kulturvermittlung im Museum am Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts. München: kopaed.
  • Wißkirchern, Hans (2002): Zwischen Reliquienkult und Reizüberflutung. Möglichkeiten der Konzeption und Gestaltung von Literaturausstellungen. Berlin: ALG.

Realized Interviews (in progress)

Mexico at Frankfurt Book Fair 1992

  • Interview with Prof. Dr. Vittoria Borsò (Universität Düsseldorf), Coordinator of the Literary Programme "El universo de la literature mexicana", Mexico as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 1992, on 3rd August 2017 by videoconference (Matteo Anastasio)
  • Interview with Eugenia Meyer, Publishing Director at Conaculta and Commissioner at "México, un libro abierto", Mexico as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 1992, on 21st August 2017 by videoconference (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Humberto Spíndola, Scenographer at the exhibition "México, un libro abierto" in the Mexican Pavillon, Frankfurt Book Fair 1992, on 30th September 2017 by videoconference (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Eugenia Meyer, Publishing Director at Conaculta and Commissioner at "México, un libro abierto", Mexico as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 1992, on 12th December 2017 in Mexico City (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Jan Hendrix, Responsible for Museography Production at the exhibition "México, un libro abierto" in the Mexican Pavilion, Frankfurt Book Fair 1992, on 13th December 2017 in Mexico City (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Humberto Spíndola, Scenographer at the exhibition "México, un libro abierto" in the Mexican Pavillon, Frankfurt Book Fair 1992, on 13th December 2017 in Mexico City (Matteo Anastasio, Luise Hertwig).
  • Interview with Eva Salgado Andrade, Outreach Coordinator at "México, un libro abierto", Mexico as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 1992, on 15th December 2017 in Mexico City (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Martha Hellion, Responsible for Museography Production at the exhibition "México, un libro abierto" in the Mexican Pavilion, Frankfurt Book Fair 1992, on 15th December 2017 in Mexico City (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interviews with Martha Delia Carrera Salcedo, Architect and Museography Designer of the exhibition "México, un libro abierto" in Mexican Pavilion, Frankfurt Book Fair 1992, on 11th March 2018 and 10th April 2018 by videoconference (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Martha Delia Carrera Salcedo, Architect and Museography Designer of the exhibition "México, un libro abierto" in Mexican Pavilion at the Frankfurt Book Fair 1992, on 4th-5th December 2018 in Mexico City (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Vicente Rojo, creator of the logo "México, un libro abierto", Mexico as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 1992, on 6th December 2018 in Mexico City (Matteo Anastasio, Freja Irina Cervantes Becerril).
  • Interview with Prof. Dr. Dr. hc. Karsten Garscha (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt), Moderator at several events of "El universo de la literature mexicana", Mexico as Guest of Honour, on 4th August 2017 by videoconference (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Saide Sesín, former journalist and correspondent from Germany in 1992, 8th August 2017 by videoconference (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Prof. Dr. Karl Kohut (Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt), Romanist, about his research on the reception of the Mexican literature in Germany (1945-1999), on 12th September 2017 (Matteo Anastasio).

Portugal at Frankfurt Book Fair 1997

  • Interview with Teo Ferrer de Mesquita, Executive Director of Portugal – Frankfurt 97 S.A. in Frankfurt, Portugal Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair 1997, on 9th August 2018 by videoconference (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Madalena Forjaz de Sampaio, Executive Director of Portugal – Frankfurt 97 S.A. in Lisboa, Portugal Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair 1997, on 18th September 2018 by videoconference (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Teo Ferrer de Mesquita, Executive Director of Portugal – Frankfurt 97 S.A. in Frankfurt, Portugal Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair 1997, on 10th and 14th October 2018 at Frankfurt Book Fair 2018 (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with António de Campos Rosado, curator of the exhibition "Portugal: Pathways into the World" in the Portuguese Pavilion at Frankfurt Book Fair 1997, on 30th October 2018 and 17th November 2018 by videoconference (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview witch Maria do Rosário Pedreira, Publishing Director of Portugal – Frankfurt 97 S.A., Portugal Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair 1997, on 27th November 2018 at Guadalajara Book Fair 2018 (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Simone Bühler, Director of the Guest of Honour-Team at the Frankfurter Buchmesse, former referent of the Portuguese office in Frankfurt at Portugal – Frankfurt 97, on 4th July in Frankfurt (Matteo Anastasio, Fernando García Naharro, Luise Hertwig).

Germany at FIL Guadalajara 2011

  • Interview with Timo Berger, Invited author and Responsible for the literary programme of Germany as Guest of Honour at FIL Guadalajara 2011, on 24th June 2018 in Berlin (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Martina Stemann (International Projects at Frankfurt Book Fair), Executive Coordinator for the Planning of the German presence (Literary and Culture Programmes) as Guest of Honour at FIL Guadalajara 2011, on 10th October 2018 at Frankfurt Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio)
  • Interview with Doris Oberländer (former International Projects at Frankfurt Book Fair), Executive Coordinator of the German presence (Literary and Culture Programmes) at FIL Guadalajara 2011, 10th October 2018 at Frankfurt Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Sabine Weißmüller, architect and designer for the German Pavilion and German collective stand at FIL Guadalajara 2011, on 10th October 2018 at Frankfurt Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Dieter Schmidt, Manager International Projects at Frankfurt Book Fair, responsible for German publishers and exhibition in the German collective stand at FIL Guadalajara 2011, on 13th October 2018 at Frankfurt Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Bärbel Becker, Director International Projects at Frankfurt Book Fair, responsible for German publishers and exhibition in the German collective stand at FIL Guadalajara 2011, on 14th October 2018 at Frankfurt Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio).

France at Frankfurt Book Fair 2017

  • Interview with Ruedi Baur, architect and design director of the French Pavilion at Francfort en français, on 20th April 2018 by videoconference (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Barbara Cassin, philosopher and philologer, curator of the exhibition "Les rue de la traduction" in French Pavilion at Frankfurt Book Fair 2017, on 27th May 2018 by videoconference (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Loïc Djan, curator of the exhibition "Walden" in French Pavilion at Frankfurt Book Fair 2017, on 9th May 2018 by videoconference (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Rosemarie Rauter, former Director of the Guest of Honour-Team at the Frankfurter Buchmesse (1976-2004), on 13th October at Frankfurt Book Fair (Marco Thomas Bosshard, Matteo Anastasio, Luise Hertwig).
  • Interview with Holger Ehling, Holger Ehling Media Agency, former press officer at Frankfurt Book Fair (1994-1997/2002-2005), on 15th October 2017 at Frankfurt Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio, Torben Volkmann).

Argentina at Liber Madrid 2017

  • Interview with Marcelo Panozzo, Secretarian for Cultural Patrimony of Argentina, Director of Cultural Foreign Promotion for Argentina, on 5th October 2017 at LIBER Madrid (Marco Bosshard and Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Agustina Peretti, Director of Cultural Foreign Promotion for Argentina, on 5th October 2017 at LIBER Madrid (Marco Bosshard and Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Cristobal Thayer, Publishing Director of La Cebra, on 6th October 2017 at LIBER Madrid (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Damián Tabarovsky, Publishing Director of Mardulce, on 11th October 2017 at Frankfurt Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio, Fernando García Naharro).
  • Interview with Amaiur Fernandez, literary agent at International Editors, on 11th October 2017 at Frankfurt Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Cristina Witt, Publishing Director of Colisión Libros, on 12th October 2017 at Frankfurt Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio).

Portugal at Feria del Libro Madrid 2017

  • Interview with Pedro Berhan da Costa, Cultural Advisor of the Embassy of Portugal in Madrid, on 14th August 2018 (by phone) (Matteo Anastasio).

Madrid at FIL Guadalajara 2017

  • Interview with Miguel Garza, Mexican builder of the Madrid Pavilion in FIL Guadalajara 2017, on 26th November 2017 at FIL Guadalajara (Fernando García Naharro and Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Jesús Marchamalo, journalist, on 30th November at FIL Guadalajara (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Paco de Blas, Curator of "Ganarás la Luz", Madrid exhibition in FIL Guadalajara 2017, on 1st December 2017 at FIL Guadalajara (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Laura Niembro, Content director of the Guadalajara International Book Fair, on 3rd December 2017 at FIL Guadalajara (Matteo Anastasio, Freja Irina Cervantes Becerril, Fernando García Naharro, Luise Hertwig).
  • Interview with Dania Guzman, Graphic designer of the Guadalajara International Book Fair, on 6th December 2017 at FIL Guadalajara (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Adriana Ruano, former Graphic designer at Guadalajara International Book Fair, on 7th December 2017 (Matteo Anastasio).

Romania at Leipzig Book Fair 2018

  • Interview with Ioana Gruenwald (Headsome Communication), press officer at Zoom in Romania, Romania as Guest of Honour at Leipzig Book Fair 2018, on 17th March 2018 at Leipzig Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Cristian Pelivan, communication manager at Ministry of Culture of Romania, on 17th March 2018 at Leipzig Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Jan Cornelius, invited author and moderator at Zoom on Romania, Romania as Guest of Honour at Leipzig Book Fair 2018, on 17th March 2018 (Matteo Anastasio).

Portugal at FIL Guadalajara 2018

  • Written interview with Manuela Júdice, General Secretarty at Casa da América Latina in Lisboa and Commissioner of the Portuguese participation as Guest of Honour at FIL Guadalajara 2018, on 27th September 2018 (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Nuno Júdice, invited author at FIL Guadalajara 2018 (Portuguese delegation), on 25th November 2018 in Guadalajara (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Maria del Pilar del Río Sánchez Saramago, President of Fundación Saramago, on 26th November 2018 at Guadalajara Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview witch Maria do Rosário Pedreira, invited author at FIL Guadalajara 2018 (Portuguese delegation) and former Publishing Director at Portugal – Frankfurt 97 S.A. (Portugal Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair 1997), on 27th November 2018 at Guadalajara Book Fair 2018 (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Dr. Dr. Jerónimo Pizarro (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia), invited author (critic) at FIL Guadalajara 2018 (Portuguese delegation) and former Commissioner of the participation of Portugal as Guest of Honour at Bogotá International Book Fair (FILBo) 2013, on 29th November 2018 at Guadalajara Book Fair 2018 (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Manuela Júdice, General Secretarty at Casa da América Latina in Lisboa and Commissioner of the Portuguese participation as Guest of Honour at FIL Guadalajara 2018, on 2nd December 2018, at Guadalajara Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Dr. Alma Delia Miranda Aguilar, professor for Portuguese Literatures (Universidad Autónoma Nacional de México), about the presence of Portugal as Guest of Honour at FIL Guadalajara 2018, on 25th November 2018 in Guadalajara (Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Dania Gúzman, Graphic designer (FIL Guadalajara), on 29th November 2018 at Guadalajara Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio).

Mexico City at Los Angeles Book Fair 2015

  • Interview with Benjamín Anaya Gonzáles, Publishing Area at Secretary of Culture of Mexico City, on 28th December 2018 at Guadalajara Book Fair (Matteo Anastasio).

Mexico City at Buenos Aires Book Fair 2015

  • Interviews with Alejandro Gaspar, Publishing Area at Secretary of Culture of Mexico City, on 28th November 2018 at Guadalajara Book Fair and on 7th December in Mexico City (Matteo Anastasio).

About Book Fairs and Guest of Honour Focal Themes

  • Interview with Manuel Gil, Director of Feria del Libro Madrid, and Fernando Valverde, Secretary of Madrid Booksellers Association) on 10th March 2017, by videoconference (Fernando Garcia Naharro, Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Tobias Voss, vice president of International Markets at Frankfurt Book Fair, on 20th June 2017 by telephone (Marco Th. Bosshard, Luise Hertwig, Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with Marisol Schulz Manaut (Director at Feria International del Libro de Guadalajara), Oche Califa (Director at Feria Internacional del Libro de Buenos Aires), José Carlos Alvariño Ordónez (President at Feria Internacional del Libro de Lima), on 3rd June 2017 at Feria del Libro Madrid 2017 (Fernando García Naharro, Matteo Anastasio, Luise Hertwig).
  • Interview with Peter Weidhaas, former Director of Frankfurt Book Fair, and Hlemut von der Lahr, former press officer Frankfurt Book Fair, at on 3rd July 2018 in Mainz (Matteo Anastasio, Fernando García Naharro, Luise Hertwig).
  • Interview with Juergen Boos, Director of Frankfurt Book Fair, on 2nd July 2018 in Hamburg (Marco Thomas Bosshard, Matteo Anastasio, Fernando García Naharro, Luise Hertwig).
  • Interview with Marisol Schulz Manaut, Director at Feria International del Libro de Guadalajara, on 29th November 2017 at Guadalajara Book Fair (Marco Thomas Bosshard, Ferja Irina Cervantes Becerril, Matteo Anastasio).
  • Interview with José Ignacio Echeverría, former CEO National Chamber for the Mexican Publishing Industry, referent for the candidature of Mexico as Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair 2017, on 14th December 2017 in Mexico City (Matteo Anastasio, Luise Hertwig).
  • Interview with Carlos Anaya Rosique, CEO National Chamber for the Mexican Publishing Industry, on 14th December 2017 in Mexico City (Matteo Anastasio, Luise Hertwig).
  • Interview with Nubia Macías Navarro, former General Director of FIL Guadalajara (1987-2013), on 7th December 2018 in Mexico City (Matteo Anastasio).