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The Allure of the Archives (The Lewis…
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The Allure of the Archives (The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History) (original 1989; udgave 2015)

af Arlette Farge (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1902140,827 (4.06)6
Arlette Farge's Le Go t de l'archive is widely regarded as a historiographical classic. While combing through two-hundred-year-old judicial records from the Archives of the Bastille, historian Farge was struck by the extraordinarily intimate portrayal they provided of the lives of the poor in pre-Revolutionary France, especially women. She was seduced by the sensuality of old manuscripts and by the revelatory power of voices otherwise lost. In The Allure of the Archives, she conveys the exhilaration of uncovering hidden secrets and the thrill of venturing into new dimensions of the past. Originally published in 1989, Farge's classic work communicates the tactile, interpretive, and emotional experience of archival research while sharing astonishing details about life under the Old Regime in France. At once a practical guide to research methodology and an elegant literary reflection on the challenges of writing history, this uniquely rich volume demonstrates how surrendering to the archive's allure can forever change how we understand the past.… (mere)
Medlem:chaclynhunt
Titel:The Allure of the Archives (The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History)
Forfattere:Arlette Farge (Forfatter)
Info:Yale University Press (2015), Edition: Translation, 152 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
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The Allure of the Archives af Arlette Farge (1989)

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For historians, the archives are definitely alluring. And poetic.

The ritualistic process of signing in,
filling out the call slip,
patiently and reverently waiting,
the burgeoning excitement as the archive box nears,
the sheer thrill of opening it
and viewing the aged and browned leaves of paper
covered in ancient scrawls of ink,
reading the personal communications of people long dead,
holding a letter signed by a president or other person
from the history books and the Hollywood movies,
the reading of thoughts,
the lines of reasoning,
the pleas of time or feeling or rationality,
the adrenaline-brain rush of a discovery
or connection
of significance to your research,
your theory,
your writing.

[The bad attempt at poetry is mine, not Farge's.]

It is alluring. At points Arlette Farge's language, ably translated by Thomas Scott-Railton, aspires to the heights of poetry.

This 1989 French work is considered a classic. Today it is a bit dated, but not much. This is no guidebook or how-to for archival research, but a poetic and philosophic paean to archives and their usage. There are definitely some things to think about. Farge intersperses her vignettes on visiting and working in the archives with vignettes of her researches and findings into pre-1789 police files in Paris. She shows how to read the sources to divine and define the lives of ordinary Frenchmen of the ancien regime. All of this is neat enough and interesting enough, as well as short enough, to keep the reader's opinion.

Of course, there is the strange habit of French historians (plus most historians of Europe, European or American, especially those of a Marxist or progressive bent, i.e., most of them) to absolutely love the French Revolution and think it was the greatest think since sliced bread. (The American Revolution and the Glorious Revolution are the best, in my humble Whiggish-Tory opinion.) Thus, a strange interlude (pp. 98-101) about a historical dispute from the 1980s on whether the War in the Vendée was, in the words of Reynald Secher, a genocide. Well, good Marxist and progressive French historians could never besmirch the good names of France or THE Revolution with the epithet of the ever so German-sounding "genocide." Basically (look up " War in the Vendée" on Wikipedia), the French Revolutionary government warred on, killed, and massacred hundreds of thousands of rebels and civilians in the Vendée region of France. Why? Because the people of the Vendée happened to think the king was better than the Revolution's tyranny and that Catholicism was better than the gussied up atheism of the Revolution's Cult of Reason. Farge might be right to conclude that the War in the Vendée wasn't a genocide, per se, but she proceeds to try and justify the rampant, injudicious, and downright evil killings because, well, the events in the Vendée region "traumatized the members of the revolutionary government." Ooh, the poor, sad, petty dictators of the revolutionary government, so down and traumatized by people who don't agree with them. Boo hoo little revolutionary babies. Downright tripe.

But what is so sad about this short digression, aside from the French Revolution worship of the academic left, is that it comes during a discussion on how the archives can't really provide a definitive truth. Farge warns historians (pp. 97-98) not "to press events from the past into the service of ideology" and praises the relativistic idea of "'plural' truths (and not 'the' truth)." Farge then tries to provide the French Revolution as a whole, and this War in the Vendée in particular, with a definitive truth. Farge contrasts Auschwitz, which she calls a "negative foundational event," with the French Revolution, calling the latter "also a foundational event, although a positive one, and its presence is felt up to the present day." Maybe so (though with Burke, I'd call the French Revolution a net negative), but this comes right after she warns against truth finding.

Pot, meet kettle.

Oh, and the worship of Foucault. Eh.

But, all-in-all, a book good for an upper-level historiography class and one aching with love for archival research and the art of history. ( )
  tuckerresearch | Oct 14, 2016 |
"... the archive is like a forest without clearings, but by inhabiting it for a long time, your eyes become accustomed to the dark, and you can make out the outlines of the trees." (p. 69)

Farge is a French historian who studies social history in 18th century France, mainly using police and legal records to uncover the hidden voices of everyday people during and after the French Revolution. In this slim volume, Farge pays homage to the skills and techniques of archival research and, in a series of vignettes, pokes a little insider fun at the ins and outs of the stoic French reading rooms.

[full review here: http://spacebeer.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-allure-of-archives-by-arlette-farge.ht... ] ( )
  kristykay22 | Jan 26, 2014 |
I liked best the parts where she describes the actual experience of using the archives. The more theoretical sections, while intrinsically interesting, suffered in comparison. ( )
  dono421846 | Nov 2, 2013 |
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Arlette Fargeprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Scott-Railton, ThomasOversætterhovedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Davis, Natalie ZemonForordmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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Arlette Farge's Le Go t de l'archive is widely regarded as a historiographical classic. While combing through two-hundred-year-old judicial records from the Archives of the Bastille, historian Farge was struck by the extraordinarily intimate portrayal they provided of the lives of the poor in pre-Revolutionary France, especially women. She was seduced by the sensuality of old manuscripts and by the revelatory power of voices otherwise lost. In The Allure of the Archives, she conveys the exhilaration of uncovering hidden secrets and the thrill of venturing into new dimensions of the past. Originally published in 1989, Farge's classic work communicates the tactile, interpretive, and emotional experience of archival research while sharing astonishing details about life under the Old Regime in France. At once a practical guide to research methodology and an elegant literary reflection on the challenges of writing history, this uniquely rich volume demonstrates how surrendering to the archive's allure can forever change how we understand the past.

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