The Allure of the Archives (The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History)
Arlette Farge’s Le Goût 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.
anxiety. Slightly labored breathing becomes conspicuous and agonized wheezing, and a small habit (like massaging one's nose in deep concentration) turns into a monstrous tic to be dealt with urgently by psychiatric professionals. In these enclosed spaces, everything is amplified far out of proportion; the same neighbor is just as likely to become a World War I battle tank as the smiling angel in the Reims cathedral. There are certain people who work for years with a smile constantly playing at
been ordered to assassinate the king, and, as proof of this monstrous order, he was now deaf and dumb. The case lasted twenty years, and Thorin remained in the royal prison of the Bastille the whole time, until his madness overcame him completely. It is a very long story, with twists and turns that are fascinating to anyone interested in the question of how public order was confronted with the collective imagination of a society whose relationship with its kings had begun to break down. The
“interwoven in his own being with histories that are neither subordinate to him nor homogenous with him.”8 He should not simply be measured against the yardstick of the average person from his time, about whom we have little to say. Rather, these individuals should be approached with an eye toward drawing out the sequence of strategies that each person uses to make his way in the world. If we aim to “defend stories”9 and bring them into history, we must commit ourselves to demonstrating in a
and social groups, then putting these in order, and advancing a new understanding on which we can then base our analyses. It is critical from the outset to explain the rationale behind the frameworks through which you will analyze the material. Your explanation of why you questioned the archives in the particular way that you did must be clear if the conclusions of your research are to be convincing rather than doubtful. The archives can always be twisted into saying anything, everything and its
particularly associated in the 1970s and 1980s with work inspired by the examples of Robert Mandrou, Georges Duby, and Jacques Le Goff, among others. d. The author uses the French word dépouiller, which is the standard term for the process of unpacking the archival bundles and sifting through documents. It has its roots in words for undressing or unveiling, skinning an animal, and pillaging.