The Allure of the Archives

The Allure of the Archives

4.02 (181 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Foreword by  , Translated by 

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Description

An exquisite appreciation of the distinctive rewards of historical research and a classic guide to the personal yet disciplined craft of discovery, now in its first English translation. Arlette Farge's Le Gout 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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 152 pages
  • 127 x 195.58 x 20.32mm | 181.44g
  • Yale University Press
  • New Haven, United States
  • English
  • Translation
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0300198930
  • 9780300198935
  • 51,642

Review quote

"[Farge's] description of a personal, physical relationship to archives resonates more than ever as the essence of curiosity, an existentially fulfilling act in which the historian can literally touch the past."-Jacob Soll, Chronicle Review -- Jacob Soll Chronicle Review "A little gem of a book. A diamond, perhaps, given both its clarity and the finesse with which it's been cut and set. It is an unmistakable classic: one of the great memoirs of the silent, day-to-day drama of research ... Adamantine: sharp, brilliant, perfect, and created to last."-Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed -- Scott McLemee Inside Higher Ed "Lyrical, suspenseful and humorous in turn. Farge has created a fascinating account of how historians work that will appeal to scholars and history buffs alike ... [This] classic intellectual memoir, finally translated into English, elegantly re-creates the thrills and (literal) chills of a historian's archival treasure hunts."-Shelf Awareness, Starred Review Shelf Awareness "In this elegant and captivating (and admirably translated) account ... we gain an appreciation of historical research as a calling, an obsession, and an insight into how our ideas about the past might be shaped."-Los Angeles Review of Books Los Angeles Review of Books Received second place for the 2014 translation prize in non-fiction given by the French-American Foundation and the Florence Gould Foundation. -- Translation Prize French-American Foundation "A unique, lyrical paean to historical research, ... now superbly translated into English... The kick of research-not self-evident, by any means-is the subject of Farge's marvelous book. Behind it lies the goal of history, which is 'the understanding of a time and a world.' ... [But] The Allure of the Archives is more than a reflection, however evocative, on the seductive joys and travails of research; it is a methodological handbook, ... [containing] several chapters with subheadings that read like guidelines for the would-be historian."-Brenda Wineapple, The Threepenny Review -- Brenda Wineapple The Threepenny Reviewshow more

About Arlette Farge

Arlette Farge is Director of Research in Modern History at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. Natalie Zemon Davis is Professor of History at the University of Toronto. Thomas Scott-Railton is the translator of several books, including works by Etienne Balibar, Michel Foucault, and Slavoj Zizek.show more

Rating details

181 ratings
4.02 out of 5 stars
5 35% (63)
4 39% (71)
3 20% (37)
2 5% (9)
1 1% (1)
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