While the archival antipodes of accessibility and obfuscation--of order and chaos--have long captivated archive readers, such captivation has given way over the last thirty years to an obsession that, following the translation of Jacques Derrida's Mal d'Archive, is often called a fever. Although in Derrida's iteration, "archive fever" refers to the archive's dependence on both preservation and destruction, it refers today both to the archive's promotion of feverish desires (for origins, for authenticity, for paper-bound or otherwise authentic connections) and to readers' often dis-eased responses to the archive as a mediator of conflicting and conflicted meanings.
My dissertation, Feverish Fragments and Dis-eased Desire: The Archive as Fiction, argues that as the archive continues to accrue broad symbolic and political significance in contemporary archival discourse and beyond, it is increasingly necessary to investigate the aetiology of its production of fevers. I consequently maintain that a full investigation of the archive's current dis-eased status demands attendance to the words of critics and other specialized archive readers, attendance to the experiences of less professional or professionalized readers, attendance to the archives and archivists themselves, and, as importantly, attendance to the fiction that takes the archive as subject and theme.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2012. Major: English. Advisor: Paula Rabinowitz. 1 computer file (PDF); iii, 301 pages.
Gage, Molly Lizabeth Kelley.
Feverish fragments and dis-eased desire: the archive as fiction..
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