Archival violence

With all my teaching duties over for the week (including, to my surprise and gratification, the grading), I was able to turn my attention this afternoon to the Byatt paper. I started out with some reading. I looked at the following in varying degrees of detail:

  • Linda Haverty Rugg’s Picturing Ourselves: Photography and Autobiography (gulp, why didn’t I read this when writing the Frobenius article?? It’s not to late to include at least some references to it…)
  • Jacques Derrida’s Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression
  • Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida

All were necessary to the project, in varying ways. The Derrida occurred to me as an aha moment when I saw the title while scanning the library shelves for books on poststructuralism. I mean of course the boxes of index cards and photographs in The Biographer’s Tale are a kind of archive, and of course they do a kind of violence to Ibsen and the other biographical subjects in the text. Duh.

As is my usual process, I couldn’t do that much reading without going back to work on my own text, so I did a little chipping away at it. I had a go at the highlighted spots that needed fixing and dealt with most of them. Then I cleaned up the references to Barthes, and integrated the Derrida. Now there’s really only A) a couple of piddly highlighted details that I didn’t have the references to fix, and B) the entire section on the actual Ibsen quotations left to work on. I’m guessing I may need to write as much as two additional pages on the quotations (I’m hoping it’s not much more than that, as I’m already closing in on 8,000 words).

The completed draft is “due” on Friday at 14.00, when I’ll be seeing my WIP exchange partner. Can’t wait to get this out of my hair and see what she has written!

Words written: 413


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