Love Among the Archives (Paperback)

Helena Michie


Two Literary Critics Romancing the Archive at London's National Portrait Gallery. Part biography, part detective novel, part love story, and part meta archival meditation, Love Among the Archives is an experiment in writing a life. Our subject is Sir George Scharf, the founding director of the National Portrait Gallery in London, well known and respected in the Victorian period, strangely obscure in our own. We tell of discovering Scharf's souvenirs of a social life among the highest classes, and then learning he was the self made son of an impoverished immigrant. As we comb through 50 years of daily diaries, we stumble against plots we bring to the archive from our reading of novels. We ask questions like, did Scharf have a beloved? Why did Scharf kick his aged father out of the family home? What could someone like Scharf mean when he referred to an earl as his "best friend"? The answers turn out never to be what Victorian fiction - or Victorianist Studies - would have predicted. Presents a unique approach to life writing that foregrounds the process of archival discovery; a contribution to sexuality studies of the Victorian period that focuses on domestic arrangements between middle class men; offers an intervention into identity studies going beyond class, gender, and sexuality to try out new categories like "extra man" or "perpetual son" and a humorous critique of what literary critics do when they turn to "the archive" for historical authenticity.

Product Details

  • Product code: BAOBX
  • ISBN: 9781474406642
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Dimensions: 23.5cm x 15.5cm
  • Pages: 256
  • Publish date: 30/09/2015


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