The Allure Of The Archives

Paperback | February 24, 2015

byArlette FargeForeword byNatalie Zemon DavisTranslated byThomas Scott-railton

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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.

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From the Publisher

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....

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 Étienne Balibar, Michel Foucault, and Slavoj Žižek.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:152 pages, 8 × 5 × 0.68 inPublished:February 24, 2015Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300198930

ISBN - 13:9780300198935

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“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