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Lives and Archives

Dean, A; (2020) Lives and Archives. In: Zimbler, J, (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to J. M. Coetzee. (pp. 221-233). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK. Green open access

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Housed in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, the assiduously organized (and carefully curated) Coetzee Papers include manuscript drafts of Coetzee’s novels (formerly available at the Houghton Library, Harvard College), as well as notebooks, correspondence, teaching materials, and photographs. Only recently opened, this archive has prompted a new wave of critical studies, only some of which have been sufficiently alert to, or indeed sceptical of, the procedures and decisions involved in its establishment and organization. Reflecting on this, this chapter considers the provenance and particular character of these papers in light of Coetzee’s career-long quarrying of autobiographical materials, his project of self-archiving, his explorations of archival themes and use of archival energies in his fictions, and his particular interest in the nature of secrets and lies, of concealment, distortion, and revelation. It argues that it is vital that critics think carefully about their own purposes in reading the archives; about the writer’s purposes in producing them; and about the kinds of truth at stake in the works, the archives, and the literary criticism they occasion.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Lives and Archives
ISBN-13: 9781108623087
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/9781108623087.015
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108623087.015
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > SHS Faculty Office
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > SHS Faculty Office > UCL Institute for Advanced Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097332
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