The Troubled Archive of British Literature, 1798-1900


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




This project investigates the influence of archival anxieties on British literature of the nineteenth century, with reference to the rise of archaeology and industrial papermaking. These two phenomena changed the real and imagined terrains of commemoration and record-keeping, with far-reaching effects on the literary imagination of legibility and loss. Further, the physical materials and documents of the century's archive incarnate its haunting troubles. Through a study of the works of Romantic and Victorian writers, and an investigation of the archival institutions that defined their culture, this project offers new ways to understand the century's mournful struggle with its printed legacy. The project also illuminates our current struggle to preserve that legacy, on paper and in digital forms.