Love Among the Archives: Writing the Lives of George Scharf, Victorian Bachelor (Paperback)
  • Love Among the Archives: Writing the Lives of George Scharf, Victorian Bachelor (Paperback)
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Love Among the Archives: Writing the Lives of George Scharf, Victorian Bachelor (Paperback)

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£19.99
Paperback 256 Pages / Published: 30/09/2015
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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.

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
ISBN: 9781474406642
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 430 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Helena Michie and Robyn Warhol's award-winning Love among the Archives: Writing the Lives of Sir George Scharf, Victorian Bachelor and Simon Goldhill's eagerly awaited study of the Bensons, A Very Queer Family Indeed: Sex, Religion, and the Bensons in Victorian Britain ... are, moreover, pleasures to read: witty, deft, and stylish." --Talia Schaffer, SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1990


"Superb. Warhol and Michie's Love Among the Archives is a triumph of a book, that reinvents academic biography and tells a compelling story of the passions and mysteries of Victorian lives and archives. Inventive, witty and knowing, it is both an important reflection on biographical method and a joy to read." --John Bowen, Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature, University of York


"A brilliant and ambitious experiment in life writing, Love Among the Archives is a delicious, witty, learned performance. Part scholarly detective story, part postmodern metanarrative, part cautionary tale about the temptations, limits, rewards, frustrations, and secret desires involved in doing archival research, it recalls both Byatt's Possession and Symons's The Quest for Corvo." --Professor John O. Jordan, University of California, Santa Cruz


Myopically rich in detail and chronically short on perspective, the diaries, letters, and albums Scharf left to the world offer little by way of telos or even vantage point. One of this book's stunning achievements is to find in all these details, in all this stuff, such memorable, mesmerising patterns.
--Trev Broughton, Victorian Studies / Vol. 59, No. 2. Winter 2017


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