Abstract: As literary scholars, what kind of archival documents do we consider “valuable” and worthy of scholarly inquiry?
Traditionally, many scholars of modernism have favoured the literary
manuscripts and letters of writers preserved in well-catalogued collections, while
publisher’s archives have been neglected. In particular, the archives
of commercial publishers have received little attention. Yet, in the
late 1920s and early 1930s, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot and James
Joyce were no longer coterie writers published only by small
presses and little magazines. They were courted by large-scale,
commercial publishers and started appearing in cheap series of reprints.
Drawing on research in the archives of Oxford University Press and
Chatto & Windus, I will argue for the need to engage in extensive work
in often-messy publisher’s archives to further our understanding
of modernism and the market.
Lise Jaillant has recently defended her PhD on the Modern Library series at
the University of British Columbia. This talk is based on her new project on
European publisher’s series, supported by a Mellon fellowship at the
Institute of Historical Research (University of London). Jaillant has articles published or forthcoming in James Joyce Quarterly, Book History, Studies in the Novel and Clio:
A Journal of Literature, History and the Philosophy of History.
5pm, Humss 188
All welcome – please come along!