The Harry Ransom Center has awarded over a dozen fellowships for 2021-2022 to The University of Texas at Austin faculty and graduate students through the Center’s new UT-Austin Fellowship program. The new fellows reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the Center’s collections and represent a wide range of departments, programs, and schools across the university. [Read more…] about Fellowships awarded to UT-Austin faculty and graduate students
During my time as a researcher, I have always been a working graphic designer. I suspect that, as a consequence, my underlying mindset has always been very results-driven. As a designer, if you want to get paid, all the ends have to be tied up, all ideas followed to a conclusion. Therefore, sitting at a desk in a library, I still feel that I have to produce something that can be shown to the world, whether this be in book form, an article, or other verbal or visual presentation. Although I always really enjoy the process of research, rightly or wrongly, a product is always at the back of my mind. Investigation, then communication. [Read more…] about Slowly, and then round again
Sometimes the scrawled letters on a page slow reading to a halt. Unlike printed words in a bound volume or transcripts that risk sanitizing history, handwriting produces an entirely different reading experience. Words unfold, as they were written originally, and events take on new meaning in the materiality of the archives. The manuscript of a letter or diary may be neat and legible when composed in tranquility, or scribbled hastily in times of anger or mourning. In print, the end of Sara Coleridge’s life was hardly a mystery, but reading her manuscripts changed everything for me.
Research helps solve mysteries we didn’t even know existed.
While most scholars search for answers in an archive, others like me seek out questions. For us, discovering a mystery is as fun as solving one. Visually speaking, the first experience resembles an exclamation point, a quick and straight cut through the files to where the spot marks the x, like many an algebra equation, begs a solution; the second is a gentler promenade along the sinewy curves of the question mark, where the final point opens an inquiry more than it closes a claim. As Theodore Adorno writes of both marks, “An exclamation point looks like an index finger raised in warning; a question mark looks like a flashing light or the blink of an eye.” Habitués of the Harry Ransom Center would do well to discern which punctuation mark they best resemble. [Read more…] about Researching microbiography in Tennessee Williams’s artwork
Researching the life of a novel means uncovering the traces of how it was written—not only the edits, corrections, and additions made to a manuscript, but also the conversations in letters or in diaries that show how these decisions were made. Finding and bringing together these traces reveal what cannot be known when reading the published novel alone. By teasing out these connections, the researcher can be in dialogue with the novel itself in new ways. [Read more…] about Jean Malaquais and the life of a novel
Research is part of the history of Hollywood’s Golden age. Eighty years ago, in the heyday of the studio system, little libraries on studio lots employed a handful of people who collaborated with writers, directors, producers, and designers to dig up the details that made the movies look and sound authentic. Studio researchers made sure that audiences were focused on the story, not the modern look of a movie set in the nineteenth century. [Read more…] about The women who made Selznick’s screenplays