Shortly before the end of 2020, the papers of National Book Award–winning author Lily Tuck arrived at the Harry Ransom Center. It is always exciting when a new archive enters our building, but this arrival from New York City, in the midst of a devastating pandemic, felt especially significant. The collection’s delivery was originally scheduled for March of 2020 but was promptly put on hold as we began to learn of a dangerous, new, and rapidly spreading virus and as institutions shut down around the world. Until measures could be put into place to ensure the safety of everyone involved, the delivery of Lily Tuck’s correspondence, her research notes, manuscripts of such novels as The News from Paraguay and The Double Life of Liliane, and other material documenting her writing life had to be delayed. [Read more…] about The slow research of collection development
Biography is a long, slow process of careful research … Reading diaries and letters and sifting through artifacts … I found the answers to these questions by carefully examining each document and artifact, and slowly I was able to write her story … As a biographer, going to an archive is how you find the person you are writing about.
—IRIS JAMAHL DUNKLE
Buildings tell stories. When Victorian-era critic John Ruskin looked at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, he saw a building that reminded him of an illuminated book, intended to be legible to a visitor. The façade created a space that could start doing the work of the church before the visitor even went inside; as he wrote, “both externally and internally, the architectural construction became partly merged in pictorial effect” as “a vast illuminated missal.” The colors, materials, images, and ornamentation are not just objects of analysis or delight but incorporate a viewer as a participant in the building’s project and environment. [Read more…] about ETCHED ARCHIVE: Windows at the Harry Ransom Center
As a librarian at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at The University of Texas at Austin, I have been fortunate to carry values from my personal research journey and apply them to collection development and instruction. On a daily basis, I engage with researchers—faculty, students, scholars, and artists from Latin America and across the globe—whose own research journeys may begin years before they step through our door. [Read more…] about The passion to push the paradigm
On the 18th of November in 1945, Arthur Miller’s radio adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice could be heard nationwide as part of a special Thanksgiving program. Listeners in New York heard it at 10 p.m. on ABC station WJZ. The show made the list of “Today’s Leading Events” in The New York Times and was the Theater Guild’s most highly rated program that quarter, capturing a 19.4 percent share of the national radio audience. The original recording is worth a listen not only as a TARDIS to 1945 but as the most unlikely comic mashup of two great writers: [Read more…] about 75 YEARS HENCE: Arthur Miller adapts Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for radio
My latest fascination with Carmen began 14 years ago, when I was spending a semester in Paris on a faculty exchange. The night before leaving for spring break, I went to see Mark Dornford-May’s 2005 film U-Carmen eKhayelitsha at L’Arlequin, a grand cinema on the rue de Rennes. While in college I had seen both Otto Preminger’s 1954 Hollywood classic Carmen Jones and a Washington National Opera production of Carmen, and I was curious about how the story would translate to a contemporary African context. [Read more…] about Carmen is everywhere: opera, diaspora, and interdisciplinary inquiry