27 Apr 2011

Lost Archive of Ludwig Wittgenstein

"The Cambridge academic Prof Arthur Gibson revealed on Tuesday that he had spent much of the past three years working his way through an archive of Ludwig Wittgenstein material which disappeared in the chaos of the second world war.
The archive, around 170,000 words plus mathematical equations, provides fresh insights into the philosopher's mind and also shines a fascinating light on the complex relationship he had with the man who, as amanuensis, put most of the words on to paper – his young male lover Francis Skinner.
Gibson recalled when he first opened the archive: "I was just stunned. It was astonishing because it's a whole archive, never seen before and most of it entirely new. It provides an insight into his thought processes – you're almost peering into his mind.""


26 Apr 2011

BBC radio 4 program - Tales from the Digital Archive


"Once a writer's archive consisted of letters, badly-typed first drafts and corrected manuscripts. But now they write on computers and communicate by email, what clues to their creative process remain? Archaeologist Christine Finn sets out to explore how the new generation of archive from the digital age will be made accessible to future generations.
She hears from Erika Farr, the Coordinator for Digital Archives at Emory University in America, which recently acquired Salman Rushdie's archive. It is a definitive 21st century archive, including emails, discs, and the computers on which he wrote his best-selling books.
Meanwhile the British Library is also addressing the digital challenge. Christine meets their first-ever Curator of Digital Manuscripts, Jeremy John, who explains how they're developing a 21st century approach to the preservation of the writer's environment. Instead of having to travel to Ted Hughes' Devon home to view his work-place, devotees will be able to access a digital reconstruction of his study via th BL website.
Christine Finn also discusses the impact of technology on the art of archiving the work of writers and poets with novelist Fay Weldon, exploring how these developments affect authors, their readers, and potential biographers. She hears from Margaret Atwood's biographer, Professor Nathalie Cooke, Associate Provost of McGill University in Montreal, and from Bobby Friedman, who has written an unofficial biography of politician John Bercow.
The traditional lament is the loss of data, as email replaces letters and drafts disappear with the delete key. But here Finn celebrates the new technology that is as much a part of an archive as the words themselves."

Emory University - how using archives aided students


Nice little piece about students changing their views about Sexton's poetry in light of using archival sources, correspondence etc.