From Politics to Romances
Chapter 2 brings together several strands of analysis which, together, produce an argument about both official archives and the representation of archives or archival material in works of fiction. Beginning with a narrative about the Parisian police archives on October 17, this chapter charts the archives’ slow road to declassification and the various obstacles that have led to the persistent belief that the machinations of the French state make it impossible to ever fully know their contents. The second section operates in two modes: ethnographically, detailing the author’s own experience of consulting the freshly declassified police archives, and hermeneutically, that is, in the manner of literary critic, offering typological assessments and interpretations of the archival material itself. The final sections of this chapter connect the archive to the anarchive, demonstrating that the latter stages its own archive stories—narratives about the provenance of the archive, its history, and its effect on its user—by foregrounding the subjective experience of characters (researchers, detective, scholars, reporters) who work in, against, or in the absence of archives.
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