I’ve arranged a “field trip” for us up to UNC’s Manuscripts Department for Tuesday December 5 and Thursday December 7. (No permissions slips necessary in grad school!) The sessions are due to start promptly at 5pm, so you will have a little lag time to get there. Sessions will end about 5:45pm.
I won’t be requiring attendance for this class, but I do strongly urge you to brave the rush hour traffic to attend. There’ll be a little oohing and ahhing and showing and telling, and that’s always fun, but we’ll also talk about the whys and hows of doing archival research.
Think about this: The recent (last 30 years) trend in literary scholarship has been towards the theoretical, yet one of the things the internet does best is to create wider access to, and, consequently, greater interest in, primary sources. I’d contend that the discovery, editing, and interpretation of archival material is easier than it has ever been and will soon (say, in the next 20 years) surpass “doing theory” as the most important work in literary study. At the very least, some print editions of letters and manuscripts will need to be rebuilt from scratch as electronic editions.
Please comment on this post and let me know whether you’ll come to one of these classes, and if so, to which one. Please also use the comments section to this post to arrange carpools; I understand there’s also a bus that goes up there, and that might be convenient, too. If you have information about that, please post it here in the comments.
The UNC MSS department is located on the 4th floor of Wilson library; detailed driving directions from Raleigh are here. As these directions state, the best place to park is in the Visitors’ Parking lot on the right side of Raleigh Rd./54 soon after the intersection of Raleigh Rd. and Greenwood Rd.