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Paper Fossils: Joyce's 'Origin of Spices' and the Imperfections of the Archival Record

Paper Fossils: Joyce's 'Origin of Spices' and the Imperfections of the Archival... DIRK VAN HULLE PAPER FOSSILS: JOYCE’S ‘ORIGIN OF SPICES’ AND THE IMPERFECTIONS OF THE ARCHIVAL RECORD In On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin employed a powerful metaphor to indicate the imperfections of the fossil record, comparing it to a book: ‘I look at the natural geological record as a history of the world imperfectly kept […]; of this history we possess the last volume alone […]. Of this volume, only here and there a short chapter has been preserved; and of each page, only here and there a few lines’. In his so-called ‘pencil sketch’ of 1842 he had put the matter even more crudely: ‘geology presents us with mere pages in chapters, towards end of history, formed by tearing out bundles of leaves, and each page illustrating merely a small portion of the organisms of that time’ (CUL DAR 6, p.35r). If we compare this situation of the fossil record with the archival record of modern works of literature, the problem of incompleteness seems to be almost non-existent. With regard to modern manuscripts in general, the problem for editors is usually not a lack of manuscripts, but rather an abundance. This essay attempts to draw attention, first http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Dublin James Joyce Journal James Joyce Research Center @ University College Dublin

Paper Fossils: Joyce's 'Origin of Spices' and the Imperfections of the Archival Record

Dublin James Joyce Journal , Volume 2 – Mar 2, 2012

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Publisher
James Joyce Research Center @ University College Dublin
ISSN
2009-4507

Abstract

DIRK VAN HULLE PAPER FOSSILS: JOYCE’S ‘ORIGIN OF SPICES’ AND THE IMPERFECTIONS OF THE ARCHIVAL RECORD In On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin employed a powerful metaphor to indicate the imperfections of the fossil record, comparing it to a book: ‘I look at the natural geological record as a history of the world imperfectly kept […]; of this history we possess the last volume alone […]. Of this volume, only here and there a short chapter has been preserved; and of each page, only here and there a few lines’. In his so-called ‘pencil sketch’ of 1842 he had put the matter even more crudely: ‘geology presents us with mere pages in chapters, towards end of history, formed by tearing out bundles of leaves, and each page illustrating merely a small portion of the organisms of that time’ (CUL DAR 6, p.35r). If we compare this situation of the fossil record with the archival record of modern works of literature, the problem of incompleteness seems to be almost non-existent. With regard to modern manuscripts in general, the problem for editors is usually not a lack of manuscripts, but rather an abundance. This essay attempts to draw attention, first

Journal

Dublin James Joyce JournalJames Joyce Research Center @ University College Dublin

Published: Mar 2, 2012

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