Dr Lise Jaillaint (University of British Columbia, Canada), ‘Messy Modernism: Looking for Woolf, Eliot, Joyce and others in Publishers’ Archives’
Wednesday 8th May, 5pm, in Humss 188, Whiteknights Campus
As literary scholars, what kind of archival documents do we consider “valuable” and worthy of scholarly inquiry? Traditionally, many scholars of modernism have favored the literary manuscripts and the letters of writers preserved in well-catalogued collections, while publisher’s archives have been neglected. In particular, the archives of commercial publishers have received little attention. Yet, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot and James Joyce were no longer coterie writers published only by small presses and little magazines. They were courted by large-scale, commercial publishers and started appearing in cheap series of reprints. Drawing on research in the archives of the Oxford University Press and Chatto & Windus, I will argue for the need to engage in extensive work in often-messy publisher’s archives to further our understanding of modernism and the market.
Lise Jaillant has recently defended her PhD on the Modern Library series at the University of British Columbia. This talk is based on her new project on European publisher’s series, supported by a Mellon fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research (University of London). Jaillant has articles published or forthcoming in James Joyce Quarterly, Book History, Studies in the Novel and Clio: A Journal of Literature, History and the Philosophy of History.