Love Among the Archives: Writing the Lives of George Scharf, Victorian Bachelor

Love Among the Archives: Writing the Lives of George Scharf, Victorian Bachelor

by Helena Michie, Robyn Warhol


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Love Among the Archives: Writing the Lives of George Scharf, Victorian Bachelor by Helena Michie, Robyn Warhol

WINNER of the 2016 NAVSA Book of the Year!

Part biography, part detective novel, part love story, and part meditation on archival research, Love Among the Archives is an experiment in writing a life. This is the story of two literary critics' attempts to track down Sir George Scharf, the founding director of the National Portrait Gallery in London, famous in his day and strangely obscure in our own. After discovering Scharf's scrapbook of menus and invitations from England's most stately homes, the authors began their adventures in the archives of London, searching Scharf's diaries, sketchbooks, and letters for traces of the man who so loved dining out. Addicted to Victorian novels, the authors looked for a marriage plot, but found Scharf's passionate attachment to a younger man who had hidden from him a secret engagement; they looked for a Bildungsroman, but found that Scharf never left his beloved mother. Always short of money, self-educated, talented, irascible, gregarious, prolific, and snobbish, this son of a poor immigrant artist was to become the right-hand man of an earl he called "my best friend." The written record of his nightmares, debts, gifts, and dinner parties comes together to produce a rich Victorian character whose personal and professional lives challenge what we think we know about sex, class, and profession in his time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781474406642
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Publication date: 10/01/2015
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Helena Michie is Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor in Humanities and Professor of English at Rice University. She is the author of Victorian Honeymoons: Journeys to the Conjugal (2006), Sororophobia: Differences Among Women in Literature and Culture (1991) and The Flesh Made Word: Female Figures and Women's Bodies (1987) and co-editor with Ronald Thomas of Nineteenth-Century Geographies: From the Victorian Age to the American Century (2002).
Robyn Warhol is Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English at the Ohio State University, where she is a core faculty member of Project Narrative. She is the author of Having a Good Cry: Effeminate Feelings and Pop Culture Forms (2003) and Gendered Interventions: Narrative Discourse in the Victorian Novel (1989) and co-editor with Susan S. Lanser of Narrative Theory Unbound: Queer and Feminist Interventions (2015).

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations; Preface and Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; A Vita for Sir George Scharf (Timeline); Part I. Introduction: Adventures in the Archives; 1. Identifying George Scharf; 2. Expanding Middles; 3. So Many Archives; 4. The Ephemeral Archive: The Lives of Objects; 5. The Institutional Archive: The NPG on Paper and Screen; 6. The Monumental Archive: A Trip to Xanthus; 7. The Visceral Archive: A Victorian Dinner Party; 8. Writing George Scharf's 'Life'; II. Reading for Romance: The Marriage Plot; 9. Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places; 10. A World of Men; 11. We Don't Know Jack about George; 12. 'Don't Be Shocked!'; 13. 'Jackiana', or, Giving Jack Away; 14. Getting Used To It; 15. Piano Wars; 16. Romance Plot Redux; 17. After Plot: Illegible Romance; III. Reading for Differentiation: The Family Romance; 18. Left Behind: George Senior; 19. Incorporating the Elderlies: Mother and Aunt; 20. Horizontal Narratives (1): Family (Accounting) Systems; 21. Horizontal Narratives (2): Brother Henry Disappears; IV. Reading for Success: The Professional Plot; 22. Desiring Knole; 23. Knole in the National Imaginary; 24. In Which We (Maybe) Uncover a Dark-Hearted Villain; 25. Days and Nights at Knole; 26. Back to the Table; 27. In Which We Become Guests of the Sackvilles (Sort of); 28. Friends at Chevening; 29. Reading for Death; Coda: Our Archivist, Ourselves; List of Works Cited; Index

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