UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The archiving “I” : a closer look in the archives of writers Douglas, Jennifer L.


In 2009, in this journal, Heather MacNeil and I published “Arranging the Self: Literary and Archival Perspectives on Writers’ Archives.” Drawing on the critical literature on life writing, the article introduced the concepts of the “archiving ‘I’” and of “coaxers and coercers” to talk about the various agents that shape an archive over time, and to argue that the creation of an archive is a type of performative act. Here, the concepts are examined in more depth, drawing on research in the archives of eight Canadian and American writers, to show how the work of the archiving “I” and of coaxers and coercers affects the development of writers’ archives and to suggest the implications for the development of theory for personal archives.

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