Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Right to Archivism

I recently read Cloud Atlas, a novel that consists of six stories connected through transmission: a character in one story reads or watches the previous story. As an archivist reading this while on my way to an archival conference, I was immediately struck by how this book is very much like an archival collection: it includes a journal, correspondence, a literary manuscript, a movie treatment, an oral history, and an oral tradition. Imagine my surprise when, as I approached the middle of the book (before the apocalypse), I came across an archivist conducting an interview with someone who had claimed her “right to “archivism” (Rule 54.iii).

In a BBC interview, the author David Mitchell said that he moved from structure to world to character.