Jenn Shapland. My Autobiography of Carson McCullers. New York, NY: Tin House, 2020. 296p. Paper, $16.95 (ISBN: 978-1-951142-29-2).

Ashley Roach-Freiman


In my conversations with students interested in librarianship, I have noted a shared awe regarding archival work and assembly. Archives and archivists’ work shimmer with frisson: the tension between the public and the personal, the privilege of accessing someone’s most private selves. And it is through the use of archives that hidden lives are made public, celebrated, or obscured. In the hands of a writer or filmmaker (see Todd Haynes’s new The Velvet Underground or Angelo Madsen Minax’s astonishing North by Current), there’s a collaborative relationship between creator and archivist negotiating with the past to curate and contextualize. There’s a call to create, a response, and a responsibility.

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