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Leslie Butler

Out of Circulation: Finding or Making an Archive

I started reading two intellectual history monographs this week that both begin with fascinating glimpses into the germinal moment in which the author ‘found’ their topic. In both cases, it is in an encounter with a large, jumbled but thematically-related heap of books that ignites a question, the question that drives the project. For both experiences are confrontations with books that seemed to have expired, books that are hors d’usage. “This project began with books. Quite literally,” Leslie Butler writes on the first page of Critical Americans: Victorian Intellectuals and Transatlantic Liberal Reform. On a trip to New York City Read more