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"Sir Dominick Ferrand" suggests that letter burning may be a way of setting the captured past free from the vagaries of the present. And nowhere in the Jamesian canon would this be more clear than in "The Aspern Papers." The author moves from looking at what it means to grasp the past to viewing the object that is being grasped. To do so means viewing the tale's "time-vision" as being bound up in a matrix of paper and ash: a system of circulation and exchange in which the most intimate markers of identity—names—are addressed in burning letters.