Abstract

Like many of James's major fictions, "The Aspern Papers" concludes with the burning of documents. Such closure is usually understood as both ethical and ironic. It is possible, however, that Aspern's archive is not merely a "McGuffin"--an empty signifier around which the narrative revolves--but rather is an agency that wills its own destruction. Following Derrida's argument in Archive Fever that the archive is always already on fire, this essay explores the figurative economy by which living bodies are in the grip of the dead and which sustains a continuity between the hand that writes and the hand that burns.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6555
Print ISSN
0273-0340
Pages
pp. 61-67
Launched on MUSE
2010-02-20
Open Access
No
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