This section examines the triage inherent in all archives: what gets collected and what gets left behind, what gets catalogued and what gets lost, what gets displayed and what remains in obscurity. Focused on a tiny notebook from the revolutionary period in Ireland found at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas, this section offers an example of archival detective work and an effort to theorize the implications of that work. Filled with affect and mystery, the artifact defied the exhibition's and the archive's classification of it and started these scholars' musings on the postcolonial archive. Following the path that this piece of ephemera sent me down, I begin this section by considering the ways in which the archive can and cannot trace a history of affect. Karen Steele argues that scholars working in the postcolonial archive, who discover and analyze marginalized voices, can never comfortably assume that the taxonomies of that archive will remain static and stable, accessible and usable, for these taxonomies are always imbued with ideology. In response, Steele relates my work to her [End Page 29] own investigation of Irish women's political agency in both the private and public spheres. Sean McCarthy relates the notebook's story to Jamie O'Neill's At Swim, Two Boys (2001), a novel about the same period in Irish history. Both the novel and the notebook force us to consider the convergence politics as a site of different forms of power, including celebrity and political power. [End Page 30]
Molly O'Hagan Hardy is a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research is on the intersections between nationalism and the eighteenth-century book trade in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, and Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in The New Hibernia Review, Eighteenth Century Studies, and Studies in European Cinema.