Arlette Farge, The Allure of the Archives – translated into English

A strange juxtaposition to read about this book while i’m doing my own archival work that is anything but sensuous: electronically-accessed city council decisions from the past 25 years.

Progressive Geographies

I’ve just discovered that Arlette Farge’s book Le Goût de l’archive was translated into English and was published last year as The Allure of the Archive. Farge worked with Foucault on the lettres de cachet collection Le désordre des families – also being translated into English (see here). It’s good to see her work getting some more notice in English debates, though a couple of her works on Paris are translated.


Arlette Farge’s Le Goût de l’archive is widely regarded as a historiographical classic. While combing through two-hundred-year-old judicial records from the Archives of the Bastille, historian Farge was struck by the extraordinarily intimate portrayal they provided of the lives of the poor in pre-Revolutionary France, especially women. She was seduced by the sensuality of old manuscripts and by the revelatory power of voices otherwise lost. In The Allure of the Archives, she conveys the exhilaration of uncovering hidden…

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