The After Archive

Edited by Lucy Mulroney

The After Archive: Introduction

Lucy Mulroney

Math of the Non-visible

Renee Gladman

A Lacuna Follows

Lisa Cohen

On Less Convenient Histories

Maura Finkelstein


Kathryn James

Collected & Uncollected

Lucy Mulroney


After the end, or after the beginning, or after we started to write these essays everything changed. I wait for my ability to imagine a relationship with the past or with the future to return. I cannot speak for the others.

When this appears it will again be after. In other words, the anachronism of our gesture seems appropriate. Within the context of a publication dedicated to the study of American literature after 1945, we find it necessary to speak of epic poetry Gilgamesh, Beowulf of the nineteenth-century American West, and of the closed stacks of a German museum. But we write in the inexplicable present:

not knowingfissuringmy bodya tableau of distressto keep people aliveto holddiscordantfamily historykin ghostsaccomplicesevidenceresponsibilitynot knowingthe body of the archivecivil wara time we still inhabitunmooredfantasythis encountertomorrowyesterday

We have built an archive. Our words are acts of preservation, markers of loss, and together an opening toward something larger, something after

The After Archive is co-sponsored by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University.

Past clusters