The Archive as Text

Tuesday, October 20, 1:00-2:30 pm
Strozier Library 107K [map]

Building Genetic Editions: The Archive as Text

The William S. Burroughs Archive reflects a joint venture between FSU’s Burroughs Laboratory and the Centre for Manuscript Genetics in Antwerp, Belgium — historically, a center that promotes a change of outlook on scholarly editing through the development of “genetic criticism” via text-encoding initiatives (TEI). TEI enables textual critics and historians to, through XML (eXtensible Markup Language), perform visualizations within and construct interpretations of complex texts. Where TEI promotes a kind of “creative undoing” of any text, the Burroughs Archive represents both an interpretation and complication of that process in three ways: (1) its project team began the archive’s construction in 2012 with a text already occurring in multiple forms: typescript for William Burroughs’ Blade Runner (a movie); (2) the project is multidisciplinary in its reach; and (3) the project provides insight into Burroughs’ actual and perceived processes of composition, and of digital archivists’ possibilities for re/composition.

The Digital Scholars Reading and Discussion Group welcomes Dr. Stanley Gontarski, Robert O. Lawton Professor of English at Florida State University, to discuss the origins of the project, as well as its significance for  genetic criticism, data culture, scaled reading (e.g., text markup), crowd-sourced archiving, and seminar design, among other things. Participants from all fields may be interested in learning more about how the project evolved from questions and materials to something as complex as archive.

Participants are invited to read the following in advance (all available in our Bb org. site):

  • Burroughs ms. and ts. manifest, in holding at Strozier
  • Gitelman, Lisa. “New Media Bodies.” Ch. 3 in Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 2008.
  • Harris, Oliver. “Introduction” to Nova Express (by William S. Burroughs). Grove, 2014.
  • —. “Introduction” to The Soft Machine (by William S. Burroughs). Grove, 2014.
  • —. “Introduction” to The Ticket that Exploded (by William S. Burroughs). Grove, 2014.

and to browse the follow resources:

We hope you can join us,





3 thoughts on “The Archive as Text

  1. Pingback: Cutting Things Up:  Mapping the Political Interface of William S. Burroughs | FSU Digital Scholars

  2. Pingback: Burroughs’ Lasting Legacy: Digital Cut-Up and Transmedia Storytelling | FSU Digital Scholars

  3. Pingback: How Burroughs and Digitization Expand Our Understanding of Texts and Archives | FSU Digital Scholars

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