Publication Reviews

The Allure of the Archives. By Arlette Farge. [Review]

  • Jeffrey Mifflin (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)


This long-awaited translation of Arlette Farge’s 1989 classic, Le Goût de l’archive, is a welcome addition to a small but growing body of literature exploring encounters with archives. The book details a noted French historian’s memories and ruminations about the archival research she performed using Ancien Régime records in preparation for her doctoral dissertation in 1974. Anecdotal reminiscences recall the practices of repositories in Paris in the early 1970s, recounting the author’s engagement with primary sources, including frustrations, philosophical reflections, self-doubts, and identification with the subjects of her research. Included are astute observations about how historical knowledge is produced through the complex process of converting research in original documents into historical narrative and argumentation. Lively and often profound,the text is nicely complemented by Natalie Zemon Davis’s perceptive introduction.

How to Cite:

Mifflin, J., (2014) “The Allure of the Archives. By Arlette Farge. [Review]”, Archival Issues 36(1), 68–69. doi:

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Published on
01 Jan 2014