A Tyranny of Documents: The Performing Arts Historian as Film Noir Detective

Performing Arts Resources, Volume 28, draws together essays by forty historians researching in theatre, film, dance, music, and popular and cultural performance, who were given this direction: to focus on a personal experience with a “tyrannical” document from the archive, a document that would not allow for an otherwise apparent conclusion, that flew in the face of the evidence, or that carried embedded in it some aspect of an event that was incomprehensible, no matter how much additional research was brought to bear on it.

They were asked to reflect on the difficult balance sought among and between the historian’s respect for documentary evidence, the need to generate significance from it, and the natural-but-dangerous tendency to smooth out the rough edges of evidence.

We invite you to read the Introduction to the volume, as well as the Table of Contents.  More about the volume  can be found at  http://www.tla-online.org/publications/par.html

By Stephen Johnson



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