The public service staff of Special Collections and Archives work closely with researchers daily. As a new feature of this blog, we will be sharing stories about research in Special Collections and Archives that yielded successful outcomes. We hope to further expose the wide variety of research that our collections support and to encourage others to ask us for assistance. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-824-3947.
SUCCESS STORY 3
THE CHALLENGE: Martin began his research on the Paul de Man papers at UCI with a view to editing a collection of de Man’s teaching notebooks covering a 30 year pedagogical career. From the outside, through the UCI finding aid to the Paul de Man Papers (MS-C004), this looked to be the most promising part of an already extensively explored archive. The challenge was to locate promising, underutilized texts by de Man.
ASSISTANCE PROVIDED: Providing access to both processed and unprocessed parts of the collection, we worked closely with Professor McQuillan, over several visits, to locate materials for his research.
POSITIVE RESOLUTION: As Professor McQullian stated to us after this research was completed: “By working my way through the boxes of the collection I discovered a number of fascinating texts and archival problems that have led to a range of different publications and activities. The most challenging was an unpublished monograph manuscript from 1972, ‘Textual Allegories’, which was later rewritten by de Man to be included in some of his most famous work. Working with staff in Special Collections and a funded post-doctoral research assistant, Dr. Erin Obodiac, this manuscript was brought to publication on-line in both type-script and verso form. A similarly imaginative solution was found, with the assistance of the UCI team, to publish on-line de Man’s edition of ‘The Portable Rousseau’ which became impossible to publish in his lifetime due to the size of the manuscript. Working with the Special Collections team I have also produced a collection of unpublished texts by de Man, ‘The Post-Romantic Predicament’, as well as the original volume ‘The Notebooks of Paul de Man’, which will ultimately contained many fascinating items as well as some of the teaching material. This work also gave rise to an international conference at UCI on this research, the papers from which will be published in the volume ‘The Political Archive of Paul de Man’. My initial, limited project became a much larger one, funded by the British Academy and the the Arts and Humanities Research Council, with the support, guidance and creativity of the Special Collections team at UCI.”
MORAL: Ongoing efforts to know our collections and the needs of our researchers were key to our support of the research of Professor McQuillan.