Testimonial Rhetoric in Nineteenth-Century Composition
Conclusion: The Long Memory (Christopher Carter and Russel K. Durst)
christopher carter and russel k. durst
Artifacts to us are discards to many. Now is the moment.
—Nan Johnson, “History” (17)
Many entries in the Schultz Archive, whether incomplete or damaged texts or ones by nearly forgotten authors, verge on what Nan Johnson calls “ephemera.” To use her language, such entries are “marginalized, fragile, and quickly disappearing.” Often, they are “simply material that no one has yet categorized as important” (“History” 17). Granted, Schultz’s extraordinary efforts in gathering and organizing the texts garner them a degree of significance, as do the processes of digitization and cataloging that followed. Those processes help to preserve the works while inserting them into a scholarly domain, but nevertheless, most of the entries have yet to undergo analysis. Given Johnson’s idea of ephemera as “evidence that lies outside formal academic contexts” (17), the Schultz Archive poses a conceptual problem: it resides within the academic context of a digitized university archive, but at the same time, the preponderance of its holdings has not yet served as “evidence” for anything.
Carr, Carr, and Schultz have begun to rectify the problem of as yet unexamined sources. They have done so in their studies of select trends in the collection, looking especially at instructional patterns in rhetoric manuals, readers, and composition textbooks. Composing Legacies endeavors to continue that project, locating ←149 | 150→ instructional value in what others ignore and discard. Our book finds artifacts where others might see ephemera, and by...
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