From Corpus to Bio-Text; Peter Carey’s Archives as Literary Networks
Keywords:Peter Carey, celebrity, archive, author-persona
Carey's archives add a new facet to Carey’s public image as an Australian author. In principle, the archive is directed at posterity, defying the ephemeral nature of “personality” pieces about the writer, a phenomenon that Grahame Turner has discussed in terms of Carey’s active participation in accumulating recognition amounting to the construction of Carey’s author-persona as a “national celebrity” (136). My interest in this essay is to explore the ways that Carey’s archives contribute to our understanding of productive mechanisms of his celebrity. In doing so, I theorize the formation and the significance of Carey’s archives both as texts and objects. I argue that the archiving of Carey is energized by a collective investment by a body of cultural participants who have a stake in promoting the now ‘globalised’ author. This has ultimately resulted in relocalising the ‘corpus’ of the New York based writer back in Australia, and particularly in the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne. This archive has been regularly updated alongside Carey’s growing oeuvre. In this parallel literary space, however, Carey’s cultural agency continues to manipulate his public persona.
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