The archive is a haunted place, they say. Where the dead speak to the living. Where human contact becomes a transcendent matter. Where the living are left suspended even after they leave. All those loose pages, pamphlets, photocopies, tracts, and trinkets that comprise the archive becoming, in the moment of encounter, conduits of otherworldly communiqués.

The dream of communicating with the dead and their letters, of telling their story on their own terms has only intensified since the nineteenth century. Indeed, the séance table and the science of history were but two harbingers of this secular age—often sites of tragic recognition—in which attempts to experience the real presence of history have been foiled, frustrated, demystified, and debunked. But finally, once and for all, this dream will soon be realized. Everything, historically speaking, will change with the coming “appearance of an intercommunicating network...

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