Has “Literary Protectionism” Passed Its Peak?

In “ Raiders of The Lost Archive: Writers’ Papers Don’t Necessarily Belong at Home ,” The Economist  (August 13, 2011) questions “does retaining writers’ collections really offer a broader cultural benefit?” and suggests that “literary protectionism may have passed its peak.”  The argument suggests that literary archives, and especially born-digital archives, lack the immediate magic and aesthetic value of other cultural artifacts (namely paintings).  Will the increase of born-digital archives undermine the current market for literary papers?  Does evaluating literary archives on their aesthetic merits, by comparing them with paintings and other art objects, overlook their fundamental cultural value?


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