I have now edited Harvard Review for ten years and it occurs to me that my own memory of the journal constitutes a particular sort of archive. Not alphabetical, not always perfectly searchable, not even necessarily complete, but unique in that every entry is cross-referenced in some idiosyncratic way. I know, as perhaps no one else in the world knows, that there are clusters among the hundreds of stories and essays that we have published over these years. Some have to do with subject matter: we have, for example, a number of stories about old ladies, also several excellent pieces told from a child's point of view. Sometimes the organizing principle is formal: there are pieces that do not resemble each other in the least but are linked in my mind because they are similarly experimental.
From the Archives is a new feature of HROnline showcasing prose selections from the past ten years. Our inaugural selections are a pair of essays on historical subjects by two writers united in my mind by their fine ear, their dry wit, and the deftness with which they move from image to idea. We hope you enjoy Barbara Sjoholm’s “Lapponia” from HR 29 and Kathryn Rhett’s “Our So-Called Illustrious Past” from HR 30.
Our So-Called Illustrious Past