Bruce Holsinger is Professor of English at the University of Virginia. He is currently completing a book on the history, theology, and science of parchment, Archive of the Animal: Science, Sacrifice, and the Parchment Inheritance. His most recent book, The Invention of Fire, is a historical novel.
The sensual richness of the written record confronts us like nothing else can with the sobering animality of our archive: the ghost of a spine, the curve of a haunch; patterns of scar tissue, hair follicles, sutures snaking across flayed skin; bindings as fuzzy as a cat. The written record is a vast storehouse of creaturely remains that continue to claim our attention and wonder.