First of all, what is an archive? Is archiving ultimately an act of preservation or exclusion? How might the form and content of archives influence the narratives we construct about the past? And how can we think critically about our use of archives in both creative and scholarly work? In this class, we will investigate the relationship between aesthetic form and the sometimes excessive-even obsessive-grandiosity of archival ambition. We will read classic and contemporary theoretical writing on archives, engage with actual archives in St. Louis, and read a diverse group of texts-fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and critical/scholarly-that investigate, enliven, and trouble their archives. The course is co-taught by a literature professor and a creative writing professor, and it is specifically designed for creative writers (in any genre) and critical/scholarly writers to work and learn together. You might come into the class with a research/archival project already in mind or you might arrive open to exploring archival practices in your work. We will be reading and discussing outside texts and working on short assignments throughout the first part of the semester; in the final weeks students will workshop their (likely still in-progress) longer archival projects: long poems, historical short stories, plays, novel chapters, archival essays, essays about archives, and/or other projects designed in collaboration with us.