Thursday, May 29, 2008

Evolutions of mandarinese

At the FT, Ben Fenton has a fascinating piece about forged letters at the archives of the Public Record Office in Kew:
For me, as for anyone who works within its quiet walls, cloaked in the faint but everpresent smell of dust, it is the fount of authenticity. Regular users are, by definition, somewhat attached to the past, so most still call it the PRO, short for the Public Record Office, the name the institution held for 167 years. And the PRO is the memory bank of England. If you seek the whos, whats, whens and wheres of British history, then look in old newspapers, encyclopedias or in children's textbooks. For the hows and whys, consult the PRO: motivations, fears, embarrassments, ambitions. They are all there, waiting to be found in that endless shelving.
It is a depressing story indeed.... (Thanks to I.H.D. for the link.)

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