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May 17th, 2007

Books, Books, and More Books

The first thing I have to say is that I cannot keep all my research books. I just can't. I don't have shelf space, I'm not going to have shelf space, and if I just bung them in storage, I won't be able to get to them any better than if I get rid of them. So somebody else--preferably a grad student in Elizabethan Studies with a concentration in Tudor Prose and non-Shakespearean drama--should get the use of them. Right. We've got that clear.

Now. Which books shall I keep?

Some of it's obvious. There's one Machiavelli with all the writings, so I can get rid of The Prince. The chances of my ever needing anything that's purely critical (except maybe Frye) are slender to vanishing. I can lay those aside without a qualm. But what about the primary references? What about Henslowe's Diary? What about Chamber's Elizabethan Theatre? What (for heaven's sake) about all four volumes of the complete Lisle Letters?

I'm not going to write an Elizabethan Theatre novel. I'm not. I'm not. I'm not. They've been done to death, I don't have an idea, there's the language problem, I've got three 19th-early 20th c. French novels lined up for when I've got time to work on adult stuff again. Nope. Elizabethan Theatre Novel won't happen. In fact, Elizabethan anything novel won't happen. Almost certainly. Probably. So what do I need Henslowe for? Or Chambers? Or Harbage? Or a scholarly edition of The Fair Maid of Fressingford? Ditto Ralph Roister-Doister? It's not like they're good plays or anything. I haven't read them since I handed in my dissertation in 1981, and don't expect to read them again. OK, I'll get rid of Ralph Roister-Doister and his ilk. No problem.

I'm so glad we had this little talk.

This leaves me, of course with 6 more boxes of similar decisions to make. And that's just the Elizabethan stuff. There's 8 boxes of books on the French Revolution and French Social History I haven't even thought about. And I am going to write about France again, just not the 18th century. Do I really need Louis XIV and 40,000 Frenchmen?


Any grad students out there with a wish list? Free to good homes. Really. It won't be so bad if I know they'll be loved and used.


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