Saturday, 28 July 2007

Pausing, then Effecting

A quick visit to my local secondhand bookshop ended up a bit of a crisis of hyperventilation and overspending. The usual story. One of the retiring dons has off-loaded some of his books, and he had a research interest in good stuff, like Chaucer. This means that there were many things I wanted. I had to make three piles in the end. The stuff I couldn't live without. The stuff I could live without for today (but no guarantees about tomorrow). And the stuff I know I'll regret not buying. (That's usually as good as it gets, I'm afraid). In the end I think that I was exemplary in my restraint and good judgment. First to call out to me was M.B. Parkes' Pause and Effect: Punctuation in the West (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1992). A hard to find book, very competitively priced (£20). That was the little gem. Something I've used, and coveted, and wanted to own for a long time. The rest was all criticism I don't own but have read (with varying degrees of attentiveness). Owning them now and having them on my shelf obviously means I can return to them in my own time and ruminate. (That's the justification). Jill Mann, Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire (CUP, 1973); David Aers, Chaucer, Langland and the Creative Imagination (RKP, 1980), and very serendipitously Derek Pearsall, The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer: A Critical Biography (Blackwell, 1992). Super stuff. A very happy bunny.

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