Unread

Books I Own but have not Read: 2

Second in a series on the unread books on my teeming shelves.

The Cambridge Book of Lesser Poets (1927) is probably the least auspicious title on my small shelf of clothbound anthologies.
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And deliberately so. Its editor J. C. Squire deliberately contrasts it with Quiller-Couch’s Oxford Book of English Verse or Palgrave’s Golden Treasury. Those were the Norton Anthologies of their day: the canon of recognized poetic genius and all that, the most widely admired and recited poems.

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Books I Own, But Have not Read: 1

First in a series

This will come as a shock, no doubt: as an academic, I own some books that I have not read.

There, I said it. Admitting you have a problem, they say, is the first step to fixing it. But what if you have no intention or desire to fix it? What if it’s more a chronic condition than a problem?

My condition is that mix of bibliophilia and ambition that leads me to buy books to complete a set, fill out a series, extend an aesthetic line, and keep each other company. Sure, it’s object fetishism – but that’s justified easily enough. I tell myself that many of these books contain knowledge I might someday read, consult, cite, or peruse. Might is the operative, delusional word there – as if I have to own something to read it.

Let’s put aside the books that are part of my working library, the ones I use for teaching and research. Consider instead this specimen:

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