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Member: antiquary

CollectionsYour library (7,255)

Reviews2,221 reviews

Tagsmodern literature (1,366), English literature (1,318), nineteenth century (1,094), American literature (852), medieval history (784), poetry (747), medieval literature (564), modern history (532), religious history (523), renaissance (481) — see all tags

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About meI am an English and history professor at a small college. I have an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in medieval studies, both history and literature. My published scholarship is chiefly in late medieval English history. My parents were both English professors; my mother's specialty was Chaucer, my father's
18-19th century literature, but he was a Latin major as an
undergraduate and retained a lifelong interest in ancient history and literature. My mother's father and mother were also college professors; her father taught philosophy and her mother French and Spanish. Thus I inherited most of 3 generations of scholarly books. I did not retain all of them; in particular I did not keep a large part of my parents' holdings in post-1700 English and American writing (which I now regret), but I do retain almost everything they had relating to periods before 1700. I have now added about 30 years of collecting of my own. Besides adding more pre-modern European material, I have expanded significantly into Asian material as I spent two years teaching in Korea and visited Japan and China. I have now cataloged virtually all the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean material. I have also cataloged my much more limited and random holdings in Middle Eastern and other Asian/African material.
I also have very large holdings in mysteries (inherited from my parents and added on my own)and science fiction/fantasy (inherited from my father and
added substantially on my own.) These I plan to catalog only after I have completed cataloging the more serious material, but I cataloged a small part of them when I first joined this site. The only significant part of that material I have so far cataloged is the Inklings material.


About my libraryRecently my regular cataloging has been interrupted by a salvage operation. The university where I teach decided to get rid of roughly half its library. I was tasked with deciding what to keep in most of the history and literature sections and allowed to keep books that were discarded, so lately I have been taking and cataloging books not needed by the library which were of interest to me. This process is now essentially complete and I have returned to cataloging my other holdings.

I have divided my "ancient" books into "ancient history" and "ancient literature," and put ancient books of primarily literary interest in the latter category. Some books of both historical and literary interest are double-tagged. I use the headings "Greece" and "Rome" to include both historical and literary materials in those areas. I do not use the term "Classics" which is the traditional term for much of this material, simply because the term has so many other meanings.

In theory "religion" tags represent material discussing
primarily current forms of religions, "religious literature" is material having literary as well as religious interest, and "religious history" is material
on pre-modern forms of religions, but the tagging is not
entirely consistent. I have also been inconsistent on
whether to tag all Christian-related materials "Christian"
in addition to more specific headings such as "Catholic"
"Anglican" "Eastern Orthodox" "Presbyterian" "Lutheran"
etc. In theory, all such material should be tagged with both Christian and a subtopic but that is not true yet.
I rarely use "Protestant" as a tag as I find more significance in some distinctions among Protestant groups than in "Protestant" as a generic category. I also use "Christian" for material I find relevant to the faith as a whole, rather than any particular subgroup. Some might disagree on assignments of particular books in this category. Material used by both Jewish and Christian traditions tends to be tagged "Christian" if prepared for the use of Christians
(e.g.some versions of Psalms, some discussions of other
parts of the Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures).
Books on eastern religions are usually tagged geographically (China, Japan, India, etc.) as well as with the "religion," "religious literature" and "religious history" tags.
Until recently, I cataloged "British medieval history" separately from "medieval history" but I have now made "British medieval history" a subcategory of "medieval history" because I felt otherwise it gave an unrealistic impression of my holdings.

I have now cataloged virtually all my holdings in English literature . Note that currently
"English literature" only refers to post-1500 literature.
Old English literature (c. 700-1100) is tagged as "medieval literature, Old English" and Middle English literature (c. 1100-1500) is tagged as "medieval literature, Middle English." English literature 1500-1600 is tagged "English literature, renaissance" English literature roughly 1600
to 1800 is tagged "English literature, early modern." There is a grey area in early Jacobean literature, as writers active before 1603 (e.g. Shakespeare) are cataloged "renaissance" even if they wrote into James I's reign. I have not been consistent about the tag "criticism," but eventually I hope to add that tag to critical works. As yet, both writers of a period and scholars writing about those writers tend to share the same tags. Hence writers about Shakespeare are tagged "English literature, renaissance, drama, Shakespeare" as are Shakespeare's plays. I have now cataloged about all my serious English literature down through the modern era. Again, there are borderline issues for writers who began in the 1700s and wrote into the 1800s; my choice of where to put some of them is arbitrary, and the same is true of the 1800s/1900s boundary. Those after 1900 are cataloged as "modern" as are some in the late nineteenth century who are seen as forerunners of the modernist movement.

When I cataloged my Asian books, I was not consistent about using temporal tags ("ancient" or "medieval" or "early modern" ) though most of the modern Asian material is labelled modern. I have usually tried to tag Chinese and Japanese works with dynastic or reign names (e.g Tang. Showa) but in some cases they may not be accurate as I was working from memory. In particular, I think I may have tagged some Taisho material as Meiji or Showa. I will try to make corrections as time permits. I should also apologize
to those who read Korean for my very clumsy transcription of
Korean-language names and titles in my Korean collection.
When I was in Korea (1987 - 88), there was a transition from
an older to a newer transcription system; I learned the older one and use it to the best of my recollection, though my own opinion is that the newer system more accurately reflected the pronunciation of Korean as I heard it in Taegu/Daegu. Even my application of the older system is not exact, as I am not allowing for a number of diacritical marks on vowels, or for the fact that some letters are conventionally transcribed one way (e.g. k) in some positions and another way (e.g. g) in others.

GroupsAncient China, Kingdom of AEthelmearc, West Virginians

Favorite authorsG.K. Chesterton, Rudyard Kipling, C. S. Lewis, Fletcher Pratt, J. R. R. Tolkien (Shared favorites)

Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

LocationWest Virginia, USA

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs http://www.librarything.com/profile/antiquary (profile)
http://www.librarything.com/catalog/antiquary (library)

Member sinceJun 18, 2007

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Comments

I just looked on amazon and found a good description of The Dragon and the Book...not autobiographical!
I just read your review of The Dragon and the Book by Christine Price. Is the book autobiographical? I have a number of books written and or illustrated by her, but hadn't heard of that one.
It'll be interesting to see how many books we share once you've catalogued your mysteries although I must admit that it is those of your shelves that are dedicated to medieval history or the renaissance that I find so attractive. In fact we probably have a small number of these in common as well, as so far I've only catalogued those books which I've read or recently bought. I'm yet to catalogue a number of history book either bought by me when I was a young history student, or by my late dad who was also a historian. He also had a taste for mysteries so there's quite a collection of crime stories published in the 1950s. They are all pre-ISBN and for this reason I find the task of cataloguing them rather daunting.
I have a question about your title "Big Book of Graustark Romances." Is this an ebook version? Which stories are included? I'm cleaning up the series entries and will do a "contained in" entry as needed. Thanks! Ruth
Greetings, a fascinating story obvious you are a serious collector. I see we share a good many books, and wonderful to inherit collections. be interrested in your current reading. I find reading life is a balance between serious reading and the lighter type Good luck
The Falco books are certainly great. There are so few series that can really stay interesting over so many books. I found your profile here because you've read [Thunder in the Mountains] (the mine wars have been my pet subject for a number of years).

I feel for you in terms of having to go through and excise large parts of a university library. My dad is a university librarian and is doing the same there, which is wonderful for me. He brings me all the interesting/odd/old books he wants to keep but doesn't have room for.
Thanks for the tip. I'll have a look at it, as it brings together two of my interests...
I read almost all Sayers' mysteries years ago (apparently not including Whose Body?), and especially remember being disappointed with the one about their marriage. Dorothy was more of a militant feminist than I am. My taste in mysteries has changed inexplicably through the years, from compulsive reading of Agatha Christie to the very gritty recent police procedurals coming out of Los Angeles (I'm a former Californian). Generally, I avoid reading fiction, greatly preferring biography (a better story every time).
I recently bought Sayers' Whose Body? because it was the first in the series, and was disappointed to find that Harriet Vane had not yet been introduced. Whose Body? struck me as very much like Wodehouse. I haven't finished it yet.

Churchill is my great favorite. Have you read My Early Life? It is said to be his best writing. I would also recommend Roy Jenkins' biography. It is much more trustworthy than the popular William Manchester biography.
Looking at it again, I have to agree on all counts. I don't know why I have such a soft spot for religious conspiracy theory / pseudoscholarship. I keep trying to purge the things from my collection, and keep re-picking them up at library book sales for $1 each.
HBHG is crazy, but it founded a whole genre of religious conspiracy theory. The writing's not too bad, and the idea, however erroneous, is interesting. For that, it's a book I don't begrudge existing, and that means 3 stars from me.
FYI
I have uploaded a cover for Death of an Army: The Siege of Kut, 1915–1916 by Ronald Millar.
Hi,

I just finished "Journey to the Missouri" and it blew my mind. I can't find very many other people who read it. Absolutely fascinating to be transported to the inner discussions of high ranking Japanese military figures in critical periods in WWII.

What did you think of it? Know anyone else who read it?

Regards,
David
Your scholarship sounds fascinating, especially the angle on witchcraft and women in late medieval culture. It seems (from your description) that your work is quite interdisciplinary and encompassing of multiple approaches--a facet of medieval studies that I particularly love and try to incorporate in my own research. Thanks for the reply.
You're right that people wouldn't have kept copying and reading and glossing the prophecies if they didn't believe in them, so this becomes the central question of my dissertation. I think it's revealing that prophecies are more likely to occur in manuscripts with religious texts than with historical texts. To me, that says that these prophecies were read figuratively or even eschatologically (even the political ones), not as actual predictions of what will happen. Your analogy to astrology is an apt one - I know lots of people who read horoscopes, but don't necessarily "believe" in them. It's more of a game, or a search for reassurance and patterns in an otherwise random world. The political prophecies weren't so much a prediction of the future as they were a commentary on the present. You could be charged of treason for saying the king is bad and you wish someone would kick him off the throne (technically - it didn't actually happen very often), but you couldn't get in trouble for saying "Merlin says Arthur (or Richard II or Owain Glyndwr) is going to come back and get rid of the usurper who's on the throne now" - if Merlin says it, you're safe from blame (although there was an act of Parliament in 1402 banning Welsh poets from prophesying). I guess "belief" has many different levels: they didn't believe in the prophecies literally, but certainly felt the prophecies had some truths to offer.
I hope you'll pardon my belated reply to your belated reply. :) You have quite a fascinating library, and you're doing an amazing job of cataloging it.

The Welsh prophecies are quite fascinating. I'm also looking at Bridlington - his prophecy shows up in some of the Welsh manuscripts I'm studying. I'm comparing English prophecies and the English reception of prophecies to the Welsh. So far, one of the really fascinating things I've realized is that the English talk about how the Welsh are weird for believing in prophecies (even outlawing Welsh prophecies in the wake of the Glyndwr rebellion), and yet the English are reading and copying some of the exact same prophecies. It gets even more interesting when you see that the French often speak derisively of the English love of prophecy. I have surmised from this that no one really believed in any of these political prophecies, but that accusing other people of believing in them is a great way to discredit them.

I continue to watch your library with interest!
For working for 30 years, you have a very nice library represented here. Also, the genealogy of professors preceding you in your family is impressive, and, as you note, adding a good deal to your library. It's quite interesting to peruse through both the books we share in our collections as well as the vast amount of others you own.

You mention your work "is chiefly in late medieval English history"--on what, specifically, does your work focus?
Dear Antiquary: It was helpful to see how you tag your books ... the distinctions that you make. We share thirty books. My favorites in the list are "Marco Polo", "Pilgrim's Progress", "Medieval English Verse", "Patrick in His Own Words", and "Beowulf". Let me recommend "Medieval English Lyrics 1200-1400", a Penguin Classic (ISBN: 0-14-043443-7). My wife and I live in a condo, so I am challenged trying to find room for a tenth of what you have. Sometime I will have to come back an browse your library. YangGuy
I must admit that I am quite impressed by your "only" Scandinavian effort! I wish I had more skills and patience myself, so I could dive into some beautiful old languages. Oh well, I will have to stick to my Norwegian translations. My interest in the Middle Ages is quite new by the way, as is my overall reading interest actually, so I expect to find a lot of inspiration in your well-stocked library. :)
Saw your Tarn review, and agree. Have you read one of the biographies not in your library. I find Fuller old-fashioned and amateurish; Wilken just isn't as interesting as Green or Fox. What do you look to?
really interesting library you have here, I think I am going to spend a lot of time perusing your medieval holdings.
That's what a library is for, as I remember spending almost every day there as a kid. You might want to put in a request there for the Art of War book. Thank you for your interest. Sincerely, Thomas
Hello antiquary, thank you for connecting with me. I noticed you're in the Ancient China group -- you might be interested in my new book, "The Art of War -- Spirituality for Conflict." Let me know if you have questions. Sincerely, Thomas
My main problem is that I have chosen not to have an internet connection (or a tv) in my house so uploading my 'serious' books entails bringing an armful at a time to my 'office in the garden'. The other problem I have encountered is that I want to read each and every volume - as if I had never set eyes on them before. Also, I think I am being too simplistic with my 'tags' and may have to change them later.

Do you enjoy your trips to London? I moved here from London four years ago and return every four or five weeks for research etc at the BL and London Library.

I must say that I drool at the thought of your books - how wonderful that many have been passed to you from your parents. What a marvelous gift.
Yes, we do share an interest in English and European history. At least, that was a focus of interest at one point in time. Though the percentage of books shared in February reflects more that we started entering books at the left end of our library, and the books are arranged topically.
Only about 20 to 25% of our books are entered, so far.
I commend your accuracy in correcting humanis! I got stuck into the whole Eistenstein debate myself (in a tiny way, with a masters thesis and then a couple of articles) and I have to say that it had got quite heated at the time (though not on my part). I had the honour of being taught as an undergraduate by Martin Lowry (a biographer of Aldus Manutius, I'm always on the look-out for good value copies of his books, Lowry that is , not manutius, I'm a lowly retailer and not yet a millionaire).

Oh and thanks for all your comments on how you catalogue your titles, its fantastic to have the benefit of that experience (and it sets my mind at rest that by correcting Amazon.com listings I am not wasting my time, but that it is a sensible method of cataloguing). I'm about to embark on the rest of my library when I get some spare time over the Christmas period, so I hope items appear that are of interest to you maybe.
I've only just joined Librarything and it was very nice to see such an array of different medieval tags in your library, it gave me great encouragement! And I was fairly surprised to find another library containing both the Cely Letters and Caxton's Own Prose..., but I guess since 23 million books have been posted now, it was only a matter of time. My professional historical interest, such as it is, is in English diplomatic history from the 1450s to 1485, the subject of my PhD. But I continue a side interest in Renaissance Italy and the spread of printing (hence Caxton's own Prose). I have yet to catalogue the majority of my history books,for the last six years my time has been spent selling books with Borders so my cataloguing time is a rare luxury. One thing though, I notice that the majority of your cataloguing data comes from Amazon.com. I found that occasionally their data was unreliable and that I have to change title, original publication dates etc, mainly with the obscurer academic stuff I found that the Oxford Library feed was more accurate, but maybe it's just me. What's your advice on the best data feeds?
Now all we have to do is get the rest of us to catalog their books. This makes it so much easier than the spread sheet I was starting, and stopping and starting again. ;) Hope to see you soon and I'll let you know how the trip to China goes when I get back.
Honnoria
Hello antiquary!
After reading your story, I went to my shelf, took out the oldest book- an 1860's Bible- opened it in the middle of Acts, and with eyes tightly closed, inhaled deeply, and pretended I stood in your library.
Call me a dreamer!
After I did some work on my LT page, I learned that I have a learning disability in some dyslexic form. As it happens, all of my reading is directed toward the left hemisphere of the brain, and the right- being unoccupied- just makes interruptive noises. Thus my memory is highly selective(my wife does not believe me), and short-term memory performs poorly as well(all my former employers DO believe me). Yet, I am a passionate reader, I write decent letters, love history and biographies(of important people), and surround myself with books all day.
It is a pleasure to visit your pages.
Respectfully yours,
Jer
I started as a reader of Tolkien and Lewis's fiction, and worked my way in from there. I can't claim to have read all of the Charles Williams and Owen Barfield on my shelves.
You shouldn't do this to me... I saw your Inklings section and went off on a shopping spree... Thanks anyway! :)
I am looking forward - "in fear and trembling" - to browsing through your Orthodoxy books.
Oh yes, you deserve it, as my envy focuses on the simple fact that you HAVE them !
I have just seen your recently added books on Byzantium... I am envious!
I should also explain that I treat "medieval" in the American sense as running from circa 500 to 1500, "renaissance" in Italy as running from about 1350 to 1600, renaissance in northern Europe as running from about 1500 to 1600, and "early modern" as running from about 1600 to 1800.
I should explain that the tag "ancient history" and its subcategories Greece, Rome, Mespotamia and Egypt include a lot of material that is really ancient literature rather than history as such.
I should also note that the older books
in the ancient category (especially the Greek and Latin texts from circa 1900
in the original languages) belonged to my grandfather, while many of the books
on ancient history from the 1930s through 1960s or so belonged to my father. The personal collection is mostly the books published in the 1960s or later. The British medieval history represents my personal scholarly working library. The medieval literature
in Old and Middle english is largely my mother's working library with some additions of my own.
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