Hobgoblin and I just returned from a trip to Manhattan; we spent a lot of time walking around (my feet hurt!) and looked into a couple of bookstores, the Strand and St. Mark’s. Here are the things I brought home:
- Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, edited by William Knight. This is an old book, published in 1930, and it has much of the Grasmere and Alfoxden journals, plus the entire Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland, plus extracts from other later journals. Up till now I’ve owned only the Grasmere and Alfoxden journals, although I’ve read Recollections in a library copy. I’m excited to have more of her work.
- Sidetracks by Richard Holmes. The Strand had a copy of Holmes’s Dr. Johnson and Mr. Savage, but I decided to get that some other time. Sidetracks is a follow-up volume to his book Footsteps, which I read last winter and loved, so I’m excited to find more of the same. Sidetracks is subtitled Explorations of a Romantic Biographer, and it include discussions of a whole bunch of authors including Thomas Chatterton, James Boswell, Percy Shelley, Voltaire, and others.
- Carlyle’s House and Other Sketches by Virginia Woolf (published by Hesperus). I saw this for only $2, so how could I resist? This is what the inside cover says: “Stemming from her own experiences, these sketches offer a precious insight into her thoughts on the society in which she moved — whilst also betraying the passions and prejudices of a troubled genius.”
- Proust’s Way, by Roger Shattuck, subtitled A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time. I didn’t intend to do this, but it turns out that I’m collecting a bunch of books on Proust to read once I’ve finished the novel, including Edmund White’s short biography and Alain de Botton’s How Proust Can Change Your Life. Shattuck’s book looks very good, with a discussion of themes and form, instructions on how to read the book (it’s a little late for that!), critical debates, and more.
- Finally, Essential Keats, poems selected by Philip Levine. In a way this is a foolish purchase, since I probably already own several copies of all the poems the book contains — I own a number of anthologies that include his work. But I don’t like reading from anthologies unless I have to (it feels too much like work reading), and I really want to read some Keats, so a separate, short book with some of the best poems is perfect.