I’ve just finished work on an edition of Shakespeare’s Poems for the Annotated English Poets series, so my shelf at home is full of books that I need to consult for that: dictionaries of proverbs; Partridge’s glossary of Shakespeare’s ‘bawdy’ language; intricate explanations of how English was pronounced in Shakespeare’s day; and works that Shakespeare would have known… Arthur Golding’s translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the Geneva Bible, the Book of Common Prayer. Some of the books – not visible here – have been quite literally read to pieces. My copy of Petrarch, edited by Robert Durling; my Riverside Chaucer (admittedly from undergraduate days); John Kerrigan’s Penguin edition of the Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint; A.C. Sprague’s edition of Samuel Daniel’s poems: these now only exist in fragments (time to restock!). I’m now starting a new project on dialogue – works written in the form of a conversation – from the late medieval period to the Restoration, so my shelves are starting to collect books for that. The Roman writer and politician, Cicero, was a hugely important influence here (his works were at the core of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century school curriculum). You can see the distinctive red spine of a Loeb – Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations – at the far end of the shelf.