Shelfie with Prof. Cathy Shrank

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.

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