Thursday, September 27, 2018

Historical Bibliophilia

Hello! Hi there! It's been a while, as I'm once again lost in the pressures of the semester, endless amounts of reading and writing and lesson planning and grading... while still trying to maintain some semblance of normal happy life on the home front.

But I just had to steal some time tonight to stop by and tell you about this class I'm taking. Actually, both of the classes I'm taking this semester are beyond interesting and this is quite possibly the most enjoyable semester of coursework I've ever had. But one of my classes is 19th Century British Literature (we are in the middle of reading Emma, and any time Austen is homework is a fantastic time) with a theoretical emphasis on the practice and history of reading. In other words, we are studying what it means to be a book reader. What it means to be a book lover.

It's basically my favorite class ever.

While I would love to sit and rehash everything we talk about in that class here with you guys, I don't quite have the time. But talking about all things book-lover related has made me feel itchy to stop by and drop a line in this space, my book-loving space. And so, while I don't have time right now to compose anything original, I just want to share an excerpt from one of our earlier readings, just because I felt like many of you might be able to relate. This comes from an essay written by Leigh Hunt (you may or may not know him as a friend to such Romantic poets as John Keats) in 1823.

"Sitting, last winter, among my books, and walled round with all the comfort and protection which they and my fire-side could afford me; to wit, a table of high-piled books at my back, my writing-desk on one side of me, some shelves on the other, and the feeling of the warm fire at my feet; I began to consider how I loved the authors of those books: how I loved them, too, not only for the imaginative pleasures they afford me, but for their making me love the very books themselves, and delight to be in contact with them. I looked sideways at my Spenser, my Theocritus, and my Arabian Nights; then on my left side at my Chaucer, who lay on a writing-desk; and thought how natural it was in C.L. to give a kiss to an old folio, as I once saw him do to Chapman's Homer." (You can read the rest of the essay here, should you feel so inclined.)

You guys, book loving people have been around for a long time. And they truly are the best people. Feel free to go and kiss a book now.

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