Saturday, August 27

everything looks academic from here

I bought a copy of Field-Tested Books close to a year ago. the great coudal partners was having a deal of some kind, and I was just after a few free fieldnotes notebooks or something. I ordered it, they shipped it, etc. etc... the book and its attendant notebooks came in the mail, I slid them all out of their box, added them respectively to my shelves of books to read someday and of books to write in someday, and have hardly touched them since. except maybe to scribble song lyrics in one of the blank fieldnotes.

that is, until today.

for my Bibliography & Research Methods class, I have a long list of articles to read, nine of which must be finished before our first meeting on Tuesday. the history of books, the history of the writing of books, the history of the production of books, and the history of the study of books... it's all incredibly interesting. I'm starting to look at books in totally new ways.

what I've been reading about how bibliographers attempt to study the reception of published texts reminded me of this book I bought however many months ago. it is, in essence, a neatly compiled catalogue of various specific readings of specific texts, in specific places, by specific people. and since so far I've gathered from my prerequisite readings that studying the receptions of most texts is pretty tricky, I find the idea of these recorded 'field tests' really interesting. normally, people don't keep detailed records of the books they read and when. the only hard data a bibliographer usually has to go on are whatever reviews survive and the general tide of book sales. but this field-tested idea... that's something else. the field tests are not reviews or criticism or analysis of books themselves... they are mini-bibliographic studies. lovely vignettes outlining precisely where the life of a certain book and the life of a certain person have intersected.

so cool.

I'm adding Field-Tested Books to my long list of readings for grad school. it totally fits. and it is about time I actually read some of the books I happen to own, right?

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