Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Thursday, October 29, 2009

ten books I really wish I had time to re-read

Mostly history-of-ideas kinds of things. Some of these I can barely remember reading. In more-or-less historical order by subject:
  • Eric Havelock, Preface to Plato
  • Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy
  • Jean LeClerq, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God
  • Johan Huizenga, The Autumn of the Middle Ages
  • Frances Yates, The Art of Memory
  • Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World
  • Diarmaid MacCullouch, Thomas Cranmer
  • Maynard Mack, Alexander Pope
  • Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason
  • Walker Percy, The Message in the Bottle


  • Alan, seriously, reread The Message in the Bottle. Just start with the second essay, "The Loss of the Creature." It was like revelation to me when I first read it a year ago, and it has only seemed steadily more so since then.

  • Agreed on "The Loss of the Creature." I have taught it many, many times over the years, so I know it well — but the rest of the collection has grown vague in my memory. (Except "The Delta Factor.")

  • Also, Ari, if you haven't read Lost in the Cosmos, make sure you do so ASAP. Everything that's great about "The Loss of the Creature," cubed. Or so sez me.

  • Scott G Howard said...

    One explanation down. Why the others? I'd love to hear.

  • Glad we're of like mind about "The Loss of the Creature." Also very worthwhile from that collection are "The Man on the Train," "The Symbolic Structure of Interpersonal Process," "Culture: Antinomy of the Scientific Method," which go further into some of the issues of "Loss" and tie them together into a larger theory.

    Thanks for the tip on Lost in the Cosmos. It's on my shelf and very high on my to-read list, as is Signposts in a Strange Land. The rest of the Percy bibliography is not far behind...

  • Scott, I don't believe I explained anything. I don't do explanations. I am an international man of mystery.

  • By the way, I did read Lost in the Cosmos and you were right and then some. Incredible stuff. (And I'm not even Catholic...)

  • Relatedly, I revisited Message recently and would also highly recommend the titular essay.

Post a Comment

[Basic HTML tags can be used in this comment field.]