Saturday, 01 April 2006

Temporary Comment Section for "The Best Introduction To . . . " Updated! [Please see this post for the updated version of the list.] It all started when I was an undergraduate. One morning I woke up and decided to read a general history of every single American state. I made it through four or five before tiring of the genre. At the time I wish I had a list of the best history of each state. I asked a history professor of mine if such a list existed and was informed that not only did no list exist, but that the labor required to create one would boggled his imagination. Needless to say, all of this happened when the WWW was in its infancy and blogs but a twinkle in its eye. I thought perhaps I could cull a decent one from Wikipedia entries, but a cursory examination of topics upon which I have some expertise revealed that those references are of dubious quality. Then I thought: I can start a movement. So I sent Ralph an email about the state history project. (About ten minutes ago. Some nerve he has, not replying yet.) But I can start a little something here. My choice of both category and best book concerning it is intended as a way to begin the discussion. I can only work with what I've read. (Some areas I've read around in but can't think of a qualifier for "best introduction.") This project has the possibility to demonstrate the real strength of the distributive intelligence review process. Please suggest additional categories and alternative selections, as my list is no way authoritative or exhaustive. I also want to avoid "representative" works, i.e. the best introduction to psychoanalysis being The Interpretation of Dreams. I want books which cover a wider swath than a single work by a representative figure can. Note: All categories and/or periods contain all the problems inherent to categorization and periodization. I also imagine that there must be a better way to organize this list, as this somewhat chronological organization seems unwieldy. I expect many edits to both the body of this post and the substance of the list. Literature or Literary Theory: Homeric: The Best of the Achaeans, Gregory Nagy Presocratic: Aristotelian: Platonic: Images of Excellence , Christopher Janaway Horatian: Augustinian: Patristic: Anglo-Saxon: Early Medieval: Twelfth Century Renaissance: The Envy of Angels: Cathedral Schools and Social Ideals in Medieval Europe, 950-1200 , C. Stephen Jaeger Medieval: The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature , David Wallace, ed. Late Medieval: Hochon's Arrow , Paul Strohm Italian Renaissance: Early Modern: English Renaissance: Renaissance Self-Fashioning : From More to Shakespeare , Stephen Greenblatt Elizabethan: Jacobean: Caroline: Commonwealth Period: Writing the English Republic : Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics, 1627-1660 , David Norbrook Metaphyiscal Poetry: Neoclassical: Enlightenment: Age of Johnson: Early American: Captivity Narratives: Restoration: Augustun: Revolutionary American: Revolution and the Word , Cathy Davidson Romantic: Gothic: Picaresque: Antebellum American: Pre-Raphaelite: Victorian: The Victorian Frame of Mind, Walter Houghton American Civil War: Patriotic Gore: Studies in the American Civil War ,...

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