Today I have Mostly been packing boxes for My beloved wife. W has been kicked out of her office (which I’m sure we only moved her to 18 months ago) so the admin staff can have a separate office for the photocopier. It feels like we have been productive but it probably hasn’t been the best use of either of our time.
We have packed a dozen or so boxes of academic textbooks to be moved by the porters tomorrow and carried computer equipment upstairs. I have also tried to catalogue more of her remaining books that live at her department… largely computer law, admin textbooks and queer theory books.
It always strikes me how different our fields are;- she gets a lot of textbooks (both because she is a lecturer and because of the particular topics of her teaching and research) and academics bring out new editions of texts all the time in those topics, but for me monographs trickle out, new editions of texts are ten years in the making and textbooks are short on the ground. I think the difference is not simply that the text Classicists work from are comparatively static (some emphasis on comparative is worthwhile however…) but in the mode of teaching. We are not encouraged to memorise facts and figures, even dates can be glossed over if you can remember the basic order things happened, the emphasis of classical teaching both in history and literature is in analysis and contextualisation. This means there are fewer definitive interpretations & accepted norms to form textbooks and that academics don’t want to re-write each others work they want to argue and engage with it.
So… anyway books..lots.