Saturday, April 09, 2005

An Anticlimax

Another shipment of books from amazon.com arrived this morning. Among them was The Libertine Reader from Zone Books, an anthology of 18th-century French literature. Some years ago I already bought The Decadent Reader, an anthology of late 19th-century French literature, also published by Zone Books.

Well, the flaps of these readers say: “Zone Readers are edited by” such-and-such people. So I figured there may be more than these two books, and since these two seem so fascinating (I haven't had the time to read much from them yet, unfortunately) it seemed reasonable to look at the other ones.

So I sent off a query to amazon and ABE for books with “Reader” in the title and “Zone” in the publisher's name, and guess what? The only Zone Reader besides the two already mentioned is The Vienna School Reader: Politics and Art Historical Method in the 1930s. What a disappointment.

I know, I know. It could be worse. When I saw the title “Vienna School”, my first thought was of those loathsome free-market fundamentalists usually known as the Austrian school of economics. My second thought was that it would be about Wittgenstein and his chums, who perhaps weren't quite so bad (it's difficult to be quite so bad as a free-market economist, after all), but who nevertheless in all probability didn't produce anything I could find both interesting and intelligible.

Well, so much for Zone Readers, I guess.

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