What I'm Reading
A UK newspaper has interviewed me about what books I'm currently reading. I had to change the printed version as they didn't think the great British public would understand the word 'Festschrift' (or be able to look it up). I'm sure you;re better than that, so here's the original.
What book are you reading now?
I'm currently reading (amongst other books) The Chronicles of the Revolution ed. by Chris Given-Wilson. I'm doing this because I'm writing an article to be included in a Festschrift for a Japanese Chaucerian by the name of Toshiyuki Takamiya. My essay is on the dating of two manuscripts of John Gower's Confessio amantis. (He was a contemporary of Chaucer's). The reason I'm interested in dating these manuscript is because they are the only two manuscripts that could possibly be dated before Henry IV usurped Richard II. They are used as an indicator that Richard II was unpopular during his reign, which I don't believe. If I can show that at least one of them dates from after the usurpation, it undermines the idea that he was unpopular.
· What book would you take to a desert island?
The Rupert the Bear Annual for 1946
· What book first gave you the reading bug?
The Rupert Bear Annual for 1946. It was just so full of invention and wonderful stories: Rupert on Coon Island, Rupert and the Blue Mountains - long before George Lukas made Indiana Jones, Alfred Bestall had cars on rails speeding through the middle of mountains and flying across chasms on ropes - Rupert and the Prince of China. I can remember starting school and taking my Rupert Annual with because I was so excited by it. Humour, fantasy and adventure - what more could you want?
· What book left you cold?
John Gower's Confessio amantis. It is so dull and long-winded. Gower never knows when to stop.