Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Life Before Persephone

What joy to finally get hold of a copy of Persephone Books' founder Nicola Beauman's long out of print 1983 book "A Very Great Profession: The Women's Novel 1914-1939" after tracking down an affordable copy second-hand on Amazon. The book arrived yesterday, complete with slightly crinkled pages and the musty smell of bookshelves. And, more importantly, complete with such a comprehensive index that I spent so long devouring the contents from back to front, that I didn't get a chance to read beyond the introduction.

I know that this is one book that I shall really enjoy dipping in and out of for as long as possible. As I'm already making plans to base my thesis on a Persephone-related topic, this will prove an indispensible starting point for research. (Unfortunately, this might be time-consuming as I've got a bit book-buying happy lately, and currently stacked up on the bedside table, alongside "A Very Great Profession", are Simon Reynolds' genius 500 page post-punk Scritti ode "Rip It Up And Start Again" - so highly recommended; Benjamin Hoff's "The Tao Of Pooh" - gently insightful; Barbara Comyns' "Our Spoons Came From Woolworths" - yet to start, but I am a keen fan of books that include Woolworths in the title; and Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses" - I'm slowly trying to get my head round the Indian illusions. A trip to Senate House yesterday also saw me appease my Hanif Kureishi fetish - my complete collection of HF books still linger at my Mum's - and bring home the "Sammy And Rosie Get Laid" script and diary, "Dreaming And Scheming" and "The Black Album", which I plan to re-read in the hope of linking it to Scritti's early '80s Gramsci-esque thoery for my next essay. Pretentious? Yes. But I'm entirely consumed by Scritti, and don't be surprised if I find a way to link Scritti and Persephone before long.)

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