Books Section |
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In this Books section, I began with the aim of building an archive of pieces selected from some of my books that were out of print. When I began loading pieces from my collections of TV criticism, however, the potentially crippling idea hit me of assembling all three collections in their entirety. There being no simple and reliable system of scanning, this meant an immense work-load, which was first undertaken by Cecile Menon and now continues under the supervision of Henriette Guthauser and Dawn Mancer. If the TV criticism collections are ever complete, I will try to turn the same effort to some of the other out-of-print essay collections, a few of which — the earlier ones — are here already in representative sample, but several of which are not yet here at all. In the Current Books section, I concentrate on fielding the critical responses to my more recent books as they come out, just in case the discussion proves illuminating. In the case of Cultural Amnesia, some of the critical discussion was at least as illuminating as the book, so I think I can be forgiven for holding the process of citation to be worthwhile. I have left out the complete dunces but quite a lot of adverse comment is left in.  

No doubt, while this work goes forward, there will be technical innovations — some of them already exist, in prototype form — that will render it all unnecessary. (The reader will be able to order a bound print-out of an otherwise lost book at the touch of a button, for example.) But most of my books are made up of individual pieces which I would like to go on illustrating and annotating for as long as I can, and to do that it helps to have the pieces laid out separately. I suppose the eventual aim is to have, arranged in this one place, all the thousands of components making up a lifetime that has been marked, almost year by year, by the publication of a book, so that this whole section can be experienced as a single thing, but a single thing only in the sense that a galaxy is a single thing, when seen from a distance.