You already know I’ve been working with a graphic designer to complete my Dante catalogue. After having to scan the covers of 66 books (twice!) and then research, price, and write descriptions for an additional 10 books, I finally turned over everything she needs to the designer yesterday. She says she’ll need two weeks to show me a complete draft. (She’s juggling my project with some others.)
Despite the slow pace, it was a good feeling, a feeling of progress being made. A feeling of satisfaction.
The very next evening, I discovered something I’d missed — I found a bibliography of Dante in English about which I hadn’t previously known. To my knowledge, there are only a handful of bibliographies that cover editions of Dante printed in English, and most of them are just printed library catalogues. Most Dante bibliographies I’ve seen focus on the older, mostly Italian editions of Dante. One reason I picked illustrated and unusual editions of Dante from the past 300 years for the subject of my first catalogue is that I thought it would be fun and challenging to have to do my own research. That is to say, I wanted to rely on sources other than or in addition to bibliography. I knew that doing so would help hone my bookseller research skills. I spent a huge amount of time researching editions of Dante from the past three centuries. I like research, and other than the fact that I’d like to get my catalogue finished, I could happily spend days (and did) doing research. Late the other night, I was reading Nick Havely’s Dante, and when I referred to one of the book’s endnotes, I discovered this bibliography of Dante in English. Despite having spent two years on this project, I hadn’t heard of it before. I hadn’t seen it referenced online or in any other books.
It was a bittersweet feeling to discover this heretofore unknown bibliography. Bitter because I have a feeling it could have saved me a lot of work. Sweet because I suspect the bibliography will help me to fact-check my own research. Of course, some bibliographies are merely checklists and not especially useful when it comes to research. This might be one of those. Or it might not.
Of course, I can’t find any copies of the bibliography for sale online at the moment, but the a public library has a copy.
Of course, that library is 30 miles from my house.
Of course, I have other commitments this week and this weekend and I can’t get to the library until the middle of next week.
But you can bet that I’m going to check out that bibliography even if it means I have to make changes to the catalogue.
See you at the library!