Friday, September 23, 2005

Collections within the Collection

Inspired by Bookworld (who was in turn inspired by Golden Rule Jones), I’m posting a list of collections (four or more books by or about the same author) within my book collection. My list definitely doesn’t provide an accurate reflection of my literary enthusiasms. As Golden Rule Jones notes of his own list, the parameters of the exercise dictate that favourite authors who wrote only one or two books are left out. As well, because of limited cash and shelf space, I have often immersed myself in the work of a favourite author courtesy of the library. For example, like Bookworld, I read a lot of Thomas Hardy as a teenager but since I checked his novels out of the library rather than buying them, Hardy makes only a token appearance on my bookshelf. There are also some authors listed here whose work I am no longer particularly keen on, but even then I have a great deal of trouble letting books go. Finally, the single author focus means that my fabulous collections relating to groups of writers (the Beats, the New York School poets, the Lost Generation, the Bloomsbury group) are barely represented here.

That said, here’s my list:

Lucy Maud Montgomery - 34
Enid Blyton - 20
Maud Hart Lovelace - 16
Margaret Atwood - 11
C.S. Lewis - 11
L. Frank Baum - 10
Michel Foucault - 10
H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) - 9
P.L. Travers - 9
Laura Ingalls Wilder - 9
Madeleine L’Engle - 8
E. Nesbit - 8
Virginia Woolf - 8
Susan Cooper - 7
Lorna Crozier - 7
Elizabeth Enright - 7
J.R. Tolkien - 7
Beverly Cleary - 6
Robertson Davies - 6
Mary McCarthy - 6
Sylvia Plath - 6
J.K. Rowling - 6
Louisa May Alcott - 5
Lloyd Alexander - 5
Sigmund Freud - 5
Margaret Laurence - 5
Edna St. Vincent Millay - 5
Anais Nin - 5
Robert Louis Stevenson - 5
Noel Streatfield - 5
Kay Boyle - 4
Di Brandt - 4
Elizabeth Barrett Browning - 4
Emily Dickinson - 4
Carl Jung - 4
Don Kerr - 4
Patrick Lane - 4
Robert Lowell - 4
Dorothy Parker - 4
Jean Rhys - 4
Stuart Ross - 4
Delmore Schwartz - 4

I’m not surprised by the number of children’s authors who appear on the list. I’ve made it a project recently to acquire copies of my childhood favourites and many of those are series of books. I am surprised by the fact that, within the adult books, poets keep pace with fiction writers. There are only a few theorists, but that's because most of my theory books are in my office at work and so aren't included in this tally. Golden Rule Jones and This Space both comment on the dearth of women authors on their lists. My list tilts decidedly in the other direction with twenty-eight women out of a list of forty-two.

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