Friday, December 08, 2006

Book finds in Madrid

I did more than buy books in Madrid - it was wholly incidental to a rather enjoyable week - but the Pooter in me dictates that the purchase of these libros should be recorded. So in a cluttered second-hand bookshop in the La Latina neighbourhood, I came across three old Oxford University Press paperbacks all formerly owned by one Andres Ramiro, who bought them in 1971, probably in Lisbon. 'Five Pre-Shakespearean Comedies' and 'Five Elizabeathan Tragedies' caught my eye because they contained some of the first plays I studied in the rather ambiguously titled and long since defunct 'Drama to Marlowe' course in Trinity. 'Ralph Roister Doister', 'Gammer Gurton's Needle', 'The Spanish Tragedy' and 'Arden of Faversham', which is reputed to be the first work of detective fiction in English literature, evoke a particular moment -namely the winter of 1993- even though I barely understood them at the time and would no doubt struggle with them again now. They do furnish a room though. As will 'The Italian' by Gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe, picture above, whose 'Romance of the Forest' was featured in a course I studied on literary responses to the French Revolution.

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