As an update to my Return to Books, I thought I would mention some packages of joy I received in the mail yesterday. In the earlier post, I wrote that I had been sadly forced to pass up a couple of titles that caught my eye at Books at Cummin Station in Nashville. First of all, the ever-opportunistic Maximus Greeson decided to take advantage of my misfortune to go grab one of those titles for himself, inducing me to go online and find an even cheaper copy to order immediately.
As many readers may know, questions about ethics in, of, and around literature are particularly interesting to me. A recent reference to Wayne C. Booth’s The Company We Keep: An Ethics of Fiction  (Berkeley, CA: U of CA, 1988), the location of which reference I have unfortunately forgotten, had me thinking again how much I would like a copy of that book. According to Martha Nussbaum’s blurb:
In this rich and fine book, Wayne Booth...makes out a compelling case for the coherence and the importance of ethical criticism. And he does this with a vigor and openness of engagement that remind readers constantly of their own experiences of literary absorption and delight....It is to be recommended warmly to anyone with a concern for the rôle played by the humanities, and by the interpretation of texts, in our public culture.
I have previously benefited from dipping into (not to say reading through!) Booth’s Modern Dogma & the Rhetoric of Ascent and The Rhetoric of Fiction, and am looking forward to partaking of this one as well. The other title that slipped through my fingers was Northrop Frye’s The Great Code: The Bible & Literature (NY: HBJ, 1982). Very shortly after posting about that week’s book experiences, I received an e-mail from Dale Nelson kindly offering to send his old copy of Frye, which he thought he would likely never get round to reading. Inside was a photocopy of ‘An Appreciation of Northrop Frye’s The Great Code’ by John F.X. Sheehan, SJ, who writes, ‘Northrop Frye may be the last educated man. He has written a truly remarkable book. Its erudition is staggering, but forgivable, as it comes to us through the medium of extremely graceful English.’ 
 The title is echoed by the title of a study of the literary influence among the Inklings by the charming and learned Diana Pavlac Glyer—The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community (Kent, OH: Kent State, 2008). I have not read the book, but I saw Glyer give a wonderful lecture that presented some of the ideas.
 John F.X. Sheehan, SJ, ‘An Appreciation of Northrop Frye’s The Great Code’, Renascence 3 (Spring 1983), p. 203.