Shelving Books

Scu at Critical Animal asks about shelving books. It reminded me of Walter Benjamin’s piece on unpacking his library, which is in Illuminations. I’ve now got so many books that if I don’t organise them I can never find anything.

I have books in two places – my home office and my work office. (The relatively few books I’ve got in the rented flat in London at the moment don’t count.)

At home – three walls are shelved. One wall is Kant/Hegel/Marx/Nietzsche/Husserl/Heidegger/Fink. Heidegger takes up the vast majority of that – the Gesamtausgabe plus nearly all the translations plus loads of secondary literature.

Another wall is Lefebvre and Foucault. Again lots of both – there are only three of Lefebvre’s books that I don’t own, which took a lot of hunting down; plus all of Foucault in French and English. And all of Axelos. The rest of that wall is cds and dictionaries.

The final wall is novels, plus a few books on cricket, music and art. 

At work, a big section on 20th and 21st century theory, filed alphabetically. This includes historians and geographers when I have more than one of their books.

Another section on geography, which includes loads of textbooks, companions etc.

Politics (mainly British domestic), including textbooks. A lot of this is a legacy of previous teaching. And lots of history books. (This section is a mess and needs a better system)

History of political theory and philosophy. This is the fastest growing, given recent research interests. It includes all the Latin and Greek works of historians, poets, etc that I have.

War on terror, contemporary international relations, etc. – a large number of books that I bought while working on Terror and Territory.


Recently acquired books, library books, and other things I need to use.

And finally, a shelf for the books I’ve written, edited, contributed to, and journals I have a piece in.

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2 Responses to Shelving Books

  1. Pingback: Moving house, unpacking my library | Progressive Geographies

  2. Pingback: Building a personal research and teaching library… | Progressive Geographies

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