Take Your First Right
Through Minor Elizabethan Drama
"Take your first right through Minor Elizabethan Drama. Comedies will appear on your left and tragedies will be on your right. Keep going past Ralph Raiser Doister and The Spanish Tragedy. About three shelves after Gorboduc, you'll come to a narrow fork. Do not continue through Shakespeare because that whole section is flooded and you'll ruin your shoes. Instead you'll want to detour through Cavalier Poets and Writers of the Couplet. Go straight all the way to Hobbes. Follow Hobbes through The Age of Dryden, then veer left. This brings you face to face with Pope and Swift. You will not have noticed anything in translation. If you do encounter any French political writing, you'll know you're in the wrong corridor. You'll have to make a half-turn and backtrack through Sir Walter Scott. This is tricky. Be careful not to go too far because the Waverley novels will return you, inevitably, to The Castle of Perseverance, and you'll never get out. It's better to remain in the 19th century if you can get there. As you know, we've had shelving problems, so don't panic if you see Russians mixed in with the triple deckers. Put your head down and charge through the War Poets. By now you're smack in the centre of The Modern Era. From here you can choose any number of directions. Pay attention because if you take the wrong route, you'll have to start over from Beowulf. Are you paying attention?"
"The New Critics. Stay with The New Critics and you'll get where you're going."
"You're welcome."--- From The Hundred Brothers
As quoted by Christian Lorentzen
In the London Review of Books
20 November 2014