Peter Bradshaw

My house is stuffed with books, and like everyone else I am reaching “peak book”. I am coming to terms with the idea that buying books for Kindle is starting to become the norm, and that buying actual books could be a “vinyl connoisseur” pursuit for which very few people have the living space. The problem is compounded by the fact that I often need to look up details in books. In days gone by I would of course go to a library, and I still love the British Library and the Cambridge University Library. But increasingly I just don’t have the time. So I wind up ordering a reasonable second-hand copy for one penny online (with a £2=80 delivery charge). So my house is also filling up with old library hardbacks as well as everything else. More books that I can’t bear to throw out.

Here is a shot from what I think of as my “grad student bookcase” — it is probably the most outrageously showoff shelfie! This case has most of the books from my time as a PhD student, when I was working on Renaissance English literature. It’s mainly poetry, prose and history from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with some critical studies. But there is also some theory here. There is the lovely Verso edition of Walter Benjamin’s Archive (a recent purchase actually), Slavoj Zizek on Lacan and Hitchcock, some Barthes, some Bertrand Russell on philosophy (a slightly uncool Anglo-Saxon-style crib) and tons of Michel Foucault, who I was absolutely crazy for back in the 1980s. We all were. Foucault was the crack cocaine of graduate studies in the humanities in that era. (And I still think lots of Foucault is brilliant. His chapter on Valazquez in The Order Of Things made a huge impression.) Also there are two rather bizarre books on gay sexuality in the Renaissance: Jonathan Goldberg’s trendily titled Sodometries and — this is the one with the best title…. BR Burg’s Sodomy And The Pirate Tradition. (English Sea Rovers in the Seventeenth Century). I often take a volume down from this shelf and read…..


Based in London, Peter Bradshaw is film critic for The Guardian newspaper. Peter has also written three novels. His latest, Night Of Triumph, is available here

Twitter: @PeterBradshaw1