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So said Jorge Luis Borges, apparently. I’d like to help reunite someone with their own little slice of paradise, and you can help me do it, gentle reader.

A large box of books has found its way into my office, posted from the Leeds International Medieval Congress in July. Monash colleagues and I posted quite a lot of books home from this conference – 24kg of them to be exact – and some of them have arrived, while some of them haven’t. The box in question has arrived, but it doesn’t contain books that any of us actually purchased. It’s a box of bookish orphans, in fact. We need help to locate the owner of these books so that a reunion can be effected. If you or your colleagues purchased a fairly large number of books from the collection of the late Elizabeth Williams, and have strong interests in Middle English and French romance literature and lyric, please alert us. If you can name four or more books that are likely to be in the box, we’ll try and sort out a way of reuniting you without costing either party too much extra.[1] If the owner can’t be identified within 3 months, I’m just going to donate them to the Monash library, because I can’t see another way around it.

Paradise: the State LIbrary of Victoria Domed Reading Room. From Wikimedia Commons. By John O'Neill, under creative commons licence.

Paradise: the State Library of Victoria Domed Reading Room. From Wikimedia Commons. By John O’Neill, under creative commons licence.

Meanwhile, if anyone has seen a large number of books on Maimonides, preaching and silence, marriage, chastity, gender or the figure of Penelope in medieval literature, please let me know! (None of these, as you may have gathered, were my books; all mine have, happily, found their way to me already.) I know a few readers who won’t find Elysian peace until they can be reunited with the said volumes.


[1] We haven’t had any success getting a response from Oxbow Books, who provide the postage service from Leeds. We greatly appreciate that they provide this service, but we’re frustrated by the radio silence after emails, online customer feedback forms and tweets over several weeks haven’t generated any communication. They may or may not have records that connect the books with the address to which they should have gone. If you work for Oxbow, please get in touch so we can get this sorted out together!

[Update: A colleague has finally had a response from Oxbow, who are looking into matters at their end, and the books will soon be heading back to them at their expense – with luck to be reunited with their owners.]

[Update 2: our missing items have arrived!!! Huzzah!]

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I teach and research at the Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies in the School of Philosophical, Historial and International Studies, Monash University (Australia). Views expressed here are my own and not representative of the CMRS, SOPHIS or Monash.

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