Description of the World - Part 38
Joseph Strayer, On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State (One of of my motives in undertaking this survey is to find out how many of my books I’ve actually read. Finding books that I bought and then ignored doesn’t surprise or dismay me. I expected to find many, more than I have found so far. What worries me a bit, however, are books that I’m pretty sure I did read that I can’t recall a thing about, especially when I have reason to believe that their contents have been absorbed into my thinking and the topics they covered are matters I care about. Strayer’s book is in this category. I know I read it because some of the pages have been recently cut, and I certainly have spent a long time thinking about the origins of the modern state. What makes it worse is that this edition only came out in 2005 so I read it within the last decade. I have often joked that a bad memory is helpful insofar as it makes it possible to commit plagiarism with a good conscience. I can only hope what I stole from this book was worthwhile.