I was impressed for the ten thousandth time by the fact that literature illuminates life only for those to whom books are a necessity. Books are unconvertible assets, to be passed on only to those who possess them already.
Anthony Powell, The Valley of Bones, in A Dance to the Music of Time
"I wonder if I might call your attention to an observation of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He said: 'Does aught befall you? It is good. It is part of the destiny of the Universe ordained for you from the beginning. All that befalls you is part of the great web'."
I breathed a bit stertorously.
"He said that, did he?"
"Well, you can tell him from me he's an ass."
P. G. Wodehouse, The Mating Game (1949), chap. 4
Traister began to make this page -- http://www.english.upenn.edu/~traister -- on 5 August 1995. He last modified it on 2009 (another day, another edit). Text-heavy, static, and as graphic as the broad side of a barn, the site is complicatedly organized to suit Traister; and -- yuck -- it scrolls. For starters, here is a basic guide to searching the web.
TRAISTER'S BASIC LINKS INCLUDE: Penn's Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, University of Pennsylvania, a poll-based 2008 electoral college map, for the terminally nervous, Arts at Penn, Lehigh University, AP Online, The New York Times, Philadelphia newspapers online, Arts & Letters Daily, Salon (and one Salon reporter), Slate, Abu Muqawama (contemporary insurgencies), Abington Township Public Library, Absolutearts.com, Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise, The Art Newspaper.com, Arts Journal, The Becker-Posner Blog, Blue Ear, Broad Street Review, Common Dreams, Critical Mass: the blog of the national book critics circle board of directors, Edge, The Edge of the American West, For Better or for Worse, Forward, Identity Theory, InsideHigherEd.com, The Maine Times, Media Matters, Mediachannel.org, Le Monde, for fun and joy, NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day and WorldWide Telescope, The New Yorker, Online Journalism Review, Philly Fun Guide, Poetry Daily, Shola Olunloyo, signandsight.com, TLS, Words Without Borders: The Online Magazine for International Literature, The World Factbook (CIA), Voice of the Shuttle, Philadelphia weather (National Weather Service)), Philadelphia weather (The New York Times), New York weather, Washington weather, Houlton, Maine, weather, Miami weather, Los Angeles weather, San Juan, Puerto Rico London weather, Oxford weather, Cambridge weather, Stratford-upon-Avon weather, Edinburgh weather, Paris weather, Amsterdam weather, Brussels weather, Frankfurt weather, Munich weather, Berlin weather, Vienna weather, Prague weather, Budapest weather, St. Petersburg weather, Moscow weather, Florence weather, Venice weather, a general weather site and another general weather site, JASNA:Jane Austen Society of North America and its local chapter, The New-York Historical Society and The Museum of the City of New York, The Maine Historical Society and Maine Memory Network, Amtrak, SEPTA, New Jersey Transit, Philadelphia International Airport, US 309 traffic and construction, general Philadelphia-area traffic reports, E-ZPass: Regional Consortium Service Center, Workshop in the History of Material Texts (Penn), The Book in America: Economic Aspects of the Material Text, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, Penn Humanities Forum, Med/Ren at Penn, Penn Libraries Medieval Collections, Kelly Writers House, Jack Lynch's Home Page, Traister's photo album, another photo album (password required), Library staffweb, Library blog, RBM blog, MeetingMaker, email, U@Penn, guide to computer virus and other email hoaxes, and The MIT List of Radio Stations on the Internet -- and, for classical music, e.g.,
HIS OWN LINKS TO SOME BROAD SUBJECT AREAS ARE
CATEGORIZED IN: (1) HUMANITIES, (2) SCIENCE, (3) ENTERTAINMENT, AND (4) MISCELLANEOUS.
Temporary links include:
A secondary home page exists only to make Traister findable for those who look him up via Penn's Library.
Penn -- of which you can see a somewhat older view than currently characterizes the place here -- maintains, inter alia, several useful sites:
SAS students, their parents, advisors, and faculty will find at least some of these sites useful:
Traister teaches courses on English and American literature and on the history of books and printing for Penn's Department of English, General Honors program, and College of General Studies. During the fall semester of 2008, he is teaching a class entitled Confronting Deity: Religious Dramas. Peter Nichols's article about a course Traister co-taught during the spring semester of 1999 appeared in the July 1999 issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette, Penn's alumni magazine. Another of Peter Nichols' articles, about a different course, appeared in the Winter 2001 issue of Colby. (More recently, The Pennsylvania Gazette has written about an unusual book that came to Penn as a gift with which Traister was involved.)
Traister also works with the Penn Reading Project, which is concentrating this year (2008) on Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish. He is an undergraduate student advisor. He has taught non-credit courses (on book history, pedagogy, and rare book librarianship) at the Rare Book School run by the Book Arts Press at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. An essay on the nature of the place can be found here; another is here. Very occasionally -- although, in fact, not for a long time -- he has taught non-credit courses on book collecting for Penn's CGS. Now and again, he works on Library exhibitions.
During the fall of 1999, Traister led an online course for alumni, Re-Reading Shakespeare. The Pennsylvania Gazette reported on the program of which this class was a part in its November-December 1999 issue. During the spring of 2000, he also participated as a discussion leader in Penn's Kelly Writers House Virtual Book Groups program. His session considered Bernhard Schlink's novel, Der Vorleser (The Reader). He led another discussion group in the spring of 2004 -- its members discussed Amanda Craig's recent novel, In a Dark Wood; and, in the spring of 2005, he led a discussion of the poetry of John Donne. In the fall of 2000, he participated in a seminar (co-sponsored by RAND and Nanyang Technological University) called New Paradigms and Parallels: The Printing Press and the Internet (October 5-6, Santa Monica, CA).
Between 1998 and 2003, Traister worked with pre-matriculants from the Classes of 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 in an experimental project described by both The Pennsylvania Gazette and The New York Times. Intended to introduce incoming students to at least some of what Penn is all about, the program garnered enthusiastic comments from the then-University President Judith Rodin, as well as, and more importantly, from students who have participated in it; but the program has foundered, running up against the problems of time investment it asks of group leaders.
Here are some of Traister's past syllabi.
Seminars: among several ongoing Penn seminars or seminar-sponsoring organization worth following are:
As the Library's English-language literature bibliographer, Traister hopes you will contact him if you know of a book, a journal, or anything else in the field of English-language literature that you think Penn's Library ought to acquire but has not, or needs in additional or replacement copies. If you include your own name and address, Traister can report back to you about your suggestions. His work telephone is 215 898 7088; his work telefax is 215 573 9079; his e-mail address is above (at "contact him") and almost immediately below ("You can write Traister, etc.").
See also the extremely amusing [!] site from Jen Wolf about librarianship and its romance (click on "Career Romances").
Traister is currently Program Chair for The Philobiblon Club, a Philadelphia area book collectors' and bibliophilic club.
He also works
with Penn's long-standing Monday-afternoon seminar, the Workshop in the
History of the Book.
Sometimes Traister is growing a beard;
sometimes he is beardless; sometimes he is bearded.
He is, however, always bald.
See Hucbald's Ecloga de calvis, trans. Thomas Klein, on this subject.
(Thank you, Jared Danziger!)
|Bearded Traister speaking at
Philobiblon Club on chilly 13.II.96.
(Photographer: WENDY WILSON.)
|Beardless Traister in his Jim O'Donnell pose|
atop Death Valley National Park's volcano
crater Ubehebe on warm 15.III.97
("Ibehebe climbs Ubehebe").
Currently, Traister .
At Colby College (where the alumni magazine is called, oddly enough, Colby), he was lucky enough to study English literature under the eye (monitory then; monitory now) of R. Mark Benbow. He received additional degrees in English literature at New York University, concentrating on Renaissance English literature. His dissertation (Richard C. Harrier, director) discusses a sixteenth-century sonnet sequence, Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella. (His experience prompts him to offer later generations of graduate students this important advice about thesis writing, as well as this sad tale about graduate student life.) At Columbia University's (now cleverly non-existent) School of Library Service, he concentrated on rare book and manuscript librarianship, studying with Terry Belanger, Susan O. Thompson, and others. Before coming to Penn, he worked, inter alia, at the library of Lehigh University and in the Rare Book Division (as it was then called) of The New York Public Library.
Geoffrey Whitney, A
choice of emblemes . . . (Leiden: Christopher Plantin, 1586), sig.
E1r [p. 38],
a gift to Traister from Francis O. Mattson.
Traister writes about literature, bibliography, history, rare book librarianship, and library collection development. For several years, he co-edited BiN: Bibliography Newsletter with cranky, idiosyncratic, and withal admirable Terry Belanger (his cranky, idiosyncratic, and withal admirable teacher at Columbia and the force behind Rare Book School). He was also book review editor and a reviewer-columnist for American Book Collector.
His full résumé will interest few and excite none.
His BASIC LINK is that to Penn's library. Also basic is the Oxford English Dictionary, or OED, use of which requires a valid Penn i.d. New users may find that Traister's OED quiz provides some guidance to use of this online dictionary. See also the Oxford English Dictionary Newsletter. The Britannica Online, like all encyclopedias, should be consulted only with extreme suspiciousness. Like OED, its use requires a valid Penn i.d. Suspicion is also recommended for those who consult The New York Times. Traister's other web resources are loosely organized into four broad categories.
Jack Lynch used to call this part of his page his "Everyone loves me" site:
fellow, Jack has now buried this stuff unfindably somewhere or other on
More everyones love him than love me, of course . . .
send Traister e-mail concerning this page at
You can send Traister e-mail concerning this page at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to Daniel Traister's Home Page.
Return to Daniel Traister's Home Page.