And Everything in Its Place

The February edition of New Criterion showcases our favorite doctor’s review of a new book on the invention of the alphabetical order.

The way in which we classify the things, people, and events in the world is very important, but there is no way that is correct for all purposes. One of my projects in retirement is to classify and catalogue my books, some thirty thousand of them, in time for my relict to sell them to a bookseller at a knock-down price merely to disembarrass herself and the house of them. How do I classify them? Alphabetical order plays a part, but only a part. Nobody else looking at the books would understand the way they are arranged. My classification, an autobiography of sorts, is unique and dies with me.

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