The Curated Shelf: David Hart


Thinking to find a range of books with titles beginning with The, I was pleased to discover a range, a mix, and would like the display to ask why The? What is being claimed for a book with such a singular title?

With no titles in mind–and I made no search for The Holy Bible, The Koran, The Oxford English Dictionary–I was tickled to find both old favourites and books completely new to me, and across a wide range of subjects and purposes.

It wasn’t relevant then to say why I had chosen them, except that their titles all began with The. I opened each at a random page and selected quickly something to quote. The question then is, does the quote–or the extension or lines of which it is a part–reflect, even justify the The of the title?

Finding a few works, especially of fiction, I saw the the The might indicate a focus of a mystery, or the crucial location or character.

And I wanted to see all these The titles in a row on a shelf.

–David Hart

About David

My own life began in mid-Wales by the sea, a move to Essex, university then in London, a university Anglican chaplaincy in Birmingham, theatre reviewing for The Birmingham Post, fifteen ears working for the then West Midlands Arts, and since when as a writer, of poetry mostly, undertaking residencies, some work in universities, and winning a few prizes. My latest and new book is Library Inspector of the One Book Library (Nine Arches Press).

David’s Picks

THE Age of Captaincy. Mike Brearley still being interviewed on tv, in a smart suit. P. 201

Strategy is essential for a captain as for a lionkeeper.

THE Art of Flying

The book of regulations is full of warnings to the pilot….a visual pre-takeoff inspection…

THE Banquet Years. p. 208

Finally, Grénier improvised a jig.

THE Best Places…. Top of page 127

Doctors and Dentists.” Also “Property

THE British in the Middle East. p. 99

The completed Suez Canal was difficult to reconcile with an independent Egypt.

THE Cloudspotter’s Guide. p. 128

There is an art for seeing shapes in clouds.

THE Cocktail Party. p. 41

Nothing. Wait. Go back to California.

THE Complete Classic’s Catalogue. p. 71


THE Critical Quarterly. A story from 1965. Gary Snyder. P. 105

to make revolution still turning. flywheel heavy elbow-bending awkward

THE Dhammapada

Someone has marked p. 56: ‘Consider this body!’ But page after page.
A man—
A man–
A man–

THE Divine Comedy. p. 273

Much like the dolphins that are said to surface.

THE First Industrial Revolution. p. 109

There were three features of Cort’s method that made it an important advance: (1)…

THE Heroine’s Journey. p. 37. Discuss.

Most women feel power and authority either by becoming like men or by becoming liked by men.

THE Hidden Places of the ___  p. 141

Also worth a visit is Charlecote Mill.

THE Language of Clothes. p. 147

People who decide to practice conspicuous outrage, of course…

THE Lifer’s Club. P. 291.

He assumed she had spotted the same thing a him.

THE Looney. p. 61

Tim McGuggles, the dawn customs officer, waited vengefully for the next batch of customers.

THE Most Amazing Places… p. 51

Grand houses abound in Buckinghamshire.

THE Nations’ Favourite Poems. p. 95

Think of what our nation stands for,

THE Old Grey Whistle Test Quiz. p. 272

Who was Led Zeppelin’s notoriously hands-on manager?

THE Perfect Summer. p. 83

The dining table would be decorated with orchids.

THE Pilgrim’s Progress. p. 165

Then I saw in my dream, that the shining men bid them call at the ghosts.

THE Poisonwood Bible. p. 129

But Pascal made a fine companion.

THE Primal Scream. p. 101

Happiness is not a goal of Primal Therapy.

THE Prophet. p. 81

I cannot teach you how to pray in words.

THE Sleep of the Just. p. 64

They were seated at a table in a Moorish café.

THE Spider and Chip’s Joke Book. p. 63

Waiter, waiter, what’s this fly doing on my ice-cream?

THE Spiritual Nature of “Man.” p. 59

The guys still wear their hair longs,….

THE Stripping of the Altars. p. 227

The advent of printing had enormous implications for–

THE Trouble with Horses.  p. 39

Rounding off the corders of the paddock

THE Virgin and the Gypsy. p. 49

She did not want to mate with a house-dog

THE Wind in the Willows. p. 55

Weren’t you at all — er — nervous? asked the Mole,…

THE World of Ice.  p. 71

Fred bore his disappointment.

THE Worst Witch’s Spelling Book. p. 59

I’m freezing!