One of my minor perversions is a bit of a completeness fetish. Which is why the arrival of a copy of the 1994 edition of the Socialist Register in the post the other day is cause for moderate, temperate celebration: this is the volume that completes my set, from the first issue published in 1964, through to the most recent, 2004 edition.
I started buying the Register regularly in about 1998 or so; then a few years ago I think I picked up a number of back issues from the 60s and 70s fairly cheaply in the second-hand section of the excellent Bookmarks bookshop; and after that I began to work slowly and systematically on plugging the gaps that remained in my run. In the end I stopped looking for cheap copies in the online second-hand book catalogues, and wrote off to the publisher for the last few I needed from the mid-90s, which were all still available. And the last one of those arrived today.
It looks like a good one, too. It kicks off with Ralph Miliband’s essay, “Thirty Years of the Socialist Register, which was the last he published in the journal’s pages before his death on 21 May 1994 (DSW, #95); that’s followed by John Saville’s memoir of E. P. Thompson (DSW, #44) in 1956. And third in the collection is “Richard Rorty and the Righteous among the Nations” by some guy called Norman Geras. Then a bunch of essays about the development of capitalism around the world. The usual stuff that I always mean to get round to reading, but generally don’t.