Here is one of the many footnotes from Susanna Clarke’s novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, which Henry reviewed recently:
Horace Tott spent an uneventful life in Cheshire always intending to write a large book on English magic, but never quite beginning. And so he died at seventy-four, still imagining he might begin next week, or perhaps the week after that.
“Publish-or-perish” is hardly the best motto for good scholarship, but if the alternative is to perish without publishing at all then perhaps it might not be so bad. This footnote may find itself stuck above my desk come Monday. Or Tuesday, at the latest.
Referenced in the Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell seminar @ Crooked Timber.