David L. Vander Meulen’s Where Angels Fear to Tread: Descriptive Bibliography and Alexander Pope has come to be regarded as a classic statement of the purposes and methods of descriptive bibliography. Initially presented as the 1987 Engelhard Lecture and subsequently published by the Library of Congress, Where Angels Fear to Tread is now published in a new edition with an introduction by G. Thomas Tanselle, president of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia.
Vander Meulen recounts the series of decisions that are involved in creating a descriptive bibliography. There is no clearer account of that process, or one more likely to promote sympathetic understanding of the field. In doing so, Vander Meulen’s Engelhard Lecture displays the human side of scholarship and clarifies the essential place of bibliography in the humanities.