Working on two books, I'm a novelist by day and a historian by night. The projects have almost nothing to do with one another, except that first, I could not have returned to history except through the particular novel I have written, which began as a historical meditation on why it is currently impossible to do truly interesting and novel work in today's academe; and, second, the return to history as a mode of inquiry consoles the novelist in me because when I'm with the old books whose spines were last cracked a century ago, it reminds me that some things really are written not (or not only) for a contemporary audience, but for the ages.