orig. A book in which ‘commonplaces’ or passages important for reference were collected, usually under general heads; hence, a book in which one records passages or matters to be especially remembered or referred to, with or without arrangement. 1578 COOPER Thesaurus A studious yong man ... may gather to himselfe good furniture both of words and approved phrases ... and to make to his use as it were a common place booke. 1642 FULLER Holy & Prof. St. A Common-place-book contains many notions in garrison, whence the owner may draw out an army into the field.
A critic and literary historian for nearly a quarter of a century at Texas A&M and Ohio State universities, I am the author of The Elephants Teach and ex-fiction critic for Commentary. I have also written for Jewish Ideas Daily, the New York Times Book Review, the Weekly Standard, Philosophy and Literature, the Sewanee Review, First Things, the Daily Beast, the Barnes & Noble Review, the Journal of the History of Ideas, American Literary History, and other journals. Here is the Commonplace Blog’s statement of principles, such as they are.