The current working title, which could change again, is Literature and Inequality: Nine Perspectives from the Age of Napoleon Through the First Gilded Age.
An earlier draft was 110,000 words. It’s now down to less than 92,000 words. I think a key reason that it was previously longer was that my writing in what was a new area for me caused me initially to be a bit too prolix, just as early-career academics can sometimes be. I feel that I’ve been able to add discipline and focus. And there are certainly, at a minimum, some well-written bits, if I do say so myself.
I really had to teach myself a new genre in doing this, without much in the way of role models. And at some point I’ll have to ask myself the question: Do I now do this again by writing Part 2? (1920s through the present.) It’s hard to imagine now feeling sufficiently motivated, as it wouldn’t be an easy project to plan, research, and write. But never say never.
My current next project, other than finalizing my recently posted draft on digital services taxes et al, is to write a short (50,000 to 60,000 word) sequel to my earlier book on international tax policy. I think there’s room for and a point to writing such a book, and it’s also way easier than writing a literature book sequel. It would also probably have a higher floor, albeit a lower ceiling, on public success than writing a literature book sequel.
Sufficient public success of the literature book would certainly push me towards greater likelihood of writing its sequel. But I know from this biz (and from books by friends that have fallen short commercially of meeting their perhaps too-high hopes and expectations) that breaking through isn’t easy.