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22 Mar 2011


Here's a nice post about writing in the margins:

"Marginalia was more common in the 1800s. Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a prolific margin writer, as were William Blake and Charles Darwin. In the 20th century it mostly came to be regarded like graffiti: something polite and respectful people did not do.

Paul F. Gehl, a curator at the Newberry, blamed generations of librarians and teachers for “inflicting us with the idea” that writing in books makes them “spoiled or damaged.”

But marginalia never vanished. When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in South Africa in 1977, a copy of Shakespeare was circulated among the inmates. Mandela wrote his name next to the passage from “Julius Caesar” that reads, “Cowards die many times before their deaths.”"

I've always been partial to marginalia myself. Very guilty of it, in fact. Although mine are probably more of personal musings and thoughts while reading, and not necessarily academic. I doubt people will glean much from my books except that I like talking to the characters and to the author when the opportunity presents itself.


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