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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

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The Modesto Kid

Notation borrowed from

Not to quibble (well ok, to quibble), would not the parallel notation be "271 notes (two-hundred and seventy-one)"?

[Yes, it would. Updated and corrected. Thanks.]

It is kind of fun having a note -- one which seemed illuminating when you wrote it -- and no clear idea of what the source material is or how it sheds light on that material. Lots of room for extrapolation.

alkau

Nice color, maybe you can use it to hang on your door this Christmas.

Sisyphus

So I guess you're not going to be giving a ringing endorsement of this novel then? The notes look pretty, at least.

drip

Theron enjoys the "primitive"
pleasures of Catholic picnics;
contrast to earlier image of it
as orderly machine; no

I kind of like it. Arrange the notes in proper order and you may earn enough to pay your overdue student activities fees, or perhaps elicit an order from home, allowing you a snippy thank you.


SEK

Nice color, maybe you can use it to hang on your door this Christmas.

I'm still Jewish, Ma. (Nominally, at least.)

It is kind of fun having a note -- one which seemed illuminating when you wrote it -- and no clear idea of what the source material is or how it sheds light on that material. Lots of room for extrapolation.

Sort of fun. More frustrating. When I re-read Gravity's Rainbow, I'm always flabbergasted by how stupid I was the last time I read it (as indicated by the "quality" of the marginalia).

So I guess you're not going to be giving a ringing endorsement of this novel then?

It's a late C19th realist novel. You won't see me ring many endorsements for any of those, period.

Arrange the notes in proper order and you may earn enough to pay your overdue student activities fees, or perhaps elicit an order from home, allowing you a snippy thank you.

Wait, poetry pays now? Are times that hard? Or do I just need to find myself a patron?

drip

Wait, poetry pays now? Probably just enough to pay your overdue student activities fees.

The Modesto Kid

When I re-read Gravity's Rainbow, I'm always flabbergasted by how stupid I was the last time I read it (as indicated by the "quality" of the marginalia)

See, I've had similar experiences -- with that very novel and with others -- but the response I get to it is ideally not flabbergasm at my younger self's stupidity, but recollection of how I've enjoyed the process of coming to understand the book. (I'm kind of invested in this since I started keeping my "marginalia" online -- for instance my 10-year-old notes on reading The Hamlet for the first time contain a whole lot that is obvious and silly; but also I can look at them and remember the flash of revelation I got in part III when I figured out what was going on with Isaac -- even if the details of the story have currently escaped me.)

SEK

Oddly, I can do that with some Faulkner too: I remember the first time I figured out what happened at the end of Light in August, as well as the first time I thought about the air in Absalom, Absalom! But that's because I taught one and wrote a seminar paper on the latter. Had I merely been reading them -- say, for pleasure -- they'd be long gone by now. What's especially frustrating is how quickly encyclopedic knowledge of a text vanishes. Right now, I can tell you what happens on most every page of Watchmen. Two weeks from now, I'll be hunting and pecking again.

But as to Gravity's Rainbow, there are two things to say: first, that novels as large and surprising as that one are impossible to acquire encyclopedic knowledge of -- that's why they're such a joy to re-read. Second, I'm on my third copy of Gravity's Rainbow, so I can read my old marginalia from the summer after high school; the second semester of my freshman year; the summer after my sophomore year; the spring term my junior year; the entirety of my senior year, as it was the subject of my senior thesis (and coincidentally, that post I linked to has itself been annotated, by me, a couple years after the fact); and the Winter Quarter of 2002, when I read it in Katherine Hayles's "Big Books" seminar. All of which is only to say, your idea of keeping notes online is far, far cheaper than my decision to repurchase the same book again and again and again.

CP

I've had a much worse experience with marginalia. An ex returned my copy of Pale Fire with numerous scribblings in the margins. The first time I read through them I would have this occasional twinge of panicky despair when I realized she'd picked up on things I'd completely missed. Damned smart girls. The only consolation is that I can gloat over how superior my penmanship is to hers.

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