Amicable Annotation, Part 8 (Women and Men, Cont’d)

[Feature Image: Title page of A Collection of Poems, Chiefly in Manuscript, and Written by Living Authors. Baillie rounded up poems from members of her circle, including Walter Scott, in order to help a friend, Mrs. James Stirling, whose husband had recently died. The decision to include the “friend” on the title page, in effect using its gift-end to market the book, speaks to the age’s high regard for friendship. To buy the book was to participate in the unnamed friend’s care, even perhaps to befriend her.] This post continues…

“Reading Practices,” Notes toward a definition

[Feature image: Study: At a Reading Desk by Sir Frederick Leighton (1877)] The members of the Reading and Selving seminar are now busy assembling presentations on the reading practices of different periods in the West–from monasticism to the “reading revolution” (or lack thereof) of the eighteenth century. As I was preparing the directions for the exercise, I realized that I had been taking for granted that students knew exactly what I meant when I used the terminology of “reading practices.” And not only in this class, but in many others…

Amicable Annotation, Part 7 (Notes on Jackson’s Marginalia)

[Feature image: Selection from George Crabbe’s The Library (1781); also quoted in Jackson’s Marginalia. Crabbe continues: “Our nicer palates lighter labours seek, / Cloy’d with a Folio-number once a week.” In other words, we’ve got too many books on hand to handle them with our “patient Fathers’” sort of care.] I concluded Part 4 of this miniseries by reflecting on a few striking phrases that H. J. Jackson invents to describe annotatively-enhanced books in her 2001 study Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books (note that publication date: we’ll come back to…

Amicable Annotation, Part 6 (Men and Women)

[Lady Bradshaigh and Samuel Richardson converse in the margins of Clarissa. Full text at the Princeton University Digital Library.] Part 1 of the “amicable annotation” miniseries is here. Or you might begin at the midpoint, Part 5. Enjoy Part 6. In the summer of 1748, the novelist Samuel Richardson received a letter from one “Belfour,” who wrote to prevent a “fatal catastrophe.” “I am pressed, Sir,” the letter begins, “by a multitude of your admirers, to plead in [sic] behalf of your amiable Clarissa.” Yes, the target of Belfour’s intervention…