Marginalia by H. J. Jackson
Readers Writing in Books

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Synopsis

From Pierre de Fermat to Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Graham Greene, readers have related to books through the notes they write in the margins. In this pioneering book the first to examine the phenomenon of marginalia - H.J. Jackson surveys an extraordinary range of annotated books to explore the history of marginalia, the forms they take, the psychology that underlies them, and the reactions they provoke. Based on a study of thousands of books annotated by readers both famous and obscure over the last three centuries, this book reveals the intensity of emotion that characterises the process of reading. For hundreds of years, readers have talked to other people in the margins of their books - not only to authors, but also to friends, lovers, and future generations. With an infectious enthusiasm for her subject, Jackson reflects on the cultural and historical value of writing in the margins, examines works that have invited passionate annotation, and presents examples of some of the most provocative marginalia. Imaginative, amusing, and poignant, this book will be treasured by - and maybe even annotated by - anyone who cares about reading.
 

About H. J. Jackson

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H. J. Jackson is professor, Department of English, University of Toronto. She has published extensively on Romantic literature, and her book "Marginalia "was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award in literarty criticism.
 
Published February 8, 2001 by Yale University Press. 334 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Marginalia

The Guardian

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Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books HJ Jackson Yale University Press £19.95, pp324 Buy it at a discount at BOL 'I have a Trick of writing in the Margins of my Books,' confessed Hester Thrale in 1790.

May 20 2001 | Read Full Review of Marginalia: Readers Writing i...

The Guardian

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Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books H J Jackson 324pp, Yale University Press, £19.95 Lautréamont once described the Grand Duke of Virginia as "handsome as a dissertation on the curve that a dog describes running towards its master".

Jun 23 2001 | Read Full Review of Marginalia: Readers Writing i...

Publishers Weekly

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Before there were television and movie screens to talk back to, people vented, pontificated and waxed poetic in the margins of their books, leaving heaps of material for Jackson, an English professor whose Marginalia was a general survey of this practice, to cull and study.

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Publishers Weekly

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It's fair to say this book is most absorbing in its examples, such as the famous case of Fermat's last theorem (Fermat declared the margin of his book too small to contain the proof, leaving generations of mathematicians to wish they had been on hand with a Post-It).

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London Review of Books

One Canadian copy of a textbook with the resonant title of Third Reader bears the inscription: ‘Steal not this book for fear of life for the owner has a big jack-knife.’ Jackson’s sharpest insight is that annotations buttonhole not only the author of the printed book, but future readers of the ma...

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Project MUSE

Jackson, whose Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books (2001) contains the slightly alarming confession that 'Coleridge's marginalia converted me to writing in books,' has collected in this volume 279 of the most vigorous of Coleridge's marginalia from the six-volume Bollingen edition, creating 'a ...

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