Penelope Fitzgerald's marginalia
April 3, 2010 6:49 AM Subscribe
"Dear Penelope Fitzgerald, Among the books chance puts in our hands are a few that were never meant for us: this one, of course, was meant to come back to you, and it gives me great pleasure to be able to redirect it. With all best wishes, Alberto Manguel."
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Hermione Lee is writing a biography of Penelope Fitzgerald, author of The Blue Flower and other gorgeous books. Amongst the materials she has been given access to is Fitzgerald's vast and much-annotated collection of books--"not beautiful, expensively bound, well-ordered books with high-flown dedications from famous fellow authors", but "the battered, treasured, much-used library of a working woman, mostly paperbacks, stuffed full of notes, marks, clippings and reviews, written all over from cover to cover in Fitzgerald's clear, steady, italic handwriting."
Lee describes the contents in this Guardian
article, including the card from Alberto Manguel contained in a copy of a pamphlet-essay on Lytton Strachey by Max Beerbohm. He'd acquired the copy at some point in the late 90s and noticed that it had been given by Fitzgerald to her father Evoe Knox (editor of Punch
) in 1943.
Fitzgerald's letters were published a couple of years ago, and there's a sweet appreciation of them by Julian Barnes--complemented by some personal reminiscences--here