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The books are gravy
September 23, 2010 3:26 PM   Subscribe

i wanted to call him up and tell him his notes are funny, but then i realized he DIED A MONTH AGO. bummer. Craig Fehrman traces the post-mortem dispersion of writers' personal libraries: in particular, David Markson's personal library and the way in which his fans are using Facebook to reconstruct the range of Markson's reading.
posted by catlet (12 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was shocked to discover that Markson's library ended up in the Strand, not even set aside as such but each book dispersed.
posted by kenko at 3:50 PM on September 23, 2010


Sad? Yes, but Markson had to eat. Guys like him don't exactly make a living at writing.

Also, it'll be interesting to see just how long before someone drags David Foster Wallace into yet another thread.
posted by cropshy at 4:23 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, it'll be interesting to see just how long before someone drags David Foster Wallace into yet another thread.

Shit, I just did it myself.
posted by cropshy at 4:25 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sad? Yes, but Markson had to eat.

I thought the point was that his books had been sold off after he died rather than donated/sold to an academic library.
posted by Bromius at 4:35 PM on September 23, 2010


That's really interesting. I hope some of these annotations end up online in a more comprehensive way than the occasional Twitter or Facebook update.
posted by .kobayashi. at 4:38 PM on September 23, 2010


Well, the whole concern will disappear when ebooks take over the world.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:43 PM on September 23, 2010


Yeah, Bromius is right. At that point he didn't have to eat.
posted by kenko at 4:43 PM on September 23, 2010


I thought the point was that his books had been sold off after he died rather than donated/sold to an academic library.

Yes, but the article states that he'd been selling books and other materials to the Strand for years:

Markson had sold books to The Strand before. In fact, over the years, he sold off his most valuable books and even small batches of his literary correspondence simply to make ends meet. Markson recalled in one interview that, when he asked Jack Kerouac to sign a book for him, Kerouac was so drunk he stabbed the pen through the front page. Bass said he personally looked through Markson’s books hoping to find items like this. ”But David had picked it pretty clean.”
posted by cropshy at 4:50 PM on September 23, 2010


A few years ago I picked up a copy of Julio Cortazar's Blow Up and Other Stories and when I got it home I noticed it used to belong to bpNichol.
posted by dobbs at 8:53 PM on September 23, 2010


Well, the whole concern will disappear when ebooks take over the world.

Unless we could also annotate ebooks. Also, ebooks could be made to record when they were read -- when each page was read, when each note was made, when a page was reread -- which would be very cool to know. A real diary of what you read.
posted by pracowity at 10:42 PM on September 23, 2010


Yeah, Bromius is right. At that point he didn't have to eat.

A dead writer's family also has to eat.
posted by pracowity at 10:43 PM on September 23, 2010


Also, it'll be interesting to see just how long before someone drags David Foster Wallace into yet another thread.

Not long, since Wallace was mentioned in the linked article and all.

I was shocked to discover that Markson's library ended up in the Strand, not even set aside as such but each book dispersed.

Ah, impermanence. (Also, the atoms of Markson's body will be dispersed as well.)

But the article also notes that the family did keep a selection from the library before taking the rest to The Strand: "I want my children to see what kind of reader their grandfather was," [Markson's daughter said].
posted by aught at 6:57 AM on September 24, 2010


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