In literature, there are two key sorts of annotations: marginalia, or the notes jotted down in the margins by the reader, and additional information formally provided in expanded editions of a text, and you can find a bit of both online. Annotated Books Online is an on-line interactive archive of early modern annotated books, where researchers can share digitized documents and collaborate on translations. For insight into a single author's notes, Melville's Marginalia provides just that. For annotations with additional information, The Thoreau Reader provides context for Walden (linked previously), The Maine Woods, and other writings. Then there's the mostly annotated edition Ulysses, analysis of Joseph Conrad's Nostromo, and the thoroughly annotated US constitution (twentieth amendment linked previously). More marginalia and annotations inside. [more inside]
By Heart is a series on The Atlantic's website where writers speak about their favorite passages, each illustrated by Doug McLean. Here are a few of the entries so far: Stephen King on two opening lines, Hanan Al-Shaykh on One Thousand and One Nights, Susan Choi on The Great Gatsby, Jessica Francis Kane on Marcus Aurelius, Fay Weldon on The Myth of Sisyphus, Adam Mansbach on Montaigne, Ayana Mathis on Osip Mandelstam, Anthony Marra on Jesus' Son, and Mohsin Hamid on Haruki Murakami.
There are a small number of novels I return to again and again: Middlemarch, The Portrait of a Lady, Pride and Prejudice, maybe a half-dozen others. But Gatsby is in a class by itself. It is the only book I have read so often despite failing—in the face of real effort and sincere intentions—to derive almost any pleasure at all from the experience.
Living Well Is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins is a classic New Yorker profile of Gerald and Sara Murphy, central figures of the Lost Generation social circle in 1920s France. F. Scott Fitzgerald created Dick and Nicole Diver, the central couple of Tender Is the Night, by merging himself and his wife Zelda, with the Murphys. Gerald was a painter of note (examples: 1, 2, 3, 4), whose masterpiece has been lost. After seven years of painting, Murphy stopped, and never restarted, for a host of reasons, from the illness of his son to his closeted gayness. But the Murphys are probably best known for "the special quality of their life." They hosted parties and lived in a villa on the Mediterranean coast and were both painted by many artists, including Pablo Picasso. They were the subject of a recent biography and an essay collection.
Lists of Note is a new site from Shaun Usher, proprietor of Letters of Note. It posts interesting lists, running the gamut from funny to poignant, mostly by famous people, though other sources crop up. Here's a sampling of lists: Johnny Cash, Walt Whitman, Eero Saarinen, Don Carman, Marilyn Monroe and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
In my younger and more vulnerable years I might have really enjoyed playing The Great Gatsby on the Nintendo Entertainment System. If you think you have what it takes to fight gangsters and advertisements and hobos, you might, too.
Over 2000 classic short stories from American Literature as well as an option to sign up for a short story of the day rss feed. Among the authors on offer are Kate Chopin, Saki, O. Henry, Louisa May Alcott, Ambrose Bierce, H. P. Lovecraft, Jack London, James Joyce, Willa Cather, Guy de Maupassant, Charles Dickens, Herman Hesse, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Franz Kafka, Honoré de Balzac, Edith Warton, P. G. Wodehouse, Virginia Woolf, Langston Hughes, Leo Tolstoy, Aldous Huxley, Roald Dahl, Henry James, Katherine Mansfield and I could keep going for a while. The point is, there's over 2000 short stories in there.
In July 1915, a fresh-faced young man got off a train and presented himself at a working cattle-and-sheep ranch on the North Fork of the Smith River, a few miles outside of White Sulphur Springs, Montana. He was slender—about 5'8," 150 pounds—and arrestingly handsome, with champagne-colored hair and blue-green eyes. He carried himself so lightly on the balls of his feet that his wife later wrote, "There seemed to be some heavenly support beneath his shoulder blades that lifted his feet from the ground in ecstatic suspension, as if he secretly enjoyed the ability to fly but was walking as a compromise to convention." The ranch hands must have been astonished at the sight. F. Scott Fitzgerald had arrived in Montana.Fitzgerald wrote but one story set in Montana, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, but what a doozy of a story.
The Greatest Interviews of the 20th Century according to The Guardian. The interviews are with Princess Diana, John Lennon, Marlon Brando, Dennis Potter, Francis Bacon, Marilyn Monroe, Sex Pistols, Malcolm X, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Margaret Thatcher and Fidel Castro. You know who else is interviewed? That's right, Nixon. Oh, and there's a Hitler interview, too. Apparently he likes tea. So do I. Funny ol' world. [via Neil Gaiman]