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]
Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934, and offers, as do most Boston artifacts, a compromise between Man's Euclidean determinations and Nature's beguiling irregularities. So wrote John Updike in his moving tribute to Red Sox legend Ted Williams -- an appropriately pedigreed account for this oldest and most fabled of ballfields that saw its first major league game played one century ago today. As a team in flux hopes to recapture the magic with an old-school face-off against the New York
Highlanders Yankees, it's hard to imagine the soul of the Sox faced the specter of demolition not too long ago. Now legally preserved, in a sport crowded with corporate-branded superdome behemoths, Fenway abides, bursting with history, idiosyncrasy, record crowds, and occasional song. [more inside]
In reflecting on the project, McAllister feels “caught between the intimacy of each individual response, and the pattern of the cumulative replies.” The question remains: Why did they answer? McAllister claims no credit, describing his survey form as “barely literate.” He recalls that in his cover letter (no examples of which exist) he misused the word precocious—he meant presumptuous—and in hindsight he sees that he was both, though few writers seemed to mind. “The conclusion I came to was that nobody had asked them. New Criticism was about the scholars and the text; writers were cut out of the equation. Scholars would talk about symbolism in writing, but no one had asked the writers.” Sixteen year old boy dislikes English homework, goes outside the chain of command.
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.
Noted literary agent Andrew Wylie has made a deal with several of his authors - including Saul Bellow, John Updike and Phillip Roth - to release their e-books exclusively on Amazon. Macmillan's John Sargent and Tyler Cowen react.
Picturing America is a website by The National Endowment for the Humanities which aims to make great American art readily available to children, adolescents and everyone else who wants to take a look. Some personal favorites: Charles Sheeler's American Landscape, Childe Hassam's Allies Day and Martin Puryear's Ladder for Booker T. Washington. John Updike gave a speech at the opening which can be read here. [via Edge of the American West]
John Updike writes about bizarre dinosaurs for National Geographic. "How weird might a human body look to them? That thin and featherless skin, that dish-flat face, that flaccid erectitude, those feeble, clawless five digits at the end of each limb, that ghastly utter lack of a tail—ugh. Whatever did this creature do to earn its place in the sun, a well-armored, nicely specialized dino might ask. " Besides the Updike essay there's a image gallery, an interview with John Updike [audio starts automatically], a dino IQ test, an audio critique of the way dinosaurs have been depicted in the latter half of the 20th Century [audio starts automatically], a closer look at the odder features of some of the stranger dinosaurs, an examination of the nigersaurus (images) as well as dinosaur wallpapers and jigsaw puzzles. [via MeFi's Own ed]
An interview with John Updike on Terrorist, his most recent novel. Some reviews: Kakutani, Donohue (USAToday), and fellow novelist Amitav Gosh (Wapo).
How I Met And Dated Miss Emily Dickinson: Have you ever wondered what a favourite writer really looked like? Is there any relationship between an artist's face and their art? Hemingway looks like his prose; Ezra Pound like his poetry; Picasso is a dead ringer for his paintings but, say, John Updike doesn't resemble his fiction; T.S.Eliot looks like a bank clerk and Matisse was nothing like his works. How superficial can you get? [Via Arts and Letters Daily.]