Marks of weakness: Marginalia and Comments 

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By oishanisengupta

Since I’ve just joined Team Marginalia, Laura said it might be useful for me to take a look at a few books and articles that discuss marginalia in general and Blake’s in particular. I’ve been browsing through them in the last couple of days and I thought others might find a few of their remarks about marginalia to be of interest. For instance, while Mark O’Connell’s article in the New Yorker ( considers the reader’s collaborative engagement with other readers a fundamental affordance of marginalia, he also emphasizes the intimate nature of marginalia as writing – the private, often perhaps emotional conversation between book and reader that it might be indecent to peep into. Jason Snart on the other hand views Blake’s marginalia as disruptive. The “mark” poses a challenge to the monolithic authority of the printed text, exposing its weakness and thereby opening it up for argument, discussion, appropriation and rejection (Jason Snart, The Torn Book 124). He focuses more on the competitive nature of marginalia rather than the qualities of affection and intimacy. Here are examples of cases where Blake agrees vehemently with the author and where he equally vehemently disagrees :

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