The first page of David Markson’s copy of Candor and Perversion: Literature, Education, and the Arts by Roger Shattuck:
     On which Markson wrote his last name as an inscription, and underlined it.
—
     Soon after Roger Shattuck died on December 8th, 2005, his colleague Harold Bloom said of his fellow critic: “He was an old-fashioned, in a good sense, man of letters. He incarnated his love for literature.”
     Same could have been said of David Markson, who died four and a half years later on June 4th, 2010.
     He was an old-fashioned, in a good sense, man of letters. He incarnated his love for literature.

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Candor and Perversion: Literature, Education, and the Arts by Roger Shattuck:

     On which Markson wrote his last name as an inscription, and underlined it.

     Soon after Roger Shattuck died on December 8th, 2005, his colleague Harold Bloom said of his fellow critic: “He was an old-fashioned, in a good sense, man of letters. He incarnated his love for literature.”

     Same could have been said of David Markson, who died four and a half years later on June 4th, 2010.

     He was an old-fashioned, in a good sense, man of letters. He incarnated his love for literature.

     Pg. 211 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:
     On which David Markson placed a check next to mention of Rainer Maria Rilke meeting Eleonora Duse:     “Carlo Placci came to spend a few weeks in Venice, and was instrumental in arranging an introduction to Eleonora Duse. He had long wanted to meet the great actress, dreamed even of seeing her one day in the dramatic poem The White Princess he had dedicated to her: but although opportunities could have been made, he had not pressed himself forward, and had continued to admire her from afar, not least, from the well-known story of her affair with D’Annunzio, as another in his Malte gallery of great women lovers.”
—
     Rilke “dreamed even of seeing her one day in the dramatic poem The White Princess.”
     This would never happen.
     “Eleonora Duse died of pneumonia. In Pittsburgh.”     According to pg. 20 of Markson’s This Is Not A Novel.
     “April 21, 1924, Eleonora Duse died on.”     According to pg. 131 of Markson’s The Last Novel.
—
     David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.

     Pg. 211 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:

     On which David Markson placed a check next to mention of Rainer Maria Rilke meeting Eleonora Duse:
     “Carlo Placci came to spend a few weeks in Venice, and was instrumental in arranging an introduction to Eleonora Duse. He had long wanted to meet the great actress, dreamed even of seeing her one day in the dramatic poem The White Princess he had dedicated to her: but although opportunities could have been made, he had not pressed himself forward, and had continued to admire her from afar, not least, from the well-known story of her affair with D’Annunzio, as another in his Malte gallery of great women lovers.”

     Rilke “dreamed even of seeing her one day in the dramatic poem The White Princess.”

     This would never happen.

     “Eleonora Duse died of pneumonia. In Pittsburgh.”
     According to pg. 20 of Markson’s This Is Not A Novel.

     “April 21, 1924, Eleonora Duse died on.”
     According to pg. 131 of Markson’s The Last Novel.

     David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.

     The first page / title page of David Markson’s copy of Satan in a Barrel and Other Early Stories by Malcolm Lowry:
     On which the editor of the collection, Sherrill E. Grace, presumably wrote Markson the inscription:     “For David     With love—          Sherrill          31/03/99.”
—
     Sherrill E. Grace, in addition to her great work on Malcolm Lowry and Margaret Atwood, actually wrote a short piece on Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress titled “Messages: Reading Wittgenstein’s Mistress.”
     Some excerpts from that piece will follow…
     “‘In the beginning,’ that is, on my first reading of David Markson’s fourth novel, I knew I was missing many of the messages. They were there before me all right—in the street, in the sand, on the page, and I thought I knew the language (both the signs and the game)—but I had little idea what they meant.”
     “Wittgenstein’s Mistress was a beautiful, an important book, a book that meant to mean (a book about meaning and the importance of making meaning) and, thus, a book to reward richly my subsequent readings.”
     “Kate’s mind is a storehouse of Wittgensteinian facts that she has some difficulty sorting into chronological or biographical categories.”
     “Choose almost any passage of Wittgenstein’s Mistress at random and you will discover that it operates through repetition: repetition of words, hence of syllables, sounds and stresses, repetition of phrases, grammatical constructions (or misconstructions), repetition of names, facts, descriptions, quotations, and, of course, repetition of events such as writing those messages, visiting Simon’s grave, going to Hisarlik, burning books page by page, leaving food for a cat in the Colosseum, bouncing tennis balls down…Small wonder Kate’s favorite composer is Bach; her monologue could be called the Wittgenstein Variations.”
     “After my first reading, I felt (as I suggested above) that in creating Kate, Markson had out-Mollied Joyce because his woman was so much more complex.”
     “My third reading of Wittgenstein’s Mistress only confirmed my belief that the entire text was somehow contained, adumbrated in its first sentence: ‘In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street.’”
     “The mystery story she gives us is, I would suggest, the very grail she is looking for: Dasein.”
     “Kate’s readers must be prepared to become her co-creators and co-curators.”
     “Markson’s Kate is waiting, still, time out of mind, for me to start reading again.”

     The first page / title page of David Markson’s copy of Satan in a Barrel and Other Early Stories by Malcolm Lowry:

     On which the editor of the collection, Sherrill E. Grace, presumably wrote Markson the inscription:
     “For David
     With love—
          Sherrill
          31/03/99.”

     Sherrill E. Grace, in addition to her great work on Malcolm Lowry and Margaret Atwood, actually wrote a short piece on Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress titled “Messages: Reading Wittgenstein’s Mistress.”

     Some excerpts from that piece will follow…

     “‘In the beginning,’ that is, on my first reading of David Markson’s fourth novel, I knew I was missing many of the messages. They were there before me all right—in the street, in the sand, on the page, and I thought I knew the language (both the signs and the game)—but I had little idea what they meant.”

     “Wittgenstein’s Mistress was a beautiful, an important book, a book that meant to mean (a book about meaning and the importance of making meaning) and, thus, a book to reward richly my subsequent readings.”

     “Kate’s mind is a storehouse of Wittgensteinian facts that she has some difficulty sorting into chronological or biographical categories.”

     “Choose almost any passage of Wittgenstein’s Mistress at random and you will discover that it operates through repetition: repetition of words, hence of syllables, sounds and stresses, repetition of phrases, grammatical constructions (or misconstructions), repetition of names, facts, descriptions, quotations, and, of course, repetition of events such as writing those messages, visiting Simon’s grave, going to Hisarlik, burning books page by page, leaving food for a cat in the Colosseum, bouncing tennis balls down…Small wonder Kate’s favorite composer is Bach; her monologue could be called the Wittgenstein Variations.”

     “After my first reading, I felt (as I suggested above) that in creating Kate, Markson had out-Mollied Joyce because his woman was so much more complex.”

     “My third reading of Wittgenstein’s Mistress only confirmed my belief that the entire text was somehow contained, adumbrated in its first sentence: ‘In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street.’”

     “The mystery story she gives us is, I would suggest, the very grail she is looking for: Dasein.”

     “Kate’s readers must be prepared to become her co-creators and co-curators.”

     “Markson’s Kate is waiting, still, time out of mind, for me to start reading again.”

     The second page of the Table of Contents of David Markson’s copy of Tevye’s Daughters: Collected Stories of Sholom Aleichem by Sholom Aleichem:
     On which Markson has placed two dashes/marks in the margin next to two stories:     1) “Tevye Goes to Palestine”     2) “Get Thee Out”
—
     Both of these stories feature the character Tevye the Milkman.
     Yes, also of The Fiddler on the Roof fame.     (The landmark Broadway musical was based on Sholom Aleichem’s stories.)
     Otherwise known as:     “Tevya der Milchiger”     A name mentioned on pg. 49 of Markson’s novel Reader’s Block.

     The second page of the Table of Contents of David Markson’s copy of Tevye’s Daughters: Collected Stories of Sholom Aleichem by Sholom Aleichem:

     On which Markson has placed two dashes/marks in the margin next to two stories:
     1) “Tevye Goes to Palestine”
     2) “Get Thee Out”

     Both of these stories feature the character Tevye the Milkman.

     Yes, also of The Fiddler on the Roof fame.
     (The landmark Broadway musical was based on Sholom Aleichem’s stories.)

     Otherwise known as:
     “Tevya der Milchiger”
     A name mentioned on pg. 49 of Markson’s novel Reader’s Block.

     Pg. 257 of David Markson’s copy of The Complete Greek Drama: Volume Two by Various (Ed. Whitney J. Oates & Eugene O’Neill, Jr.):
     On which Markson placed a check next to and underlined a stage direction in Euripides’ The Bacchae:     “(who during the rest of this scene, with a few exceptions, simply speaks the thoughts that Dionysus puts into him, losing power over his own mind)”
     In addition to some other underlining of lines by Dionysus and Pentheus.
—
     Speaking of Dionysus putting thoughts into one’s head and losing power over one’s own mind…
     “The myth that Dionysus invented wine.      On Mount Nysa.      In Libya.”     Wrote Markson on pg. 163 of Vanishing Point.

     Pg. 257 of David Markson’s copy of The Complete Greek Drama: Volume Two by Various (Ed. Whitney J. Oates & Eugene O’Neill, Jr.):

     On which Markson placed a check next to and underlined a stage direction in Euripides’ The Bacchae:
     “(who during the rest of this scene, with a few exceptions, simply speaks the thoughts that Dionysus puts into him, losing power over his own mind)”

     In addition to some other underlining of lines by Dionysus and Pentheus.

     Speaking of Dionysus putting thoughts into one’s head and losing power over one’s own mind…

     “The myth that Dionysus invented wine.
     On Mount Nysa.
     In Libya.”
     Wrote Markson on pg. 163 of Vanishing Point.

     Pg. 55 of David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner:
     On which Markson placed a line in the margin next to part of a quote from poet Wallace Stevens on his contemporary William Carlos Williams:     “I have not read Paterson. I have the greatest respect for him, although there is the contrast difficulty that he is more interested in the way of saying things than in what he has to say. The fact remains that we are always fundamentally interested in what a writer has to say. When we are sure of that, we pay attention to the way in which he says it, not often before.”
     And then Markson puts a squiggle to the sentence that Kenner writes in response to Stevens’ reading of Williams:     “This is one of the most extraordinary misunderstandings in literary history.”
—
     So what does Markson think of “one of the most extraordinary misunderstandings in literary history”?
     Where would Markson stand in a Stevens v. Williams deathmatch?
     Well, though we should be careful not to completely conflate the “Novelist” persona in The Last Novel with Markson himself, there are obvious points of similarity between character and author, and the Novelist might offer a point of entry into the novelist’s (Markson’s) thoughts on Wallace Stevens:     The Novelist in The Last Novel (and perhaps Markson himself) thought this of Stevens:     “Wondering if there can be any other ranking twentieth-century American poet whose body of work contains even half the percentage of pure drivel as Wallace Stevens’.” (Pg. 109)
     And yet, Markson’s thoughts on William Carlos Williams also seem to be less than enthusiastic—and we don’t have to use the filter of one of his characters to discover his thoughts here:     On another page in this Hugh Kenner book, once owned by David Markson, Markson wrote in the margin his thoughts on William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore:     “Not if your poetry is not very good—which theirs isn’t.”
     “Tell me honestly, Cal. Am I as good a poet as Shelley?     Asked William Carlos Williams, not long before his death, of Robert Lowell.”     An anecdote found on pg. 178 of The Last Novel.
     Makes me imagine my own scene of WCW on his deathbed:     “Tell me honestly, Dave. Am I as good a poet as Stevens?     Asked William Carlos Williams, not long before his death, of David Markson.”     What would Markson have said?
—
     David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.

     Pg. 55 of David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner:

     On which Markson placed a line in the margin next to part of a quote from poet Wallace Stevens on his contemporary William Carlos Williams:
     “I have not read Paterson. I have the greatest respect for him, although there is the contrast difficulty that he is more interested in the way of saying things than in what he has to say. The fact remains that we are always fundamentally interested in what a writer has to say. When we are sure of that, we pay attention to the way in which he says it, not often before.”

     And then Markson puts a squiggle to the sentence that Kenner writes in response to Stevens’ reading of Williams:
     “This is one of the most extraordinary misunderstandings in literary history.”

     So what does Markson think of “one of the most extraordinary misunderstandings in literary history”?

     Where would Markson stand in a Stevens v. Williams deathmatch?

     Well, though we should be careful not to completely conflate the “Novelist” persona in The Last Novel with Markson himself, there are obvious points of similarity between character and author, and the Novelist might offer a point of entry into the novelist’s (Markson’s) thoughts on Wallace Stevens:
     The Novelist in The Last Novel (and perhaps Markson himself) thought this of Stevens:
     “Wondering if there can be any other ranking twentieth-century American poet whose body of work contains even half the percentage of pure drivel as Wallace Stevens’.” (Pg. 109)

     And yet, Markson’s thoughts on William Carlos Williams also seem to be less than enthusiastic—and we don’t have to use the filter of one of his characters to discover his thoughts here:
     On another page in this Hugh Kenner book, once owned by David Markson, Markson wrote in the margin his thoughts on William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore:
     “Not if your poetry is not very good—which theirs isn’t.”

     “Tell me honestly, Cal. Am I as good a poet as Shelley?
     Asked William Carlos Williams, not long before his death, of Robert Lowell.”
     An anecdote found on pg. 178 of The Last Novel.

     Makes me imagine my own scene of WCW on his deathbed:
     “Tell me honestly, Dave. Am I as good a poet as Stevens?
     Asked William Carlos Williams, not long before his death, of David Markson.”
     What would Markson have said?

     David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.

     Pg. 164 of David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner:
     On which Markson placed a check next to a mention of writer Louis Zukofsky.
—
     Louis Zukofsky was an American poet, born just a few months before fictional Leopold Bloom took his fictional stroll.
     Zukofsky, born Jan 23rd, 1904, and died May 12th, 1978, is probably best remembered for his long poem "A".
     "A" is an 826-page poem that took Zukofsky pretty much his entire lifetime to complete.
     He seems like just the kind of interesting yet underappreciated and oft-overlooked writer that Markson would have found things to say about in his Notecard Quartet.
     To my surprise, Zukofsky was not written about anywhere in Markson’s books.
     In fact, the only spot where he appears in any of Markson’s novels are his mentions at the very back of the book in Markson’s two Dalkey Archive releases. And this is solely because in the back of their publications Dalkey has a page of “Selected Dalkey Archive Paperbacks” and Louis Zukofsky’s Collected Fictions is one of those listed.
     But in Markson’s actual writing, he is conspicuously absent.
—
     David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.

     Pg. 164 of David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner:

     On which Markson placed a check next to a mention of writer Louis Zukofsky.

     Louis Zukofsky was an American poet, born just a few months before fictional Leopold Bloom took his fictional stroll.

     Zukofsky, born Jan 23rd, 1904, and died May 12th, 1978, is probably best remembered for his long poem "A".

     "A" is an 826-page poem that took Zukofsky pretty much his entire lifetime to complete.

     He seems like just the kind of interesting yet underappreciated and oft-overlooked writer that Markson would have found things to say about in his Notecard Quartet.

     To my surprise, Zukofsky was not written about anywhere in Markson’s books.

     In fact, the only spot where he appears in any of Markson’s novels are his mentions at the very back of the book in Markson’s two Dalkey Archive releases. And this is solely because in the back of their publications Dalkey has a page of “Selected Dalkey Archive Paperbacks” and Louis Zukofsky’s Collected Fictions is one of those listed.

     But in Markson’s actual writing, he is conspicuously absent.

     David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.

     Pg. 259 of David Markson’s copy of Pasternak: A Biography by Ronald Hingley:
     On which David Markson placed two lines and a check in the margin next to the following paragraph re: how compared to other Russian writers Pasternak didn’t have it so rough:     “Akhmatova was to carry her resentment of Pasternak beyond the grave. Shortly after his death she exploded with indignation on hearing one of his admirers describe him as a martyr to persecution. This was stuff and nonsense, she told Chukovskaya. Far from being a sacrificial victim, Boris Leonidovich had been extraordinarily lucky. His temperament had ensured that he always enjoyed himself in any circumstances whatever. Almost all his writings achieved publication in the Soviet Union or abroad, and the rest had been eagerly passed from hand to hand in manuscript. Pasternak had always had money; Akhmatova had long been desperately poor. Neither of Pasternak’s sons had ever been arrested; Akhmatova’s son had served long terms in labour camps. One had only to compare Pasternak’s fate with Mandelstam’s and Tsvetayeva’s to see how fortunate he had been. And Chukovskaya could not help reflecting that Pasternak’s sufferings over the Nobel Prize affair had been a mere ‘butterflies’ duel’ in comparison with the persecution of Akhmatova and of Zoshchenko from 1946 onwards.”
—-
     The “Nobel Prize affair” mentioned in the marked paragraph is in reference to Pasternak receiving the prize in 1958, and his subsequent threatening by the Soviet government to the point that he was forced to renounce the prize.
     As Markson puts it in Vanishing Point on pg. 87:     “A reactionary bourgeois award, Pravda called Pasternak’s Nobel Prize.     Which he was forced to decline.”
     And yet, Ahkmatova is right.     Sure, Pasternak didn’t necessarily have it easy—no one would say having to renounce one of the most prestigious awards in the world is easy—but compared to most other Russian writers of the time period, it’s tough to see him as “a martyr to persecution.”
     “The myriad Anna Akhmatova poems, written over decades, which she or friends were forced to immediately memorize.     Because under Soviet rule she was afraid to put them on paper.”     Markson explains on pg. 152 of Vanishing Point.
     On pg. 26 of the same book:     “The fact that Isaac Babel was executed in a Moscow prison cellar.     The strong possibility that the manuscript of a novel confiscated at his arrest still exists in Stalin-era files.”
     Also in Vanishing Point, on pg. 60, Markson makes mention of “the first time Osip Mandelstam was arrested by Soviet authorities.”     The operative word, of course, being first.
     “Osip Mandelstam once wrote a poem criticizing Stalin.     And died in a Gulag.”     Markson quite succinctly put it in This Is Not A Novel on pg. 28.
     Also in that book, on pg. 55:     “In his mid-twenties, Joseph Brodsky was sentenced to five years shoveling manure at the White Sea for what the Soviet Union saw as social parasitism.”
     And on pg. 85 of same:     “Meyerhold was executed by the Soviets.”
     Pg. 10 of This Is Not A Novel also questions the death of Gorky:     “Maxim Gorky died of tuberculosis.     Or was he ordered murdered by Stalin?”
     “Imperialist bourgeois and decadent counterrevolutionary tendencies.     Both Shostakovich and Prokofiev were accused of at one time or another by Soviet authorities.”     Markson writes in The Last Novel, on pg. 19.
     “Through much of her life, Marina Tsvetayeva was forced to endure practically a beggar’s existence. And with her nearest relatives repeatedly imprisoned.     Akhmatova fared little better, confronted by the same family jailings, often subsisting for long periods on little more than black bread.”     Wrote Markson on pg. 53 of Reader’s Block.
    A few pages before that, on 51, a mention of Mandelstam in the Soviet camps:    “Convinced he was being poisoned, Osip Mandelstam may have sometimes stolen food from other inmates in his Soviet prison camp. And been beaten for it. At the end he survived on scraps from a garbage heap.”
     “D. S. Mirsky died in Siberia in one of Stalin’s purges.”     Markson wrote in Reader’s Block on pg. 59.
     On pg. 91 of the same book:     “Irina Ratushinskaya. At twenty-eight, as late as in 1982, sentenced to seven years in the strictest of Russian prison camps.     For writing verse deemed unsuitable to the state.”
     A few pages later on 105:     “Hayim Lenski died of starvation in a Soviet labor camp. Sent there for having written poems in Hebrew.”
     Further on in Reader’s Block on pg. 151:     “Isaac Babel disappeared in one of Stalin’s purges. Nothing whatsoever is known about his death.     Conversely, orders allegedly given by Stalin in regard to Pasternak: Don’t touch the cloud-dweller.”
     “Cloud-dweller.”      Possibly a reference to Pasternak’s poetry collection Twin in the Clouds.     In addition, obviously, to the “head in the clouds” lyrical romantic poet implication.
     The cloud-dweller “a martyr to persecution”?
     I think I’d go with Ahkmatova on this one:     Stuff and nonsense.

     Pg. 259 of David Markson’s copy of Pasternak: A Biography by Ronald Hingley:

     On which David Markson placed two lines and a check in the margin next to the following paragraph re: how compared to other Russian writers Pasternak didn’t have it so rough:
     “Akhmatova was to carry her resentment of Pasternak beyond the grave. Shortly after his death she exploded with indignation on hearing one of his admirers describe him as a martyr to persecution. This was stuff and nonsense, she told Chukovskaya. Far from being a sacrificial victim, Boris Leonidovich had been extraordinarily lucky. His temperament had ensured that he always enjoyed himself in any circumstances whatever. Almost all his writings achieved publication in the Soviet Union or abroad, and the rest had been eagerly passed from hand to hand in manuscript. Pasternak had always had money; Akhmatova had long been desperately poor. Neither of Pasternak’s sons had ever been arrested; Akhmatova’s son had served long terms in labour camps. One had only to compare Pasternak’s fate with Mandelstam’s and Tsvetayeva’s to see how fortunate he had been. And Chukovskaya could not help reflecting that Pasternak’s sufferings over the Nobel Prize affair had been a mere ‘butterflies’ duel’ in comparison with the persecution of Akhmatova and of Zoshchenko from 1946 onwards.”

—-

     The “Nobel Prize affair” mentioned in the marked paragraph is in reference to Pasternak receiving the prize in 1958, and his subsequent threatening by the Soviet government to the point that he was forced to renounce the prize.

     As Markson puts it in Vanishing Point on pg. 87:
     “A reactionary bourgeois award, Pravda called Pasternak’s Nobel Prize.
     Which he was forced to decline.”

     And yet, Ahkmatova is right.
     Sure, Pasternak didn’t necessarily have it easy—no one would say having to renounce one of the most prestigious awards in the world is easy—but compared to most other Russian writers of the time period, it’s tough to see him as “a martyr to persecution.”

     “The myriad Anna Akhmatova poems, written over decades, which she or friends were forced to immediately memorize.
     Because under Soviet rule she was afraid to put them on paper.”
     Markson explains on pg. 152 of Vanishing Point.

     On pg. 26 of the same book:
     “The fact that Isaac Babel was executed in a Moscow prison cellar.
     The strong possibility that the manuscript of a novel confiscated at his arrest still exists in Stalin-era files.”

     Also in Vanishing Point, on pg. 60, Markson makes mention of “the first time Osip Mandelstam was arrested by Soviet authorities.”
     The operative word, of course, being first.

     “Osip Mandelstam once wrote a poem criticizing Stalin.
     And died in a Gulag.”
     Markson quite succinctly put it in This Is Not A Novel on pg. 28.

     Also in that book, on pg. 55:
     “In his mid-twenties, Joseph Brodsky was sentenced to five years shoveling manure at the White Sea for what the Soviet Union saw as social parasitism.”

     And on pg. 85 of same:
     “Meyerhold was executed by the Soviets.”

     Pg. 10 of This Is Not A Novel also questions the death of Gorky:
     “Maxim Gorky died of tuberculosis.
     Or was he ordered murdered by Stalin?”

     “Imperialist bourgeois and decadent counterrevolutionary tendencies.
     Both Shostakovich and Prokofiev were accused of at one time or another by Soviet authorities.”
     Markson writes in The Last Novel, on pg. 19.

     “Through much of her life, Marina Tsvetayeva was forced to endure practically a beggar’s existence. And with her nearest relatives repeatedly imprisoned.
     Akhmatova fared little better, confronted by the same family jailings, often subsisting for long periods on little more than black bread.”
     Wrote Markson on pg. 53 of Reader’s Block.

    A few pages before that, on 51, a mention of Mandelstam in the Soviet camps:
    “Convinced he was being poisoned, Osip Mandelstam may have sometimes stolen food from other inmates in his Soviet prison camp. And been beaten for it. At the end he survived on scraps from a garbage heap.”

     “D. S. Mirsky died in Siberia in one of Stalin’s purges.”
     Markson wrote in Reader’s Block on pg. 59.

     On pg. 91 of the same book:
     “Irina Ratushinskaya. At twenty-eight, as late as in 1982, sentenced to seven years in the strictest of Russian prison camps.
     For writing verse deemed unsuitable to the state.”

     A few pages later on 105:
     “Hayim Lenski died of starvation in a Soviet labor camp. Sent there for having written poems in Hebrew.”

     Further on in Reader’s Block on pg. 151:
     “Isaac Babel disappeared in one of Stalin’s purges. Nothing whatsoever is known about his death.
     Conversely, orders allegedly given by Stalin in regard to Pasternak: Don’t touch the cloud-dweller.”

     “Cloud-dweller.”
     Possibly a reference to Pasternak’s poetry collection Twin in the Clouds.
     In addition, obviously, to the “head in the clouds” lyrical romantic poet implication.

     The cloud-dweller “a martyr to persecution”?

     I think I’d go with Ahkmatova on this one:
     Stuff and nonsense.

     Pg. 73 of David Markson’s copy of Picturing Will by Ann Beattie:
     On which Markson placed a check in the margins next to the first mention of a character who shares his last name:     “History was personified in the form of Luther, a.k.a. Jake Markson from Brooklyn, an overweight overachiever from the Queens College art program whose talent Haveabud knew he could market.”
—
     Ann Beattie wrote:     “No one but Beckett can be quite as sad and funny at the same time as Markson can.”     Only here she is not referring to her character in Picturing Will, but actually to David Markson.
     They were close.
     In fact, she was one of the first people to read Wittgenstein’s Mistress before it was published, as it was being rejected left and right.
     In an interview on The Leonard Lopate Show, Beattie was asked about her falling in love Wittgenstein’s Mistress, and she responded:     “Falling in love is a perfectly okay way to talk about it because in a way the book is an enormous seduction. You know as another writer occasionally you read something that just comes so much from somewhere else that it really just blows you away. You think, you know, this isn’t even any standard to aspire to—I mean this really has nothing to do with what I’ve been reading for most of my life. I think more than just falling in love with it, or whatever, though—and I don’t mean to say this kept me removed from the book—but there was a kind of writerly awe that anybody would dare to be so uncompromising.”

     Pg. 73 of David Markson’s copy of Picturing Will by Ann Beattie:

     On which Markson placed a check in the margins next to the first mention of a character who shares his last name:
     “History was personified in the form of Luther, a.k.a. Jake Markson from Brooklyn, an overweight overachiever from the Queens College art program whose talent Haveabud knew he could market.”

     Ann Beattie wrote:
     “No one but Beckett can be quite as sad and funny at the same time as Markson can.”
     Only here she is not referring to her character in Picturing Will, but actually to David Markson.

     They were close.

     In fact, she was one of the first people to read Wittgenstein’s Mistress before it was published, as it was being rejected left and right.

     In an interview on The Leonard Lopate Show, Beattie was asked about her falling in love Wittgenstein’s Mistress, and she responded:
     “Falling in love is a perfectly okay way to talk about it because in a way the book is an enormous seduction. You know as another writer occasionally you read something that just comes so much from somewhere else that it really just blows you away. You think, you know, this isn’t even any standard to aspire to—I mean this really has nothing to do with what I’ve been reading for most of my life. I think more than just falling in love with it, or whatever, though—and I don’t mean to say this kept me removed from the book—but there was a kind of writerly awe that anybody would dare to be so uncompromising.”

     Pg. 252 of David Markson’s copy of Eating of the Gods by Jan Kott:
     On which Markson has placed a line in the margin next to a paragraph about Electra.
—
     “Electra is a king’s daughter, deprived of all the privileges of her birth and station.”     So the paragraph that Markson marked in the margins in the above scan begins…
     Electra…
     Markson lists her in his list of archetypal women that constitutes chapter 23 of part 2 of Springer’s Progress.
     In Wittgenstein’s Mistress, Markson has Kate say:     “Poor Electra. To wish to murder one’s own mother.” (Pg. 25)
     “Electra has been placed in an enforced situation, having to make the fundamental choice between total acceptance and total refusal; acceptance of her fate, or refusal to accept it; acceptance of a world in which her mother has murdered her father, or rejection of that world with all the consequences of such a decision.”     From the above scan.
     Electra.
     Poor Electra. To wish to murder one’s own mother.
     On pgs. 197-198 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:     “Daddy murdered our sister to raise wind for his silly ships, being what any person in her right mind must surely imagine that Electra and Orestes would have thought.     Mommy murdered our daddy, being all that they think in the play instead.     Moreover in this case there are plays by Aeschylus and Sophocles as well, even before Euripides.     Nonetheless one is still categorically forced to believe that Electra and Orestes would have never felt that way in the least.     In fact what I have more than once suspected is that the whole story about the two of them taking their own revenge on Clytemnestra was another lie altogether. More than likely all three of them together would have felt nothing except good riddance.     Or certainly once the bathroom had been cleaned up.     And then lived happily ever after, even.”
     “Electra, in blue jeans.     Which is not from a Yannis Ritsos poem.”     - Markson, Vanishing Point, pg. 71.
     “As a matter of fact what I would now be perfectly willing to wager is not only that Clytemnestra and Electra and Orestes lived happily together ever after, but that Cassandra eventually even came to be thought of as one of the family herself.     Moreover I can even further imagine all four of them happily traipsing off now and again to visit Helen, once all of this had been settled.”     - Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress, pgs. 198-199.

     Pg. 252 of David Markson’s copy of Eating of the Gods by Jan Kott:

     On which Markson has placed a line in the margin next to a paragraph about Electra.

     “Electra is a king’s daughter, deprived of all the privileges of her birth and station.”
     So the paragraph that Markson marked in the margins in the above scan begins…

     Electra…

     Markson lists her in his list of archetypal women that constitutes chapter 23 of part 2 of Springer’s Progress.

     In Wittgenstein’s Mistress, Markson has Kate say:
     “Poor Electra. To wish to murder one’s own mother.” (Pg. 25)

     “Electra has been placed in an enforced situation, having to make the fundamental choice between total acceptance and total refusal; acceptance of her fate, or refusal to accept it; acceptance of a world in which her mother has murdered her father, or rejection of that world with all the consequences of such a decision.”
     From the above scan.

     Electra.

     Poor Electra. To wish to murder one’s own mother.

     On pgs. 197-198 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:
     “Daddy murdered our sister to raise wind for his silly ships, being what any person in her right mind must surely imagine that Electra and Orestes would have thought.
     Mommy murdered our daddy, being all that they think in the play instead.
     Moreover in this case there are plays by Aeschylus and Sophocles as well, even before Euripides.
     Nonetheless one is still categorically forced to believe that Electra and Orestes would have never felt that way in the least.
     In fact what I have more than once suspected is that the whole story about the two of them taking their own revenge on Clytemnestra was another lie altogether. More than likely all three of them together would have felt nothing except good riddance.
     Or certainly once the bathroom had been cleaned up.
     And then lived happily ever after, even.”

     “Electra, in blue jeans.
     Which is not from a Yannis Ritsos poem.”
     - Markson, Vanishing Point, pg. 71.

     “As a matter of fact what I would now be perfectly willing to wager is not only that Clytemnestra and Electra and Orestes lived happily together ever after, but that Cassandra eventually even came to be thought of as one of the family herself.
     Moreover I can even further imagine all four of them happily traipsing off now and again to visit Helen, once all of this had been settled.”
     - Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress, pgs. 198-199.