Pg. 472 of David Markson’s copy of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia:
     On which Markson placed two checks, and wrote a note.
     The first check is next to a mention of Swinburne’s masochistic tendencies (i.e. “he liked to be whipped by women and visited brothels for this purpose”).
     The second check is next to a mention of Sappho’s lover Anactoria (i.e. “a name from the Sapphic fragments”).
     At the bottom of the page, Markson reiterates this notion of Anactoria being a lover of Sappho by writing the simple equation:     “Anactoria = One of Sappho’s lovers.”
—
     I can’t seem to find any reference to Swinburne’s masochism in any of Markson’s texts, nor can I find any reference to his apparent brothel visits in them either, but there is a reference to the lover of Sappho from the above scan in Markson’s Reader’s Block.
     On pg. 171 of that book her name appears devoid of context:     “Anactoria.”
     Anactoria = One of Sappho’s lovers.
     “Anactoria.”
     A name from the Sapphic fragments.
     A name from the Marksonian fragments.

     Pg. 472 of David Markson’s copy of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia:

     On which Markson placed two checks, and wrote a note.

     The first check is next to a mention of Swinburne’s masochistic tendencies (i.e. “he liked to be whipped by women and visited brothels for this purpose”).

     The second check is next to a mention of Sappho’s lover Anactoria (i.e. “a name from the Sapphic fragments”).

     At the bottom of the page, Markson reiterates this notion of Anactoria being a lover of Sappho by writing the simple equation:
     “Anactoria = One of Sappho’s lovers.”

     I can’t seem to find any reference to Swinburne’s masochism in any of Markson’s texts, nor can I find any reference to his apparent brothel visits in them either, but there is a reference to the lover of Sappho from the above scan in Markson’s Reader’s Block.

     On pg. 171 of that book her name appears devoid of context:
     “Anactoria.”

     Anactoria = One of Sappho’s lovers.

     “Anactoria.”

     A name from the Sapphic fragments.

     A name from the Marksonian fragments.

     Pg. 479 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism by Various (Ed. Seon Givens):
     On which Markson placed checks in the margin next to various works on Joyce in the book’s bibliography. (Presumably next to the books he owned?)
     Also: On which Markson wrote next to a mention of William York Tindall’s Forces in Modern British Literature 1885-1946 (which I own Markson’s copy of):     “Also: James Joyce”
—
     On pg. 55 of David Markson’s Vanishing Point:     “There are no English critics of weight or judgment who consider Mr. Joyce an author of any importance.     Said Edmund Gosse, two years after the publication of Ulysses.”
     Just using Markson’s own personal library Edmund Gosse can be proven wrong.
     “I have a shelf and a half of Joyce scholarship.”     Explained Markson in an interview with Alexander Laurence.
     The Joyce Industry, even almost 90 years after the publication of Ulysses, is alive and well.     And there’s one major reason for that:
     “I have to say that Ulysses holds up: it’s a great book. Joyce does everything.”     Markson said further on in that Alexander Laurence interview.

     Pg. 479 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism by Various (Ed. Seon Givens):

     On which Markson placed checks in the margin next to various works on Joyce in the book’s bibliography. (Presumably next to the books he owned?)

     Also: On which Markson wrote next to a mention of William York Tindall’s Forces in Modern British Literature 1885-1946 (which I own Markson’s copy of):
     “Also: James Joyce

     On pg. 55 of David Markson’s Vanishing Point:
     “There are no English critics of weight or judgment who consider Mr. Joyce an author of any importance.
     Said Edmund Gosse, two years after the publication of Ulysses.”

     Just using Markson’s own personal library Edmund Gosse can be proven wrong.

     “I have a shelf and a half of Joyce scholarship.”
     Explained Markson in an interview with Alexander Laurence.

     The Joyce Industry, even almost 90 years after the publication of Ulysses, is alive and well.
     And there’s one major reason for that:

     “I have to say that Ulysses holds up: it’s a great book. Joyce does everything.”
     Markson said further on in that Alexander Laurence interview.

     Pg. 131 of David Markson’s copy of I, Michelangelo, Sculptor by Michelangelo:
     On which Markson wrote in the margins next to a mention in a letter of “Sebastiano”:     “(Sebastian del Piombo)”
—
     Sebastian del Piombo is mentioned in one of Markson’s books—also, no surprise, in relation to Michelangelo.
     On pg. 80 of Vanishing Point:     “Pope Leo X, to Sebastiano del Piombo, as to why he was holding off on commissions for Michelangelo:     There is absolutely no getting on with the man.”
     From pg. 192 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:     “Certainly I would have found it more than agreeable to shake Michelangelo’s hand, no matter how the pope or Louis Pasteur might have felt about this.     In fact I would have been excited just to see the hand that had taken away superfluous material in the way that Michelangelo had taken it away.     Actually, I would have been pleased to tell Michelangelo how fond I am of his sentence that I once underlined, too.     Perhaps I have not mentioned having once underlined a sentence by Michelangelo.     I once underlined a sentence by Michelangelo.     This was a sentence that Michelangelo once wrote in a letter, when he had lived almost seventy-five years.     You will say that I am old and mad, was what Michelangelo wrote, but I answer that there is no better way of being sane and free from anxiety than by being mad.     On my honor, Michelangelo once wrote that.     As a matter of fact I am next to positive I would have liked Michelangelo.”
     There is absolutely no getting on with the man.

     Pg. 131 of David Markson’s copy of I, Michelangelo, Sculptor by Michelangelo:

     On which Markson wrote in the margins next to a mention in a letter of “Sebastiano”:
     “(Sebastian del Piombo)”

     Sebastian del Piombo is mentioned in one of Markson’s books—also, no surprise, in relation to Michelangelo.

     On pg. 80 of Vanishing Point:
     “Pope Leo X, to Sebastiano del Piombo, as to why he was holding off on commissions for Michelangelo:
     There is absolutely no getting on with the man.”

     From pg. 192 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:
     “Certainly I would have found it more than agreeable to shake Michelangelo’s hand, no matter how the pope or Louis Pasteur might have felt about this.
     In fact I would have been excited just to see the hand that had taken away superfluous material in the way that Michelangelo had taken it away.
     Actually, I would have been pleased to tell Michelangelo how fond I am of his sentence that I once underlined, too.
     Perhaps I have not mentioned having once underlined a sentence by Michelangelo.
     I once underlined a sentence by Michelangelo.
     This was a sentence that Michelangelo once wrote in a letter, when he had lived almost seventy-five years.
     You will say that I am old and mad, was what Michelangelo wrote, but I answer that there is no better way of being sane and free from anxiety than by being mad.
     On my honor, Michelangelo once wrote that.
     As a matter of fact I am next to positive I would have liked Michelangelo.”

     There is absolutely no getting on with the man.

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy by William Barrett:
     On which Markson wrote his last name as an inscription, in addition to some squiggles and crosshatching.
—
     William Barrett (1913-1992) was an American existential philosopher.
     Interesting fact not found in Markson’s books, but feels like it should be:     William Barrett attended City College of New York when he was just 15 years old.
     Precocious little bugger, apparently.
     His one mention in Markson’s novels is a quote from Irrational Man, the book from which the above scan was taken, and the book for which William Barrett is best known:     “We all understand the meaning in ordinary life of the word is.     I remark to a neighbor, Today is Monday, and there are no questions asked, and none need to be asked, about the meaning of is.     Says William Barrett in a commentary on Heidegger.”     (Pg. 99 of Vanishing Point.)

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy by William Barrett:

     On which Markson wrote his last name as an inscription, in addition to some squiggles and crosshatching.

     William Barrett (1913-1992) was an American existential philosopher.

     Interesting fact not found in Markson’s books, but feels like it should be:
     William Barrett attended City College of New York when he was just 15 years old.

     Precocious little bugger, apparently.

     His one mention in Markson’s novels is a quote from Irrational Man, the book from which the above scan was taken, and the book for which William Barrett is best known:
     “We all understand the meaning in ordinary life of the word is.
     I remark to a neighbor, Today is Monday, and there are no questions asked, and none need to be asked, about the meaning of is.
     Says William Barrett in a commentary on Heidegger.”
     (Pg. 99 of Vanishing Point.)

     Pg. 180 of David Markson’s copy of Ezra Pound: Among the Poets by Various (Ed. George Bornstein):
     On which Markson placed a check next to the following:     “When Eliot died on 4 January 1965, Pound, old, sick, and poor, flew from Italy to attend the memorial service at Westminster Abbey. ‘Who is there now for me to share a joke with?’ he wrote in the Eliot memorial issue of the Sewanee Review.
—
     I’ve done a previous post where Markson, in another book, checked the same line from Pound:     “Who is there now for me to share a joke with?”
     It seems like such a perfect line for Markson to use in one of his last four novels, in his Notecard Quartet, yet surprisingly it is nowhere to be found in those four books.

     Pg. 180 of David Markson’s copy of Ezra Pound: Among the Poets by Various (Ed. George Bornstein):

     On which Markson placed a check next to the following:
     “When Eliot died on 4 January 1965, Pound, old, sick, and poor, flew from Italy to attend the memorial service at Westminster Abbey. ‘Who is there now for me to share a joke with?’ he wrote in the Eliot memorial issue of the Sewanee Review.

     I’ve done a previous post where Markson, in another book, checked the same line from Pound:
     “Who is there now for me to share a joke with?”

     It seems like such a perfect line for Markson to use in one of his last four novels, in his Notecard Quartet, yet surprisingly it is nowhere to be found in those four books.


     Pg. 393 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:
     On which Markson placed two checks in the margin next to a paragraph detailing the mutual admiration between Boris Pasternak and Rainer Maria Rilke and Marina Tsvetayeva.
—
     Markson makes one mention of the Pasternak-Rilke relationship, and one mention of the Tsvetayeva-Rilke relationship, in his Notecard Quartet.
     On pg. 20 of Reader’s Block there’s this tidbit about Pasternak’s love of Rilke:     “Boris Pasternak so admired Rilke that he carried two letters from him in his wallet for decades.”
     And then on pg. 169 of This Is Not A Novel, a quote from Tsvetayeva to Rilke:     “The kingdom of heaven, as described to Rilke by Marina Tsvetayeva after a lifetime of deprivation:      Never again to sweep floors.”
—
     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. 393 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:

     On which Markson placed two checks in the margin next to a paragraph detailing the mutual admiration between Boris Pasternak and Rainer Maria Rilke and Marina Tsvetayeva.

     Markson makes one mention of the Pasternak-Rilke relationship, and one mention of the Tsvetayeva-Rilke relationship, in his Notecard Quartet.

     On pg. 20 of Reader’s Block there’s this tidbit about Pasternak’s love of Rilke:
     “Boris Pasternak so admired Rilke that he carried two letters from him in his wallet for decades.”

     And then on pg. 169 of This Is Not A Novel, a quote from Tsvetayeva to Rilke:
     “The kingdom of heaven, as described to Rilke by Marina Tsvetayeva after a lifetime of deprivation:
     Never again to sweep floors.”

     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. 39 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:
     On which Markson placed a check next to mention of Rilke’s change of name:     “She refused to call him by the precious and feminine-sounding name of René, and used Rainer instead, a ‘plain, fine, German’ name which he adopted at once.”
—
    The she in this case being Lou Andreas-Salomé.
     Who is mentioned on pg. 89 of Markson’s novel Springer’s Progress, as part of a long list of women throughout the ages.
     And with whom René/Rainer had, according to the above scan, a relationship “like brother and sister, but from primeval times before incest became a sacrilege.”
     Before he became Rainer, did you know this about the “feminine-sounding” René?
     “Rilke was raised as a girl—in girl’s clothing—until he started school at the age of seven.”     According to pg. 8 of Markson’s The Last Novel.
     Markson then immediately follows that fact up with:     “The Rilke who would later devotedly collect lace.     And maintain apartments habitually overflowing with roses.”
     Yet also, the Rilke who changed his name from René to Rainer.
     At the behest of Lou Andreas-Salomé.
—
     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. 39 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:

     On which Markson placed a check next to mention of Rilke’s change of name:
     “She refused to call him by the precious and feminine-sounding name of René, and used Rainer instead, a ‘plain, fine, German’ name which he adopted at once.”

    The she in this case being Lou Andreas-Salomé.

     Who is mentioned on pg. 89 of Markson’s novel Springer’s Progress, as part of a long list of women throughout the ages.

     And with whom René/Rainer had, according to the above scan, a relationship “like brother and sister, but from primeval times before incest became a sacrilege.”

     Before he became Rainer, did you know this about the “feminine-sounding” René?

     “Rilke was raised as a girl—in girl’s clothing—until he started school at the age of seven.”
     According to pg. 8 of Markson’s The Last Novel.

     Markson then immediately follows that fact up with:
     “The Rilke who would later devotedly collect lace.
     And maintain apartments habitually overflowing with roses.”

     Yet also, the Rilke who changed his name from René to Rainer.

     At the behest of Lou Andreas-Salomé.

     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. 31 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:
     On which Markson left a check mark in the margin next to mention of Rilke’s introduction to the works of Jacobsen:     “To Wassermann also he owed his introduction to the works of Turgenev, and especially the Dane Jens Peter Jacobsen, the ‘lonely poet.’ Jacobsen remained for many years ‘a companion in spirit and a presence in the mind: it sometimes seemed to me an unbearable want that he should no longer be alive.’ In his ‘gentleness and secret lyrical tenderness,’ wrote Stefan Zweig, Jacobsen was the ‘poet of poets’ for a whole generation in Germany around the turn of the century, and the melancholy love-story Niels Lyhne their Werther.”
—
     In Reader’s Block on pg. 125, Markson writes:     “Niels Lyhne. Which Joyce, Ibsen, Hesse, Mann, Strindberg, Rilke, Freud, were all profound admirers of. Rilke calling all of Jacobsen’s work as indispensable to him as the Bible.”
     The only other mention of the “lonely poet” I can find in Markson’s tetralogy:     “Jens Peter Jacobsen died of tuberculosis.”     From pg. 81 of This Is Not A 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. 31 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:

     On which Markson left a check mark in the margin next to mention of Rilke’s introduction to the works of Jacobsen:
     “To Wassermann also he owed his introduction to the works of Turgenev, and especially the Dane Jens Peter Jacobsen, the ‘lonely poet.’ Jacobsen remained for many years ‘a companion in spirit and a presence in the mind: it sometimes seemed to me an unbearable want that he should no longer be alive.’ In his ‘gentleness and secret lyrical tenderness,’ wrote Stefan Zweig, Jacobsen was the ‘poet of poets’ for a whole generation in Germany around the turn of the century, and the melancholy love-story Niels Lyhne their Werther.”

     In Reader’s Block on pg. 125, Markson writes:
     “Niels Lyhne. Which Joyce, Ibsen, Hesse, Mann, Strindberg, Rilke, Freud, were all profound admirers of. Rilke calling all of Jacobsen’s work as indispensable to him as the Bible.”

     The only other mention of the “lonely poet” I can find in Markson’s tetralogy:
     “Jens Peter Jacobsen died of tuberculosis.”
     From pg. 81 of This Is Not A 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. 332 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:
     On which Markson placed a check in the margin next to some lines about Rilke’s appreciation for Valéry from the following paragraph:     “For that, the only gleam of light had come from his encounter, in February, with Paul Valéry’s ‘Cimetière Marin.’ He felt for the work of this poet an enthusiasm paralleled only by his admiration for Rodin, and at once made a translation of the poem, for himself and Merline. Coming in such perfection of form from one who, like himself, had ‘lived long with his poems’ before making them public, the ‘Cimetière marin’—celebration of the rebirth of inspiration and joyous affirmation of life—seemed to offer hope that he too might yet succeed in resolving the conflict between life and work, and learn to subordinate life’s dangers ‘like St. Hieronymous with the lion sleeping beside his desk.’”
—
     Cimetière marin.     Oft translated to:     The Graveyard by the Sea.
     The wind is rising! … We must try to live!     The huge air opens and shuts my book: the wave     Dares to explode out of the rocks in reeking     Spray. Fly away, my sun-bewildered pages!     Break, waves! Break up with your rejoicing surges     This quiet roof where sails like doves were pecking.  
     So reads the final stanza of that poem, as translated into English by C. Day Lewis.     So reads its end, its finish.
     “One does not finish a poem, one only abandons it.”      Is a line that pops up in Markson’s Reader’s Block on pg. 49.      Unattributed.
     “One does not finish a poem, one only abandons it.”     Is a quote from Valéry and perhaps explains why he “lived long with his poems,” according to the above scan.
     Yes, Valéry living long with his poems…
     In fact, as Markson explains on pg. 59 of This Is Not A Novel:     “For two decades, starting at twenty-five, Paul Valéry did not publish a line.”
     True, Valéry was something of a perfectionist.
     Which helps make sense of the following (that can be read on pg. 128 of Markson’s Reader’s Block):     “Valéry said he could never write a novel for one insurmountable reason. He would have to include sentences like The Marquise went out at five.”
     In an interview with Alexander Laurence, Markson reiterates this Valéry quote, and thoroughly agrees with it (and not only as a justification for not writing, but as one for not reading):     “But I don’t read fiction anymore because it bores me. It’s that line in Paul Valéry that’s quoted in Reader’s Block: He couldn’t write a novel because he couldn’t put down ‘The Marquis went out at five.’ The minute I read ‘Joe went walked across the street to say hello to Charlie’ I’m bored.”
     Fly away, my sun-bewildered pages!
—
     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. 332 of David Markson’s copy of A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke by Donald Prater:

     On which Markson placed a check in the margin next to some lines about Rilke’s appreciation for Valéry from the following paragraph:
     “For that, the only gleam of light had come from his encounter, in February, with Paul Valéry’s ‘Cimetière Marin.’ He felt for the work of this poet an enthusiasm paralleled only by his admiration for Rodin, and at once made a translation of the poem, for himself and Merline. Coming in such perfection of form from one who, like himself, had ‘lived long with his poems’ before making them public, the ‘Cimetière marin’—celebration of the rebirth of inspiration and joyous affirmation of life—seemed to offer hope that he too might yet succeed in resolving the conflict between life and work, and learn to subordinate life’s dangers ‘like St. Hieronymous with the lion sleeping beside his desk.’”

     Cimetière marin.
     Oft translated to:
     The Graveyard by the Sea.

     The wind is rising! … We must try to live!
     The huge air opens and shuts my book: the wave
     Dares to explode out of the rocks in reeking
     Spray. Fly away, my sun-bewildered pages!
     Break, waves! Break up with your rejoicing surges
     This quiet roof where sails like doves were pecking. 

     So reads the final stanza of that poem, as translated into English by C. Day Lewis.
     So reads its end, its finish.

     “One does not finish a poem, one only abandons it.”
     Is a line that pops up in Markson’s Reader’s Block on pg. 49.
     Unattributed.

     “One does not finish a poem, one only abandons it.”
     Is a quote from Valéry and perhaps explains why he “lived long with his poems,” according to the above scan.

     Yes, Valéry living long with his poems…

     In fact, as Markson explains on pg. 59 of This Is Not A Novel:
     “For two decades, starting at twenty-five, Paul Valéry did not publish a line.”

     True, Valéry was something of a perfectionist.

     Which helps make sense of the following (that can be read on pg. 128 of Markson’s Reader’s Block):
     “Valéry said he could never write a novel for one insurmountable reason. He would have to include sentences like The Marquise went out at five.”

     In an interview with Alexander Laurence, Markson reiterates this Valéry quote, and thoroughly agrees with it (and not only as a justification for not writing, but as one for not reading):
     “But I don’t read fiction anymore because it bores me. It’s that line in Paul Valéry that’s quoted in Reader’s Block: He couldn’t write a novel because he couldn’t put down ‘The Marquis went out at five.’ The minute I read ‘Joe went walked across the street to say hello to Charlie’ I’m bored.”

     Fly away, my sun-bewildered pages!

     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. 385 of David Markson’s copy of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia:
     On which Paglia, discussing the John Keats poem “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” wrote:     “The poem’s sexual personae puzzled me for a decade.”     To which Markson responded:     “A decade! Not nine years, not eleven?”
—
     Oh Markson, and his marginalia. It’s always funny to make note of the things he decided to take issue with.
     “The poem’s sexual personae puzzled me for a decade.”
     A decade! Not nine years, not eleven?
     The poem of which Paglia wrote, “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” is mentioned by Markson in one of his mid-career novels: Springer’s Progress.
     On pg. 66, he uses the Keats poem, and the female figure in the poem, to describe Jessica Cornford, the young girl who is the object of the titular Springer’s affections in his novel:     “Omophagic, only word for her labia. How’s he even remember, means eating raw flesh? Springer’s havocked.     ‘My God. La Belle Dame sans Merci. Inquisitors be after you.’     ‘What did I do?’     ‘Black Mass. Jessica the depraved prioress.’”
     Sexual personae.    

     Pg. 385 of David Markson’s copy of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia:

     On which Paglia, discussing the John Keats poem “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” wrote:
     “The poem’s sexual personae puzzled me for a decade.”
     To which Markson responded:
     “A decade! Not nine years, not eleven?”

     Oh Markson, and his marginalia. It’s always funny to make note of the things he decided to take issue with.

     “The poem’s sexual personae puzzled me for a decade.”

     A decade! Not nine years, not eleven?

     The poem of which Paglia wrote, “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” is mentioned by Markson in one of his mid-career novels: Springer’s Progress.

     On pg. 66, he uses the Keats poem, and the female figure in the poem, to describe Jessica Cornford, the young girl who is the object of the titular Springer’s affections in his novel:
     “Omophagic, only word for her labia. How’s he even remember, means eating raw flesh? Springer’s havocked.
     ‘My God. La Belle Dame sans Merci. Inquisitors be after you.’
     ‘What did I do?’
     ‘Black Mass. Jessica the depraved prioress.’”

     Sexual personae.