The first page of David Markson’s copy of the Iliad by Homer:
     On which Markson wrote as an inscription:     “Markson     —-Nyc”
—
     “Why does Writer sometimes seem to admire the Iliad even more when he is thinking about it than when he is actually reading it?”     - David Markson, This Is Not A Novel, pg. 119.
     “There are 16,696 lines in the Iliad.”      - David Markson, Vanishing Point, pg. 74.
     “The twenty-four letters of the Greek alphabet. Ergo, the twenty-four books of the Iliad and of the Odyssey.     Arranged by editors at Alexandria centuries after the fact.”     - David Markson, Vanishing Point, pg. 65.
     “There seemed no point whatsoever in mentioning any of this. Even if it happens that Alexander the Great always kept a copy of the Iliad right next to his bed, and actually believed that he was directly descended from Achilles.”     - David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress, pg. 98.
     “Wherever conquest led him, Alexander the Great made it a point to have botanical specimens sent back to Aristotle, who had been his tutor. A copy of the Iliad that he carried in a jeweled chest contained emendations in Aristotle’s handwriting.”     - David Markson, Reader’s Block, pg. 12.
     “Like Alexander with the Iliad, Napoleon carried a copy of Plutarch’s Lives with him eternally.”     - David Markson, Vanishing Point, pg. 48.
     Unlike Alexander, I doubt Markson carried his copy of the Iliad around with him. But it’s nice to know he had a copy. Not like we couldn’t already assume that though. Especially seeing how often it is referenced in his novels.

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of the Iliad by Homer:

     On which Markson wrote as an inscription:
     “Markson
     —-Nyc”

     “Why does Writer sometimes seem to admire the Iliad even more when he is thinking about it than when he is actually reading it?”
     - David Markson, This Is Not A Novel, pg. 119.

     “There are 16,696 lines in the Iliad.”
     - David Markson, Vanishing Point, pg. 74.

     “The twenty-four letters of the Greek alphabet. Ergo, the twenty-four books of the Iliad and of the Odyssey.
     Arranged by editors at Alexandria centuries after the fact.”
     - David Markson, Vanishing Point, pg. 65.

     “There seemed no point whatsoever in mentioning any of this. Even if it happens that Alexander the Great always kept a copy of the Iliad right next to his bed, and actually believed that he was directly descended from Achilles.”
     - David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress, pg. 98.

     “Wherever conquest led him, Alexander the Great made it a point to have botanical specimens sent back to Aristotle, who had been his tutor. A copy of the Iliad that he carried in a jeweled chest contained emendations in Aristotle’s handwriting.”
     - David Markson, Reader’s Block, pg. 12.

     “Like Alexander with the Iliad, Napoleon carried a copy of Plutarch’s Lives with him eternally.”
     - David Markson, Vanishing Point, pg. 48.

     Unlike Alexander, I doubt Markson carried his copy of the Iliad around with him. But it’s nice to know he had a copy. Not like we couldn’t already assume that though. Especially seeing how often it is referenced in his novels.

     The inside front cover and first page of David Markson’s copy of The World of Odysseus by M. I. Finley:
     On which Markson wrote his last name as an inscription, in addition to the city in which the book was purchased, “NYC.”
—
     The world of Odysseus.
     The world of Ulysses.
     The world of Odysseus and Ulysses is mentioned throughout Markson’s novels.
     “Possibly I should point out that Odysseus and Ulysses were the same person. For some reason the Romans changed his name.”     - David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress, pg. 82.

     The inside front cover and first page of David Markson’s copy of The World of Odysseus by M. I. Finley:

     On which Markson wrote his last name as an inscription, in addition to the city in which the book was purchased, “NYC.”

     The world of Odysseus.

     The world of Ulysses.

     The world of Odysseus and Ulysses is mentioned throughout Markson’s novels.

     “Possibly I should point out that Odysseus and Ulysses were the same person. For some reason the Romans changed his name.”
     - David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress, pg. 82.

     Pg. 376 of David Markson’s copy of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia:
     On which Markson responds to Camille Paglia writing:     “I have seen with my own eye the humiliating changes life works on the personality of high glamour.”     By writing in the margin the following:     “You have, truly? Golly!”
—
     Sometimes with Markson marginalia, all you can do is smile.
     And I certainly did smile when I found this gem.
     Luckily ole Jean-Louis André Théodore Géricault wasn’t near me when I read it.
     “Géricault’s intensity when at work on The Raft of the Medusa:     The mere sound of a smile could prevent him from painting, someone said.”     - Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 56.
     The sound of a smile?
     Golly.

     Pg. 376 of David Markson’s copy of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia:

     On which Markson responds to Camille Paglia writing:
     “I have seen with my own eye the humiliating changes life works on the personality of high glamour.”
     By writing in the margin the following:
     “You have, truly? Golly!”

     Sometimes with Markson marginalia, all you can do is smile.

     And I certainly did smile when I found this gem.

     Luckily ole Jean-Louis André Théodore Géricault wasn’t near me when I read it.

     “Géricault’s intensity when at work on The Raft of the Medusa:
     The mere sound of a smile could prevent him from painting, someone said.”
     - Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 56.

     The sound of a smile?

     Golly.

     The inside front cover of David Markson’s copy of The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature by Gilbert Highet:
     On which Markson wrote as an inscription:     “David M Markson      Columbia University—1951”
—
     Markson bought this book while getting his Masters at Columbia University.
     During this time he was writing his master’s thesis on Malcolm Lowry, which would later be published as the book: Malcolm Lowry’s Volcano: Myth Symbol Meaning.
     “When David Markson first wrote to Lowry on 3 June 1951, he was working on his master’s thesis at Columbia University, and his subject was Under the Volcano. He explained that he was ‘23, a foetal artist,’ and had read Lowry’s book three times before daring to write.”     So says pg. 398 of Sursum Corda!: The Collected Letters of Malcolm Lowry, Pt. 2.
     Notice that the year Markson wrote Lowry, 1951, is also the same year he picked up Gilbert Highet’s The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature.
     Was Highet’s treatise on Greek and Roman influences on Western literature perhaps research for reading and analyzing Lowry?

     The inside front cover of David Markson’s copy of The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature by Gilbert Highet:

     On which Markson wrote as an inscription:
     “David M Markson
      Columbia University—1951”

     Markson bought this book while getting his Masters at Columbia University.

     During this time he was writing his master’s thesis on Malcolm Lowry, which would later be published as the book: Malcolm Lowry’s Volcano: Myth Symbol Meaning.

     “When David Markson first wrote to Lowry on 3 June 1951, he was working on his master’s thesis at Columbia University, and his subject was Under the Volcano. He explained that he was ‘23, a foetal artist,’ and had read Lowry’s book three times before daring to write.”
     So says pg. 398 of Sursum Corda!: The Collected Letters of Malcolm Lowry, Pt. 2.

     Notice that the year Markson wrote Lowry, 1951, is also the same year he picked up Gilbert Highet’s The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature.

     Was Highet’s treatise on Greek and Roman influences on Western literature perhaps research for reading and analyzing Lowry?

     Pg. 199 of David Markson’s copy of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia:
     On which Markson responds to a mention of Patrick Dennis’ Auntie Mame by asking in the margins:     “Yeah, but is the book (play?) any good?”
—
     Though now mostly forgotten, in 1955, Patrick Dennis’ novel Auntie Mame set records on the New York Times bestseller list.
     It was adapted for the stage the following year in 1956, and adapted for the silver screen in 1958.     Both the play and film starred Rosalind Russell.
     In 1966, the play was turned into a musical, Mame, this time starring Angela Lansbury (who won the Tony Award for her role).    Mame then became a film in 1974, starring Lucille Ball.
     Oh, Auntie Mame.
     As Camille Paglia wrote on the page in the above scan, “Above all is Patrick Dennis’ breezy Auntie Mame, lavish practitioner of multiple personae, whose cult status among male homosexuals is the unmistakable sign of her cross-sexual character.”
     Yeah, but is the book (play?) any good?
     Good question, Dave. Good question.

     Pg. 199 of David Markson’s copy of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia:

     On which Markson responds to a mention of Patrick Dennis’ Auntie Mame by asking in the margins:
     “Yeah, but is the book (play?) any good?”

     Though now mostly forgotten, in 1955, Patrick Dennis’ novel Auntie Mame set records on the New York Times bestseller list.

     It was adapted for the stage the following year in 1956, and adapted for the silver screen in 1958.
     Both the play and film starred Rosalind Russell.

     In 1966, the play was turned into a musical, Mame, this time starring Angela Lansbury (who won the Tony Award for her role).
    Mame then became a film in 1974, starring Lucille Ball.

     Oh, Auntie Mame.

     As Camille Paglia wrote on the page in the above scan, “Above all is Patrick Dennis’ breezy Auntie Mame, lavish practitioner of multiple personae, whose cult status among male homosexuals is the unmistakable sign of her cross-sexual character.”

     Yeah, but is the book (play?) any good?

     Good question, Dave. Good question.

     Pg. 291 of David Markson’s copy of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia:
     On which Markson responds to Paglia’s discussion of “the films All About Eve and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" by asking of the latter:     “A play first, no?”
—
     Indeed. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was a play first, written by Edward Albee, and Paglia neglects that fact and goes straight on to talking about the film as though it is not adapted from literary source material.
     Also of note, All About Eve is likewise adapted from source material: a short story titled “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr.
     Elizabeth Taylor starred in the film adaptation of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with her then-husband Richard Burton.
     It was 1966.
     The next year, Taylor starred in another movie adapted from literary source material:     Reflections in a Golden Eye.
     That time opposite Marlon Brando.
     Markson tells us a surprising quote from Brando re: the movies in This Is Not A Novel:     “There is no such thing as a great movie. A Rembrandt is great. Mozart chamber music.     Said Marlon Brando.”

     Pg. 291 of David Markson’s copy of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia:

     On which Markson responds to Paglia’s discussion of “the films All About Eve and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" by asking of the latter:
     “A play first, no?”

     Indeed. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was a play first, written by Edward Albee, and Paglia neglects that fact and goes straight on to talking about the film as though it is not adapted from literary source material.

     Also of note, All About Eve is likewise adapted from source material: a short story titled “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr.

     Elizabeth Taylor starred in the film adaptation of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with her then-husband Richard Burton.

     It was 1966.

     The next year, Taylor starred in another movie adapted from literary source material:
     Reflections in a Golden Eye.

     That time opposite Marlon Brando.

     Markson tells us a surprising quote from Brando re: the movies in This Is Not A Novel:
     “There is no such thing as a great movie. A Rembrandt is great. Mozart chamber music.
     Said Marlon Brando.”

     Pg. 121 of David Markson’s copy of The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature by Gilbert Highet:
     On which Markson crossed out the information that Plautus’ Amphitryon was translated “into English by W. Courtney in 1562-63.”     He then wrote in the margins:     “No.”
—
     Though I can’t seem to find a copy of this translation anywhere, it is quite simple to find other books that mention the same “fact.”     I’m unsure why Markson decided that this was untrue, or otherwise warranted being crossed out and engendering an emphatic “No” in the margins.
     Plautus is lesser known than a number of the other Greek and Latin playwrights. But his comedies are the earliest in tact works in Latin literature.
     And though Amphitryon escapes mention in Markson’s Notecard Quartet, another work of his, Mostellaria, is referenced, though goes unnamed.
     In Vanishing Point, on pg. 21, Markson asks:     “Is Plautus the first author ever to refer to Alexander of Macedon as Alexander the Great?”
     As far as we know, the answer to this question is an emphatic “Yes.”
     The earliest known reference to the “Alexander the Great” name comes from Mostellaria by Plautus.

     Pg. 121 of David Markson’s copy of The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature by Gilbert Highet:

     On which Markson crossed out the information that Plautus’ Amphitryon was translated “into English by W. Courtney in 1562-63.”
     He then wrote in the margins:
     “No.”

     Though I can’t seem to find a copy of this translation anywhere, it is quite simple to find other books that mention the same “fact.”
     I’m unsure why Markson decided that this was untrue, or otherwise warranted being crossed out and engendering an emphatic “No” in the margins.

     Plautus is lesser known than a number of the other Greek and Latin playwrights. But his comedies are the earliest in tact works in Latin literature.

     And though Amphitryon escapes mention in Markson’s Notecard Quartet, another work of his, Mostellaria, is referenced, though goes unnamed.

     In Vanishing Point, on pg. 21, Markson asks:
     “Is Plautus the first author ever to refer to Alexander of Macedon as Alexander the Great?”

     As far as we know, the answer to this question is an emphatic “Yes.”

     The earliest known reference to the “Alexander the Great” name comes from Mostellaria by Plautus.

     Pg. 205 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism by Various (Ed. Seon Givens):
     On which Markson placed a check next to this sentence re: Joyce’s Ulysses:     “The influence of Dante’s Divine Comedy is not so obvious, yet I think that it is perfectly demonstrable.”
—
     Joyce on Dante, courtesy of Markson:     “Dante tires one quickly; it is like looking at the sun.     Said Joyce.”     - Vanishing Point, pg. 137.
     Earlier in the Notecard Quartet, on pg. 53 of Reader’s Block, Markson wrote:     “Il maestro di color che sanno.”     Which means:     “The master of the men who know.”     This is from Dante on Aristotle in The Divine Comedy.     It is also used in Joyce’s Ulysses.
     The influence of Dante’s Divine Comedy is not so obvious, yet I think that it is perfectly demonstrable.
     The master of the men who know.

     Pg. 205 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism by Various (Ed. Seon Givens):

     On which Markson placed a check next to this sentence re: Joyce’s Ulysses:
     “The influence of Dante’s Divine Comedy is not so obvious, yet I think that it is perfectly demonstrable.”

     Joyce on Dante, courtesy of Markson:
     “Dante tires one quickly; it is like looking at the sun.
     Said Joyce.”
     - Vanishing Point, pg. 137.

     Earlier in the Notecard Quartet, on pg. 53 of Reader’s Block, Markson wrote:
     “Il maestro di color che sanno.”
     Which means:
     “The master of the men who know.”
     This is from Dante on Aristotle in The Divine Comedy.
     It is also used in Joyce’s Ulysses.

     The influence of Dante’s Divine Comedy is not so obvious, yet I think that it is perfectly demonstrable.

     The master of the men who know.

     Pg. 161 of David Markson’s copy of Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy by William Barrett:
     On which Markson placed two checks in the margins:     The first check is next to a Nietzsche quote:     “In the end one experiences only oneself.”     The other check is next to William Barrett’s assertion that “hence the best introduction to him may be the little autobiographical book Ecce Homo, which is his own attempt to take stock of himself and his life.”     (Markson also underlined the words “autobiographical book.”)
—
     In Markson’s “autobiographical books”—or semi-autobiographical books—that make up his tetralogy, The Notecard Quartet, Markson likewise attempts to “take stock of himself and his life,” through cataloguing and arranging little tidbits of information on the lives of other great artists and quotes from their great works.
     One such quote used in Markson’s Reader’s Block is the Nietzsche axiom checked in the above scan.     On pg. 192 of that book, as one of the final lines, Markson writes:     “In the end one experiences only one’s self.     Said Nietzsche.”

     Pg. 161 of David Markson’s copy of Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy by William Barrett:

     On which Markson placed two checks in the margins:
     The first check is next to a Nietzsche quote:
     “In the end one experiences only oneself.”
     The other check is next to William Barrett’s assertion that “hence the best introduction to him may be the little autobiographical book Ecce Homo, which is his own attempt to take stock of himself and his life.”
     (Markson also underlined the words “autobiographical book.”)

     In Markson’s “autobiographical books”—or semi-autobiographical books—that make up his tetralogy, The Notecard Quartet, Markson likewise attempts to “take stock of himself and his life,” through cataloguing and arranging little tidbits of information on the lives of other great artists and quotes from their great works.

     One such quote used in Markson’s Reader’s Block is the Nietzsche axiom checked in the above scan.
     On pg. 192 of that book, as one of the final lines, Markson writes:
     “In the end one experiences only one’s self.
     Said Nietzsche.”

     Pg. 464 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism by Various (Ed. Seon Givens):
     On which Markson placed a check next to the following information:     “A passage in Mr. Frank Budgen’s fascinating reminiscences of Joyce at the time when Ulysses was in the making (in Zurich, 1915-1919), entitled James Joyce and the Making of ‘Ulysses,' illustrates the extreme care with which Joyce not only chose his words but ordered their arrangement.      I enquired about Ulysses. Was it progressing?      ‘I have been working hard on it all day,’ said Joyce.”
—
     James Joyce’s “extreme care” in writing, his meticulous working and reworking of sentences, is well-known.
     In Markson’s last novel The Last Novel, the “Novelist” seems incensed by accusations that Joyce’s style in Ulysses is “diarrheic.”
     “Anyone who would employ the word diarrheic to describe a book as exactingly crafted in every line as Ulysses has either never read eleven consecutive words or possesses the literary perception of a rutabaga.     Ulysses Diarrheic, unquote. Dale Peck.”     - The Last Novel, pg. 168.
     For Markson, and for myself, it is its preciseness of language that makes Ulysses worth continual rereads.
     As Markson said of Ulysses in his Bookslut interview:     “I can always reread Ulysses. In fact I went through it twice, consecutively, just a few years ago. But hell, that’s not like reading a novel, it’s more like reading the King James Bible. Or Shakespeare. You’re at it for the language.”
     Markson even mentioned on pg. 91 of Vanishing Point:     “Joyce said he spent twenty thousand hours writing Ulysses.”
     Twenty thousand hours?
     Sounds ridiculous. But, somehow, I believe it.
     You’re at it for the language.

     Pg. 464 of David Markson’s copy of James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism by Various (Ed. Seon Givens):

     On which Markson placed a check next to the following information:
     “A passage in Mr. Frank Budgen’s fascinating reminiscences of Joyce at the time when Ulysses was in the making (in Zurich, 1915-1919), entitled James Joyce and the Making of ‘Ulysses,' illustrates the extreme care with which Joyce not only chose his words but ordered their arrangement.
     I enquired about Ulysses. Was it progressing?
     ‘I have been working hard on it all day,’ said Joyce.”

     James Joyce’s “extreme care” in writing, his meticulous working and reworking of sentences, is well-known.

     In Markson’s last novel The Last Novel, the “Novelist” seems incensed by accusations that Joyce’s style in Ulysses is “diarrheic.”

     “Anyone who would employ the word diarrheic to describe a book as exactingly crafted in every line as Ulysses has either never read eleven consecutive words or possesses the literary perception of a rutabaga.
     Ulysses Diarrheic, unquote. Dale Peck.”
     - The Last Novel, pg. 168.

     For Markson, and for myself, it is its preciseness of language that makes Ulysses worth continual rereads.

     As Markson said of Ulysses in his Bookslut interview:
     “I can always reread Ulysses. In fact I went through it twice, consecutively, just a few years ago. But hell, that’s not like reading a novel, it’s more like reading the King James Bible. Or Shakespeare. You’re at it for the language.”

     Markson even mentioned on pg. 91 of Vanishing Point:
     “Joyce said he spent twenty thousand hours writing Ulysses.”

     Twenty thousand hours?

     Sounds ridiculous. But, somehow, I believe it.

     You’re at it for the language.