The first page of David Markson’s copy of the Iliad by Homer:
On which Markson wrote as an inscription:
“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.