The first page of David Markson’s copy of Michelangelo by Ludwig Goldscheider:
     On which Markson wrote as an inscription:     “Markson N.Y.C.     ————___1964”
—
     As any reader of Markson’s late novels knows, they are filled with what he told Michael Silverblatt on KCRW’s Bookworm were “incidental odds and ends, intellectual snippets—whatever you might call them—about literary people, about artists, about composers, about even sometimes sports figures.”
     And Markson always threw in these little “incidental odds and ends,” even in his early books, even though they have more of a narrative.     Going all the way back to his early detective novels you can already see his interests and obsessions with intellectual trivia forming.
     Though all Markson’s books are filled with these little bits of information, he rarely repeated the same tidbit twice.
     Also in the Silverblatt interview, Markson said:     “I try not to repeat anecdotes.”     And when further talking with Silverblatt about why he doesn’t put the same anecdotes in different books:     “I don’t want people to be stumbling over the same story.”
     True, a handful reoccur in a couple books, but for the most part, each little nugget is entirely unique in every new book.
     One of the few tidbits used more than twice though is one about Michelangelo—specifically about him never taking off his boots, even to bed.
     Some iteration of this information appears in four of Markson’s books (only one of these appearances is in his final tetralogy The Notecard Quartet though).
     The first mention of this story of Michelangelo and his boots is all the way back in Markson’s 1970 novel Going Down.     On pg. 187:     “And yet all I remember half the time are things like Michelangelo wearing his boots to bed.”
     This factoid is mentioned again on pg. 7 of Markson’s next novel Springer’s Progress:     “Dana get authentically grieved at him, find himself pondering that Michelangelo wore his boots to bed.”
     And on pg. 185 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:     “Have I ever mentioned that Michelangelo practically never took a bath in his life, by the way?     And even wore his boots to bed?     On my honor, it is a well known item in the history of art that Michelangelo was not somebody one would particularly wish to sit too close to.     Which on second thought could very well change one’s view as to why all of those Medici kept telling him don’t bother to get up, as a matter of fact.”
     Lastly, in The Notecard Quartet, on pg. 23 of Vanishing Point, Michelangelo and his boots reappear:     “At certain seasons he kept those boots on for such a length of time that when he drew them off, the skin came away altogether with the leather.      Said Ascanio Condivi, a friend of Michelangelo’s.”

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Michelangelo by Ludwig Goldscheider:

     On which Markson wrote as an inscription:
     “Markson N.Y.C.
     ————___1964”

     As any reader of Markson’s late novels knows, they are filled with what he told Michael Silverblatt on KCRW’s Bookworm were “incidental odds and ends, intellectual snippets—whatever you might call them—about literary people, about artists, about composers, about even sometimes sports figures.”

     And Markson always threw in these little “incidental odds and ends,” even in his early books, even though they have more of a narrative.
     Going all the way back to his early detective novels you can already see his interests and obsessions with intellectual trivia forming.

     Though all Markson’s books are filled with these little bits of information, he rarely repeated the same tidbit twice.

     Also in the Silverblatt interview, Markson said:
     “I try not to repeat anecdotes.”
     And when further talking with Silverblatt about why he doesn’t put the same anecdotes in different books:
     “I don’t want people to be stumbling over the same story.”

     True, a handful reoccur in a couple books, but for the most part, each little nugget is entirely unique in every new book.

     One of the few tidbits used more than twice though is one about Michelangelo—specifically about him never taking off his boots, even to bed.

     Some iteration of this information appears in four of Markson’s books (only one of these appearances is in his final tetralogy The Notecard Quartet though).

     The first mention of this story of Michelangelo and his boots is all the way back in Markson’s 1970 novel Going Down.
     On pg. 187:
     “And yet all I remember half the time are things like Michelangelo wearing his boots to bed.

     This factoid is mentioned again on pg. 7 of Markson’s next novel Springer’s Progress:
     “Dana get authentically grieved at him, find himself pondering that Michelangelo wore his boots to bed.”

     And on pg. 185 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:
     “Have I ever mentioned that Michelangelo practically never took a bath in his life, by the way?
     And even wore his boots to bed?
     On my honor, it is a well known item in the history of art that Michelangelo was not somebody one would particularly wish to sit too close to.
     Which on second thought could very well change one’s view as to why all of those Medici kept telling him don’t bother to get up, as a matter of fact.”

     Lastly, in The Notecard Quartet, on pg. 23 of Vanishing Point, Michelangelo and his boots reappear:
     “At certain seasons he kept those boots on for such a length of time that when he drew them off, the skin came away altogether with the leather.
     Said Ascanio Condivi, a friend of Michelangelo’s.”

     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.

     Pg. 83 of David Markson’s copy of Art on the Edge: Creators and Situations by Harold Rosenberg:
     On which Markson placed a check next to Rosenberg writing:     “Mitchell repudiates automatism; ‘I don’t close my eyes and hope for the best,’ she is quotes as saying.”
—
     I don’t close my eyes and hope for the best.
     Of course, this is a quote from abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell, defending her painting style, while repudiating automatism.
     Her only mention in Markson’s Notecard Quartet has her seemingly repudiating something else entirely, another artist with whom she sometimes associated:     “That tampon painter.     Joan Mitchell called Helen Frankenthaler.”     From pg. 132 of The Last Novel.

     Pg. 83 of David Markson’s copy of Art on the Edge: Creators and Situations by Harold Rosenberg:

     On which Markson placed a check next to Rosenberg writing:
     “Mitchell repudiates automatism; ‘I don’t close my eyes and hope for the best,’ she is quotes as saying.”

     I don’t close my eyes and hope for the best.

     Of course, this is a quote from abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell, defending her painting style, while repudiating automatism.

     Her only mention in Markson’s Notecard Quartet has her seemingly repudiating something else entirely, another artist with whom she sometimes associated:
     “That tampon painter.
     Joan Mitchell called Helen Frankenthaler.”
     From pg. 132 of The Last Novel.

     Pg. 18 of David Markson’s copy of Lautrec by Denys Sutton:
     On which Markson placed a check in the margin next to the following:     “For Lautrec, the brothel was a sort of club, where he would stay for weeks on end. He felt at home there and, as he wittily observed, they were the only places where one’s shoes were properly cleaned.”
—
     This witty observation of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s is recounted in Markson’s This Is Not A Novel on pg. 131:     “Parisian brothels. The only place where one’s shoes were ever properly shined.     Said Toulouse-Lautrec.”

     Pg. 18 of David Markson’s copy of Lautrec by Denys Sutton:

     On which Markson placed a check in the margin next to the following:
     “For Lautrec, the brothel was a sort of club, where he would stay for weeks on end. He felt at home there and, as he wittily observed, they were the only places where one’s shoes were properly cleaned.”

     This witty observation of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s is recounted in Markson’s This Is Not A Novel on pg. 131:
     “Parisian brothels. The only place where one’s shoes were ever properly shined.
     Said Toulouse-Lautrec.”

     Pg. 7 of David Markson’s copy of Corot by Keith Roberts:
     On which Markson placed a check next to the following sentence:     “When his name is mentioned the first thing that often comes to mind is a joke: of three thousand pictures that Corot painted, it runs, some four thousand are now in America.”
—
    In Springer’s ProgressMarkson relays this joke (though he gets the numbers wrong):    “Corot painted approximately two thousand pictures. Three thousand of these are in American collections.” (Pg. 9)

     Pg. 7 of David Markson’s copy of Corot by Keith Roberts:

     On which Markson placed a check next to the following sentence:
     “When his name is mentioned the first thing that often comes to mind is a joke: of three thousand pictures that Corot painted, it runs, some four thousand are now in America.”

    In Springer’s ProgressMarkson relays this joke (though he gets the numbers wrong):
    “Corot painted approximately two thousand pictures. Three thousand of these are in American collections.” (Pg. 9)

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Canaletto by Adrian Eeles:
     On which Markson wrote his last name as an inscription.
—
     “Anni 68 Cenzza Ochiali. Canaletto signed a drawing in 1766.     At age sixty-eight, without spectacles.”     - David Markson, This Is Not A Novel, pg. 54.
     Markson. David Markson signed the first page of a book on Canaletto in who-knows-what year.     At some age, with or without spectacles.

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Canaletto by Adrian Eeles:

     On which Markson wrote his last name as an inscription.

     “Anni 68 Cenzza Ochiali. Canaletto signed a drawing in 1766.
     At age sixty-eight, without spectacles.”
     - David Markson, This Is Not A Novel, pg. 54.

     Markson. David Markson signed the first page of a book on Canaletto in who-knows-what year.
     At some age, with or without spectacles.

     Pgs. 14 and 15 of David Markson’s copy of The Failure of Criticism by Henri Peyre:
     On which Markson placed a line next to the following sentences:     “The painter Manet, whom Zola alone appreciated during his struggling years, was so demoralized by the unanimous attacks of the critics that he no longer dared ask anyone to pose for him; he saw his friends looking sedulously away from him on the street so that they would not have to offer their condolences on his paintings’ lack of success. Claude Monet, at the very time (in the early 1870’s) when he painted his most radiant pictures of boatmen on the Seine, was so discouraged by the hostile derision of critics and the threat of starvation that he twice was tempted by thoughts of suicide.”
—
     Markson uses the information re: Manet on pg. 19 of his novel Reader’s Block:     “Manet was so vituperatively condemned by critics that for a time he was too embarrassed to ask anyone to pose for him.”
     And we see in the rest of Markson’s Notecard Quartet that Manet and Monet both, as is mentioned in the above scan, were given a hard time by critics:
     “An eclectic realist of disputed merit.     The actual catalogue of the Metropolitan Museum once called Manet.”     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 121.
     “Not even worth the trouble of condemning, said Gautier of Manet’s Olympia.”     - David Markson, This Is Not A Novel, pg. 62.
     “Truly, young girls and women about to become mothers would do well, if they are wise, to run away from this spectacle.     Said another, of Manet’s Olympia.”     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 14.
     “Manet’s earliest major canvas, The Absinthe Drinker.     The only absinthe drinker here is the painter who perpetuated this madness, said Couture.”     - David Markson, The Last Novel, 46.
     “Reviewers who protest that Novelist has lately appeared to be writing the same book over and over.     Like their grandly perspicacious uncles—who groused that Monet had done those damnable water lilies nine dozen times already also.”     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 104.

     Pgs. 14 and 15 of David Markson’s copy of The Failure of Criticism by Henri Peyre:

     On which Markson placed a line next to the following sentences:
     “The painter Manet, whom Zola alone appreciated during his struggling years, was so demoralized by the unanimous attacks of the critics that he no longer dared ask anyone to pose for him; he saw his friends looking sedulously away from him on the street so that they would not have to offer their condolences on his paintings’ lack of success. Claude Monet, at the very time (in the early 1870’s) when he painted his most radiant pictures of boatmen on the Seine, was so discouraged by the hostile derision of critics and the threat of starvation that he twice was tempted by thoughts of suicide.”

     Markson uses the information re: Manet on pg. 19 of his novel Reader’s Block:
     “Manet was so vituperatively condemned by critics that for a time he was too embarrassed to ask anyone to pose for him.”

     And we see in the rest of Markson’s Notecard Quartet that Manet and Monet both, as is mentioned in the above scan, were given a hard time by critics:

     “An eclectic realist of disputed merit.
     The actual catalogue of the Metropolitan Museum once called Manet.”
     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 121.

     “Not even worth the trouble of condemning, said Gautier of Manet’s Olympia.”
     - David Markson, This Is Not A Novel, pg. 62.

     “Truly, young girls and women about to become mothers would do well, if they are wise, to run away from this spectacle.
     Said another, of Manet’s Olympia.”
     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 14.

     “Manet’s earliest major canvas, The Absinthe Drinker.
     The only absinthe drinker here is the painter who perpetuated this madness, said Couture.”
     - David Markson, The Last Novel, 46.

     “Reviewers who protest that Novelist has lately appeared to be writing the same book over and over.
     Like their grandly perspicacious uncles—who groused that Monet had done those damnable water lilies nine dozen times already also.”
     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 104.

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of German Painting from the 14th to the 16th Centuries by Pierre Descargues:
     On which Markson placed as an inscription:     “Markson—     London 1966”
—
     London 1966.
     “When Dingus Magee sold to the movies for what was then a staggering amount of money, my wife, Elaine, and I had two little kids, and we said, ‘Now or never,’ and we went to Europe for a year and a half.”     Said Markson in his Conjunctions interview.
     When asked where he went to, he responded:     “We thought of Spain, but for some reason we wound up in Italy. We were in Florence, but then in ‘66, in the fall, there was a staggering flood that just tore Florence apart. All the reasons you would want to be in a place like that had ceased to exist: the museums were wrecked, everything. So my joke is we went to London for a dry climate. We stayed there for a year.”
     London 1966 and 1967, Markson lived in.      And bought the vast majority of his art book collection during this period.
     “All itch with London’s wits to vie.”     - David Markson, “Anne-On-Avon,” Collected Poems, pg. 58.
     London, where most of his art books came from.     London, for a dry climate. Ha!

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of German Painting from the 14th to the 16th Centuries by Pierre Descargues:

     On which Markson placed as an inscription:
     “Markson—
     London 1966

     London 1966.

     “When Dingus Magee sold to the movies for what was then a staggering amount of money, my wife, Elaine, and I had two little kids, and we said, ‘Now or never,’ and we went to Europe for a year and a half.”
     Said Markson in his Conjunctions interview.

     When asked where he went to, he responded:
     “We thought of Spain, but for some reason we wound up in Italy. We were in Florence, but then in ‘66, in the fall, there was a staggering flood that just tore Florence apart. All the reasons you would want to be in a place like that had ceased to exist: the museums were wrecked, everything. So my joke is we went to London for a dry climate. We stayed there for a year.”

     London 1966 and 1967, Markson lived in.
     And bought the vast majority of his art book collection during this period.

     “All itch with London’s wits to vie.”
     - David Markson, “Anne-On-Avon,” Collected Poems, pg. 58.

     London, where most of his art books came from.
     London, for a dry climate. Ha!

     Pg. 247 of David Markson’s copy of Art on the Edge: Creators and Situations by Harold Rosenberg:
     On which he placed a check next to the sentiment:     “A corner of the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art ought to be set aside as a tomb for the Unknown Artist.”
—
     I agree, Harold Rosenberg.     And actually I think of David Markson’s last four novels—what I call the The Notecard Quartet—as a kind of “tomb for the Unknown Artist.”
     Or: a kind of tomb for the Artist in general.     (A celebration of and memorial to the Creative Spirit, taking into account the harsh conditions it so often must face.)
     Those four final books catalogue thousands of artists, from the most famous and revered to the most obscure and unknown.
     Reader’s Block, This Is Not A Novel, Vanishing Point and The Last Novel act together as a sculpture garden of countless artists’ lives and deaths, triumphs and defeats, comedies and tragedies, loves and hates, etc.
     “But these books are loaded with incidental odds-and-ins, intellectual  snippets—whatever you might call them—about literary people, about  artists, about composers, even sometimes sports figures.  Quotations—sometimes attributed, sometimes not. However, they are tied  together with certain themes. What they’re basically conveying is the  nature of the artistic life. Most frequently its despairs and defeats,  or sometimes even rotten reviews, and sometimes even from their peers  (who should be kinder).”     Explained Markson in his KCRW interview.
     A kind of tomb for the Artist in general?     A sculpture garden conveying the nature of the artistic life?

     Pg. 247 of David Markson’s copy of Art on the Edge: Creators and Situations by Harold Rosenberg:

     On which he placed a check next to the sentiment:
     “A corner of the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art ought to be set aside as a tomb for the Unknown Artist.”

     I agree, Harold Rosenberg.
     And actually I think of David Markson’s last four novels—what I call the The Notecard Quartet—as a kind of “tomb for the Unknown Artist.”

     Or: a kind of tomb for the Artist in general.
     (A celebration of and memorial to the Creative Spirit, taking into account the harsh conditions it so often must face.)

     Those four final books catalogue thousands of artists, from the most famous and revered to the most obscure and unknown.

     Reader’s Block, This Is Not A Novel, Vanishing Point and The Last Novel act together as a sculpture garden of countless artists’ lives and deaths, triumphs and defeats, comedies and tragedies, loves and hates, etc.

     “But these books are loaded with incidental odds-and-ins, intellectual snippets—whatever you might call them—about literary people, about artists, about composers, even sometimes sports figures. Quotations—sometimes attributed, sometimes not. However, they are tied together with certain themes. What they’re basically conveying is the nature of the artistic life. Most frequently its despairs and defeats, or sometimes even rotten reviews, and sometimes even from their peers (who should be kinder).”
     Explained Markson in his KCRW interview.

     A kind of tomb for the Artist in general?
     A sculpture garden conveying the nature of the artistic life?

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Bruegel by Fritz Grossman:
     On which Markson wrote as an inscription:     “Markson     —London 1967”
—
     The thought of Bruegel reminds me of a great line in Markson’s masterpiece Wittgenstein’s Mistress:     “Well, and poor all the youngsters throwing snowballs in Bruegel, who grew up, and did whatever they did, but never threw snowballs again.”     (Pg. 235)
     The painting referred to, of course, being Bruegel’s The Census at Bethlehem, which can be seen below:

Who grew up, and did whatever they did, but never threw snowballs again…

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Bruegel by Fritz Grossman:

     On which Markson wrote as an inscription:
     “Markson
     —London 1967”

     The thought of Bruegel reminds me of a great line in Markson’s masterpiece Wittgenstein’s Mistress:
     “Well, and poor all the youngsters throwing snowballs in Bruegel, who grew up, and did whatever they did, but never threw snowballs again.”
     (Pg. 235)

     The painting referred to, of course, being Bruegel’s The Census at Bethlehem, which can be seen below:

Who grew up, and did whatever they did, but never threw snowballs again…