The first page of David Markson’s copy of Tevye’s Daughters: Collected Stories of Sholom Aleichem by Sholom Aleichem:
     On which Markson wrote, as an inscription:     “Markson     —-NYC”
—
     Good thing this is the first page and not the thirteenth.
     “Sholom Aleichem never submitted a manuscript containing a page numbered thirteen.”     - Markson, Reader’s Block, pg. 43.

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Tevye’s Daughters: Collected Stories of Sholom Aleichem by Sholom Aleichem:

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

     Good thing this is the first page and not the thirteenth.

     “Sholom Aleichem never submitted a manuscript containing a page numbered thirteen.”
     - Markson, Reader’s Block, pg. 43.

     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.”

     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.

     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 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.)

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics by Mikhail Bakhtin:
     On which Markson wrote as an inscription:     “Markson NYC ‘82”
—
     Though Bakhtin’s Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics is not mentioned in Markson’s tetralogy, Bakhtin’s problems with his leg are:
     “Mikhail Bakhtin lost a leg to bone disease.”     - Reader’s Block, pg. 147.
     “Frida Kahlo’s amputated leg.     Mikhail Bakhtin’s.”     - The Last Novel, pg. 127.

     The first page of David Markson’s copy of Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics by Mikhail Bakhtin:

     On which Markson wrote as an inscription:
     “Markson NYC ‘82”

     Though Bakhtin’s Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics is not mentioned in Markson’s tetralogy, Bakhtin’s problems with his leg are:

     “Mikhail Bakhtin lost a leg to bone disease.”
     - Reader’s Block, pg. 147.

     “Frida Kahlo’s amputated leg.
     Mikhail Bakhtin’s.”
     - The Last Novel, pg. 127.

     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.

     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?

     The inside front cover of David Markson’s copy of All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque:
     On which David Markson wrote his first and last name as an inscription.
—
     The original German title of this book is mentioned by Markson on pg. 29 of Reader’s Block:     “Im Westen Nichts Neues.”
     Im Westen Nichts Neues does not actually mean All Quiet on the Western Front, it means something like:     Nothing New in the West.      Or: Nothing New to Report on the Western Front.
     One new thing to report on the Markson-Remarque front…     Later, in Vanishing Point, on pg. 84, Remarque comes up again:     “Locarno, Erich Maria Remarque died in.”

     The inside front cover of David Markson’s copy of All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque:

     On which David Markson wrote his first and last name as an inscription.

     The original German title of this book is mentioned by Markson on pg. 29 of Reader’s Block:
     “Im Westen Nichts Neues.”

     Im Westen Nichts Neues does not actually mean All Quiet on the Western Front, it means something like:
     Nothing New in the West.
     Or: Nothing New to Report on the Western Front.

     One new thing to report on the Markson-Remarque front…
     Later, in Vanishing Point, on pg. 84, Remarque comes up again:
     “Locarno, Erich Maria Remarque died in.”