Pg. 1186 of David Markson’s copy of The Complete Greek Drama: Volume One by Various (Ed. Whitney J. Oates & Eugene O’Neill, Jr.):
     On which Markson placed three lines at the very bottom of the page.
—
     Though I have nothing in particular to say about these three lines at the bottom of this page, I figured I could take this opportunity, since this is a scan of the notes page for Euripides’ Ion and since the first part of these notes speak of the translation, to mention a perfect observation by Kate on Euripides and translation that typifies her lovely ruminations in Wittgenstein’s Mistress.
     Kate discusses that once, in reading the Greeks, she sensed some influence from Shakespeare, which of course is because she’d read the Gilbert Murray Shakespearean translation of Euripides’ The Trojan Women, which is oft mentioned throughout Wittgenstein’s Mistress.
     On pg. 38 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:     “Once, when I was listening to myself read the Greek plays out loud, certain of the lines sounded as if they had been written under the influence of William Shakespeare.     One had to be quite perplexed as to how Aeschylus or Euripides might have read Shakespeare.     I did remember an anecdote, about some other Greek author, who had remarked that if he could be positive of a life after death he would happily hang himself to see Euripides. Basically this did not seem relevant, however.”
     These three lines that Markson had dashed at the bottom of this page also basically did not seem relevant, however.
     Who needs relevance?
     Which leads me to Markson’s poem titled “Relevance,” which goes, as follows:
     Coincidences undeniably imply meaning. 
     I am reading Hart Crane.      I notice that the date      On which he stepped off that boat      Was April 26. 
     The year of his suicide was 1932.      I was four.      I am now fifty-one.      One undeniable implication in this case then      Is that the year, today,      Is 1979. 
     Afterward, Crane’s mother scrubbed floors.      Eventually, I may or may not      Jump overboard.
     Are there questions?

     Pg. 1186 of David Markson’s copy of The Complete Greek Drama: Volume One by Various (Ed. Whitney J. Oates & Eugene O’Neill, Jr.):

     On which Markson placed three lines at the very bottom of the page.

     Though I have nothing in particular to say about these three lines at the bottom of this page, I figured I could take this opportunity, since this is a scan of the notes page for Euripides’ Ion and since the first part of these notes speak of the translation, to mention a perfect observation by Kate on Euripides and translation that typifies her lovely ruminations in Wittgenstein’s Mistress.

     Kate discusses that once, in reading the Greeks, she sensed some influence from Shakespeare, which of course is because she’d read the Gilbert Murray Shakespearean translation of Euripides’ The Trojan Women, which is oft mentioned throughout Wittgenstein’s Mistress.

     On pg. 38 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:
     “Once, when I was listening to myself read the Greek plays out loud, certain of the lines sounded as if they had been written under the influence of William Shakespeare.
     One had to be quite perplexed as to how Aeschylus or Euripides might have read Shakespeare.
     I did remember an anecdote, about some other Greek author, who had remarked that if he could be positive of a life after death he would happily hang himself to see Euripides. Basically this did not seem relevant, however.”

     These three lines that Markson had dashed at the bottom of this page also basically did not seem relevant, however.

     Who needs relevance?

     Which leads me to Markson’s poem titled “Relevance,” which goes, as follows:

     Coincidences undeniably imply meaning.

     I am reading Hart Crane.
     I notice that the date
     On which he stepped off that boat
     Was April 26.

     The year of his suicide was 1932.
     I was four.
     I am now fifty-one.
     One undeniable implication in this case then
     Is that the year, today,
     Is 1979.

     Afterward, Crane’s mother scrubbed floors.
     Eventually, I may or may not
     Jump overboard.

     Are there questions?

     Pg. 534 of David Markson’s copy of The Complete Greek Drama: Volume Two by Various (Ed. Whitney J. Oates & Eugene O’Neill, Jr.):
     On which Markson drew a line and a check in the margin next to a paragraph in the endnotes of the play The Knights by Aristophanes:     “18. The original here contains, and the translation omits, a number of details on the new form of vice. Only a pedant would demand their inclusion, for like many other parts of this play they are totally deficient in humour. Cunnilingual activities are not particularly new nowadays anyway, and our psychologists will inform the curious more thoroughly and more reliably than Aristophanes.”
—
     While we’re on the subject of cunnilingus…
     “And what a liar’s Loosh. Pox upon tidiness, true metier’s this. Slurp and burble here till dawn.      So why’s he beached and panting in moments instead? Medical profession looked into the effects of smoking on cunnilingus?     ‘Fucking cigarettes. Man’s reach should exceed his gasp.’      ‘Oh, Lord.’      Vaginal slaver’s all over his face where he’s ascending. Slop it all over Cornford’s, orifice to orifice in wanton wet initiation.”     - David Markson, Springer’s Progress, pg. 32.

     Pg. 534 of David Markson’s copy of The Complete Greek Drama: Volume Two by Various (Ed. Whitney J. Oates & Eugene O’Neill, Jr.):

     On which Markson drew a line and a check in the margin next to a paragraph in the endnotes of the play The Knights by Aristophanes:
     “18. The original here contains, and the translation omits, a number of details on the new form of vice. Only a pedant would demand their inclusion, for like many other parts of this play they are totally deficient in humour. Cunnilingual activities are not particularly new nowadays anyway, and our psychologists will inform the curious more thoroughly and more reliably than Aristophanes.”

     While we’re on the subject of cunnilingus…

     “And what a liar’s Loosh. Pox upon tidiness, true metier’s this. Slurp and burble here till dawn.
     So why’s he beached and panting in moments instead? Medical profession looked into the effects of smoking on cunnilingus?
     ‘Fucking cigarettes. Man’s reach should exceed his gasp.’
     ‘Oh, Lord.’
     Vaginal slaver’s all over his face where he’s ascending. Slop it all over Cornford’s, orifice to orifice in wanton wet initiation.”
     - David Markson, Springer’s Progress, pg. 32.

     Pg. xviii of David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner:
     On which Markson wrote a line in the margin next to the following paragraph from the introduction (which explains his choices for who he includes in his study of American Modernist writers):      ”It is neither a survey nor an honor roll. There are distinguished bodies of achievement—Robert Lowell’s, Robert Frost’s—through which the vectors it traces do not pass. There are representative careers—Hart Crane’s, Thomas Wolfe’s—that point capital morals but have less pertinence than the oft-told Fitzgerald story. And Cummings, the supremely experimental, trifler with the sacred upper-case font, dissociator of Aesop’s very grasshoppers into the hopping letters of its busy name? Yes, the book’s theme is tanegntial to what interested Cummings, but does not encompass him because Cummings finally altered no verbal environment except his own. What the book leaves out should help underline the pertinence of what it includes. Permit that principle, and we shall get on very well.”
—
     What interests me so much about the fact that Markson marked this paragraph is that it feels like a point of entry into his own Notecard Quartet, his final four novels (Reader’s Block, This Is Not A Novel, Vanishing Point, and The Last Novel).
     ”What the book leaves out should help underline the pertinence of what it includes.”     A line that could describe Markson’s final four novels quite well.
     Though it could appear to those unfamiliar with Markson’s world that the various little nuggets of information on writers and artists that fill the pages of those final four novels could just be thrown together haphazardly, there is a definite method to Markson’s madness.
     In his Conjunctions interview, Markson explained:     ”When Reader’s Block came out, Kurt Vonnegut called me, two-thirds of the way through, and said, ‘David, what kind of computer did you use to juggle this stuff?’ I told him what I’d done, and he called me when he finished it and said, ‘David, I’m worried about your mental condition.’”
     Of course, what David Markson had done was meticulously compile the book through working and reworking various tidbits on notecards.
     His process is perhaps best explained in the following KCRW interview excerpt:     ”I’ll tell you something. It’s difficult. I dig out these bits and pieces  of intellectual trivia. But they’re hard to come by. I go to a certain  bookstore here in New York—The Strand—frequently. I’ve been going  there all my adult life. And a few of the managers or other people  suddenly will hand me a book they think I can use. Sometimes they are  collections of anecdotes or quotes and I’ll go through the entire  collection—a book of 500 pages—and maybe once in a while I’ll find  something I’ve already used, but I’ll find one or two things. And one or  two of these people have looked at me in astonishment. One of them  looked at me and said, ‘Boy, you certainly only take the crème de la crème.’ And I guess that’s it, I must be gifted with an eye or an ear to  spot the right quote. In fact, when I make these, I make notes of these  things on index cards. And then I rewrite the index cards and rewrite  the index cards—except for direct quotes. But I would say, as they’re  pilling up, one behind the other—I use the tops of shoeboxes—but every  third one, every second one, that I have managed to let myself select,  every second one of those has a question mark down in the corner: ‘Is  this really good, do I really want it?’” 
     So in summary of this and other comments he’s made:     Markson is very selective in his first round of the process (in what he tidbits he makes marks next to his his books).     And then he gets even more selective of what makes it from the margins of books to notecards in the second round of the process.     And then in the third round of the process he weeds out every other notecard.
     So it is important to know that those four final novels of Markson’s aren’t filled with just scattershot tidbits, but were painstakingly crafted through constant emendations.
     What the books leave out should help underline the pertinence of what they include.     
     (And evaluating what these novels leave out and what they include is a big part of why I created this blog in the first place.)
—
     David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.

     Pg. xviii of David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner:

     On which Markson wrote a line in the margin next to the following paragraph from the introduction (which explains his choices for who he includes in his study of American Modernist writers):
      ”It is neither a survey nor an honor roll. There are distinguished bodies of achievement—Robert Lowell’s, Robert Frost’s—through which the vectors it traces do not pass. There are representative careers—Hart Crane’s, Thomas Wolfe’s—that point capital morals but have less pertinence than the oft-told Fitzgerald story. And Cummings, the supremely experimental, trifler with the sacred upper-case font, dissociator of Aesop’s very grasshoppers into the hopping letters of its busy name? Yes, the book’s theme is tanegntial to what interested Cummings, but does not encompass him because Cummings finally altered no verbal environment except his own. What the book leaves out should help underline the pertinence of what it includes. Permit that principle, and we shall get on very well.”

     What interests me so much about the fact that Markson marked this paragraph is that it feels like a point of entry into his own Notecard Quartet, his final four novels (Reader’s Block, This Is Not A Novel, Vanishing Point, and The Last Novel).

     ”What the book leaves out should help underline the pertinence of what it includes.”
     A line that could describe Markson’s final four novels quite well.

     Though it could appear to those unfamiliar with Markson’s world that the various little nuggets of information on writers and artists that fill the pages of those final four novels could just be thrown together haphazardly, there is a definite method to Markson’s madness.

     In his Conjunctions interview, Markson explained:
     ”When Reader’s Block came out, Kurt Vonnegut called me, two-thirds of the way through, and said, ‘David, what kind of computer did you use to juggle this stuff?’ I told him what I’d done, and he called me when he finished it and said, ‘David, I’m worried about your mental condition.’”

     Of course, what David Markson had done was meticulously compile the book through working and reworking various tidbits on notecards.

     His process is perhaps best explained in the following KCRW interview excerpt:
     ”I’ll tell you something. It’s difficult. I dig out these bits and pieces of intellectual trivia. But they’re hard to come by. I go to a certain bookstore here in New York—The Strand—frequently. I’ve been going there all my adult life. And a few of the managers or other people suddenly will hand me a book they think I can use. Sometimes they are collections of anecdotes or quotes and I’ll go through the entire collection—a book of 500 pages—and maybe once in a while I’ll find something I’ve already used, but I’ll find one or two things. And one or two of these people have looked at me in astonishment. One of them looked at me and said, ‘Boy, you certainly only take the crème de la crème.’ And I guess that’s it, I must be gifted with an eye or an ear to spot the right quote. In fact, when I make these, I make notes of these things on index cards. And then I rewrite the index cards and rewrite the index cards—except for direct quotes. But I would say, as they’re pilling up, one behind the other—I use the tops of shoeboxes—but every third one, every second one, that I have managed to let myself select, every second one of those has a question mark down in the corner: ‘Is this really good, do I really want it?’” 

     So in summary of this and other comments he’s made:
     Markson is very selective in his first round of the process (in what he tidbits he makes marks next to his his books).
     And then he gets even more selective of what makes it from the margins of books to notecards in the second round of the process.
     And then in the third round of the process he weeds out every other notecard.

     So it is important to know that those four final novels of Markson’s aren’t filled with just scattershot tidbits, but were painstakingly crafted through constant emendations.

     What the books leave out should help underline the pertinence of what they include.     

     (And evaluating what these novels leave out and what they include is a big part of why I created this blog in the first place.)

     David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.

     Pgs. 192 and 193 of David Markson’s copy of Tolstoy: His Life and Work by Derrick Leon:
     On which David Markson underlined much of the following passage in red ink:     “And before the end of the same year, when Dostoevsky, after his brief hour of triumph, lay dead, Tolstoy once more wrote of him to Strakhov (who was to be his biographer): ‘I only wish I could express all I feel about Dostoevsky. Though I never saw him, or had any personal communication with him, now that he is dead I realize that he was nearer, dearer and more important to me than anyone else.’”
     Markson also placed two red vertical lines in the margin next to the paragraph containing the above passage.
—
     This sentiment of Tolstoy’s re: Dostoevsky pops up in the first novel of Markson’s Notecard Quartet.
     On pg. 101 of Reader’s Block:     “Though I never saw him, or had any personal communication with him, now that he is suddenly dead I realize that he was nearer, dearer and more important to me than anyone else.     Said Tolstoy of Dostoievsky.”
     Both Tolstoy and Dostoevsky were near and dear to Markson. They both appear often in his Notecard Quartet. And they both also unsurprisingly have stories in the Markson-edited collection of Russian literature Women and Vodka (later published as Great Tales of Old Russia).
     As Françoise Palleau-Papin pointed out:     “Russian literature mattered a lot to Markson, even if he minimized the importance of his Russian-Jewish family background.”     - This Is Not A Tragedy, pg. xxviii.
—
     David Markson’s copy of Tolstoy: His Life and Work by Derrick Leon is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.

     Pgs. 192 and 193 of David Markson’s copy of Tolstoy: His Life and Work by Derrick Leon:

     On which David Markson underlined much of the following passage in red ink:
     “And before the end of the same year, when Dostoevsky, after his brief hour of triumph, lay dead, Tolstoy once more wrote of him to Strakhov (who was to be his biographer): ‘I only wish I could express all I feel about Dostoevsky. Though I never saw him, or had any personal communication with him, now that he is dead I realize that he was nearer, dearer and more important to me than anyone else.’”

     Markson also placed two red vertical lines in the margin next to the paragraph containing the above passage.

     This sentiment of Tolstoy’s re: Dostoevsky pops up in the first novel of Markson’s Notecard Quartet.

     On pg. 101 of Reader’s Block:
     “Though I never saw him, or had any personal communication with him, now that he is suddenly dead I realize that he was nearer, dearer and more important to me than anyone else.
     Said Tolstoy of Dostoievsky.”

     Both Tolstoy and Dostoevsky were near and dear to Markson. They both appear often in his Notecard Quartet. And they both also unsurprisingly have stories in the Markson-edited collection of Russian literature Women and Vodka (later published as Great Tales of Old Russia).

     As Françoise Palleau-Papin pointed out:
     “Russian literature mattered a lot to Markson, even if he minimized the importance of his Russian-Jewish family background.”
     - This Is Not A Tragedy, pg. xxviii.

     David Markson’s copy of Tolstoy: His Life and Work by Derrick Leon is owned by John Harrison. The above scan is used with his permission. Copyright © John Harrison.

     Pgs. 150 & 151 of David Markson’s copy of Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy by William Barrett:
     On which Markson has placed a line in the margins next to the paragraph that runs from the bottom of pg. 150 to the bottom of pg. 151.
     This paragraph begins:     “The most powerful of Kierkegaard’s distinctly psychological treatises is probably The Sickness Unto Death, a study of the various modalities of despair. Despair is the sickness unto death, the sickness in which we long to die but cannot die; thus, it is the extreme emotion in which we seek to escape from ourselves, and it is precisely this latter aspect of despair that makes it such a powerful revelation of what it means to exist as a human individual. We are all in despair, consciously or unconsciously…”
—
     Despair = The Sickness Unto Death.
     Despair! Despair, alas, dear…
     The Village Voice said of Markson’s novel Going Down:      “A very contemporary, very literate record of despair.”
     And yes, in their own ways, Markson’s novels seem to be treatises on this same sickness unto death, studies of the various modalities of despair.
     “Before the Normans brought despair, the Anglo-Saxon word was wanhope.”     Markson explains in This Is Not A Novel.     And then revisits the word twice more in the same text.
     In the same novel, Markson begins:     “Writer is weary unto death of making up stories.”
     Weary Unto Death.
     The Sickness Unto Death.
     We are all in despair, consciously or unconsciously…
     Wanhope.

     Pgs. 150 & 151 of David Markson’s copy of Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy by William Barrett:

     On which Markson has placed a line in the margins next to the paragraph that runs from the bottom of pg. 150 to the bottom of pg. 151.

     This paragraph begins:
     “The most powerful of Kierkegaard’s distinctly psychological treatises is probably The Sickness Unto Death, a study of the various modalities of despair. Despair is the sickness unto death, the sickness in which we long to die but cannot die; thus, it is the extreme emotion in which we seek to escape from ourselves, and it is precisely this latter aspect of despair that makes it such a powerful revelation of what it means to exist as a human individual. We are all in despair, consciously or unconsciously…”

     Despair = The Sickness Unto Death.

     Despair! Despair, alas, dear…

     The Village Voice said of Markson’s novel Going Down:
     “A very contemporary, very literate record of despair.”

     And yes, in their own ways, Markson’s novels seem to be treatises on this same sickness unto death, studies of the various modalities of despair.

     “Before the Normans brought despair, the Anglo-Saxon word was wanhope.”
     Markson explains in This Is Not A Novel.
    
And then revisits the word twice more in the same text.

     In the same novel, Markson begins:
     “Writer is weary unto death of making up stories.”

     Weary Unto Death.

     The Sickness Unto Death.

     We are all in despair, consciously or unconsciously…

     Wanhope.

     Pgs. 1002 and 1003 of David Markson’s copy of The Complete Greek Drama: Volume One by Various (Ed. Whitney J. Oates & Eugene O’Neill, Jr.):
     On which Markson placed a bracket and lines next to a speech by Hecuba in The Trojan Women by Euripides.     There is also much underlining of the passage.
—
     The speech by Hecuba in the above scan is about the death of her grandchild Astyanax, and how he had been murdered so that he would not grow up to avenge the death of his father, Hector.
     Kate in Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress says at one point:     “But what I am actually now thinking about, for some reason, is the scene in The Trojan Women where the Greek soldiers throw Hector’s poor baby over the city’s walls, so that he will not grow up to take revenge for his father or for Troy.     God, the things men used to do.” (Pg. 93).
     After mentioning Neoptolemus a few lines prior, Markson wrote on pg. 142 of This Is Not A Novel:     “Needing a few seconds to remember that it will be that same Neoptolemus who flings Hector’s infant son from the battlements after the Greek victory.”
     And then two pages later, on pg. 144, as a reminder:     “Astyanax.”
     God, the things men used to do.
     Indeed.
     (And still do?)

     Pgs. 1002 and 1003 of David Markson’s copy of The Complete Greek Drama: Volume One by Various (Ed. Whitney J. Oates & Eugene O’Neill, Jr.):

     On which Markson placed a bracket and lines next to a speech by Hecuba in The Trojan Women by Euripides.
     There is also much underlining of the passage.

     The speech by Hecuba in the above scan is about the death of her grandchild Astyanax, and how he had been murdered so that he would not grow up to avenge the death of his father, Hector.

     Kate in Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress says at one point:
     “But what I am actually now thinking about, for some reason, is the scene in The Trojan Women where the Greek soldiers throw Hector’s poor baby over the city’s walls, so that he will not grow up to take revenge for his father or for Troy.
     God, the things men used to do.” (Pg. 93).

     After mentioning Neoptolemus a few lines prior, Markson wrote on pg. 142 of This Is Not A Novel:
     “Needing a few seconds to remember that it will be that same Neoptolemus who flings Hector’s infant son from the battlements after the Greek victory.”

     And then two pages later, on pg. 144, as a reminder:
     “Astyanax.”

     God, the things men used to do.

     Indeed.

     (And still do?)

     Pg. 24 of David Markson’s copy of The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature by Gilbert Highet:
     On which Markson wrote a line in the margin next to the sentence:     “Any three thousand lines of Iliad or Odyssey take us into a wider, more populous, more highly explored and interdependent world than all 3,183 lines of Beowulf; and the customs, weapons, stratagems, arts, and personalities of Homer are vastly more complex than those of the Saxon epic.”
—
     There are 3,183 lines in Beowulf.
     “There are 16,696 lines in the Iliad.”      - David Markson, Vanishing Point, pg. 74.
     In these 16,696 lines, the Iliad does create a rather totalizing world.     And even in just three thousand lines of any section, one can get a sense of that world as a whole.
     “Of all books extant in all kinds, Homer is the first and best, Chapman said.”     - David Markson, This Is Not A Novel, pg. 134.
     “Leigh Hunt once saw Charles Lamb kiss Chapman’s Homer.”     - David Markson, This Is Not A Novel, pg. 11.
     We could all do with a little more kissing of our editions of Homer.
     Homer, one of the most important writers of all time.     Writer?     Yet Homer did not “write” technically.     Or as Markson puts it, in Kate’s voice, in Wittgenstein’s Mistress:     “Which is to say that when people said Homer was blind, it was because what they really did not wish to say was that Homer did not know how to write” (Pg. 126).
     “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.
     “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.
     Ruminating on Homer’s contribution to society…
     “A cobbler makes a greater contribution to society than does a Homer or a Plato.     Asserted Proudhon.”     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 106.
     How could that be true? A cobbler?
     The Iliad?
     “Would it have made any sense whatsoever if I had said that the woman in my novel would have one day actually gotten more accustomed to a world without any people in it than she ever could have gotten to a world without such a thing as The Descent from the Cross, by Rogier van der Weyden, by the way?     Or without the Iliad?”     - David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress, pgs. 232-233.

     Pg. 24 of David Markson’s copy of The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature by Gilbert Highet:

     On which Markson wrote a line in the margin next to the sentence:
     “Any three thousand lines of Iliad or Odyssey take us into a wider, more populous, more highly explored and interdependent world than all 3,183 lines of Beowulf; and the customs, weapons, stratagems, arts, and personalities of Homer are vastly more complex than those of the Saxon epic.”

     There are 3,183 lines in Beowulf.

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

     In these 16,696 lines, the Iliad does create a rather totalizing world.
     And even in just three thousand lines of any section, one can get a sense of that world as a whole.

     “Of all books extant in all kinds, Homer is the first and best, Chapman said.”
     - David Markson, This Is Not A Novel, pg. 134.

     “Leigh Hunt once saw Charles Lamb kiss Chapman’s Homer.”
     - David Markson, This Is Not A Novel, pg. 11.

     We could all do with a little more kissing of our editions of Homer.

     Homer, one of the most important writers of all time.
     Writer?
     Yet Homer did not “write” technically.
     Or as Markson puts it, in Kate’s voice, in Wittgenstein’s Mistress:
     “Which is to say that when people said Homer was blind, it was because what they really did not wish to say was that Homer did not know how to write” (Pg. 126).

     “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.

     “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.

     Ruminating on Homer’s contribution to society…

     “A cobbler makes a greater contribution to society than does a Homer or a Plato.
     Asserted Proudhon.”
     - David Markson, The Last Novel, pg. 106.

     How could that be true? A cobbler?

     The Iliad?

     “Would it have made any sense whatsoever if I had said that the woman in my novel would have one day actually gotten more accustomed to a world without any people in it than she ever could have gotten to a world without such a thing as The Descent from the Cross, by Rogier van der Weyden, by the way?
     Or without the Iliad?”
     - David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress, pgs. 232-233.

     Pg. 70 of David Markson’s copy of The Loom of History by Herbert J. Muller:
     On which Markson has underlined a lengthy passage (that takes up the majority of the page).      And also drawn various lines and squiggles in the margin.      And also written in the margin:     “e.g. Rupert Brooke.”
—
     Various ideas mentioned on this page of The Loom of History appear in Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress and some of his other novels…
     The above scan explains that Alexander the Great “carried with him a copy of the Iliad.”     Mentioned by Markson on pg. 98 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:     “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.”     Also mentioned on pg. 12 of Reader’s Block:     “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.”     And mentioned on pg. 48 of Vanishing Point:     “Like Alexander with the Iliad, Napoleon carried a copy of Plutarch’s Lives with him eternally.”
     The above scan also describes this scene re: Alexander the Great:      “He too went straight to the shrine of Ilium after crossing the Hellespont to invade Asia. Plutarch described how he ‘anointed the pillar on Achilles’ tomb with oil and ran around it with his friends, naked, according to custom, after which he put a crowd upon it.’”     Similarly Markson writes on pg. 127 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:     “On the way to certain of his own conquests, Alexander the Great once stopped at Troy himself, to lay a wreath at Achilles’s grave.”
     Lastly, the above scan explains this of the Dardanelles:     “Today more monuments along its shores, commemorating the soldiers who died in the Gallipoli campaign during World War I, are a reminder that it was again fought over in our time.”     Where Markson wrote in the margins:     “e.g. Rupert Brooke.”     And in one of his own texts, Wittgenstein’s Mistress, Markson wrote:     “In any case on that side of the channel there are monuments to the soldiers who died there in the first World War.     On the side where Troy is, one can find a monument where Achilles was buried, so much longer ago.” (Pg. 8).     And Later:     “A different poet, named Rupert Brooke, died in the Dardanelles during the first World War, even if I do not believe that I remembered this when I visited the Dardanelles, by which I mean the Hellespont.     Still, I find it extraordinary that young men died there in a war that long ago, and then died in the same place three thousand years after that.” (Pg. 59).

     Pg. 70 of David Markson’s copy of The Loom of History by Herbert J. Muller:

     On which Markson has underlined a lengthy passage (that takes up the majority of the page).
     And also drawn various lines and squiggles in the margin.
     And also written in the margin:
     “e.g. Rupert Brooke.”

     Various ideas mentioned on this page of The Loom of History appear in Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress and some of his other novels…

     The above scan explains that Alexander the Great “carried with him a copy of the Iliad.”
     Mentioned by Markson on pg. 98 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:
     “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.”
     Also mentioned on pg. 12 of Reader’s Block:
     “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.”
     And mentioned on pg. 48 of Vanishing Point:
     “Like Alexander with the Iliad, Napoleon carried a copy of Plutarch’s Lives with him eternally.”

     The above scan also describes this scene re: Alexander the Great:
     “He too went straight to the shrine of Ilium after crossing the Hellespont to invade Asia. Plutarch described how he ‘anointed the pillar on Achilles’ tomb with oil and ran around it with his friends, naked, according to custom, after which he put a crowd upon it.’”
     Similarly Markson writes on pg. 127 of Wittgenstein’s Mistress:
     “On the way to certain of his own conquests, Alexander the Great once stopped at Troy himself, to lay a wreath at Achilles’s grave.”

     Lastly, the above scan explains this of the Dardanelles:
     “Today more monuments along its shores, commemorating the soldiers who died in the Gallipoli campaign during World War I, are a reminder that it was again fought over in our time.”
     Where Markson wrote in the margins:
     “e.g. Rupert Brooke.”
     And in one of his own texts, Wittgenstein’s Mistress, Markson wrote:
     “In any case on that side of the channel there are monuments to the soldiers who died there in the first World War.
     On the side where Troy is, one can find a monument where Achilles was buried, so much longer ago.” (Pg. 8).
     And Later:
     “A different poet, named Rupert Brooke, died in the Dardanelles during the first World War, even if I do not believe that I remembered this when I visited the Dardanelles, by which I mean the Hellespont.
     Still, I find it extraordinary that young men died there in a war that long ago, and then died in the same place three thousand years after that.” (Pg. 59).

     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.

     Pg. 529 of David Markson’s copy of The Web and the Rock by Thomas Wolfe:
     On which Markson has placed the beginnings of a bracketed line that will go on from this page until pg. 236 of the book, encompassing a section of the text featuring the character Seamus Malone.
—
     On this page, which is almost entirely marked in the margins by the line, Thomas Wolfe has Seamus Malone ranting about T. S. Eliot:     “‘Mr. Eliot from Missouri, has become a Royalist! A Royalist, if you please,’ choked Mr. Malone, ‘and an Anglo-Catholic!’”
     Earlier in the novel, Thomas Wolfe had written:     “—a royalist from Kansas City, a classicist from Nebraska, a fool from nowhere and from nothing.”     Which Richard S. Kennedy, in his book on Wolfe, The Window of Memory, said “is an unmistakable swing at Eliot.”
     Royalist!
     Anglo-Catholic!
     Classicist!
     In the preface to his own essay collection, For Lancelot Andrewes, Eliot himself claimed he was each of these three things:      “Classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and anglo-catholic in religion.”
     In Markson’s Reader’s Block we find:     “Anglican. Royalist. Classicist.”     Written on pg. 56.     Obvious reference to “Mr. Eliot from Missouri.”

     Pg. 529 of David Markson’s copy of The Web and the Rock by Thomas Wolfe:

     On which Markson has placed the beginnings of a bracketed line that will go on from this page until pg. 236 of the book, encompassing a section of the text featuring the character Seamus Malone.

     On this page, which is almost entirely marked in the margins by the line, Thomas Wolfe has Seamus Malone ranting about T. S. Eliot:
     “‘Mr. Eliot from Missouri, has become a Royalist! A Royalist, if you please,’ choked Mr. Malone, ‘and an Anglo-Catholic!’”

     Earlier in the novel, Thomas Wolfe had written:
     “—a royalist from Kansas City, a classicist from Nebraska, a fool from nowhere and from nothing.”
     Which Richard S. Kennedy, in his book on Wolfe, The Window of Memory, said “is an unmistakable swing at Eliot.”

     Royalist!

     Anglo-Catholic!

     Classicist!

     In the preface to his own essay collection, For Lancelot Andrewes, Eliot himself claimed he was each of these three things:
     “Classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and anglo-catholic in religion.”

     In Markson’s Reader’s Block we find:
     “Anglican. Royalist. Classicist.”
     Written on pg. 56.
     Obvious reference to “Mr. Eliot from Missouri.”