Pg. 55 of David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner:
     On which Markson placed a line in the margin next to part of a quote from poet Wallace Stevens on his contemporary William Carlos Williams:     “I have not read Paterson. I have the greatest respect for him, although there is the contrast difficulty that he is more interested in the way of saying things than in what he has to say. The fact remains that we are always fundamentally interested in what a writer has to say. When we are sure of that, we pay attention to the way in which he says it, not often before.”
     And then Markson puts a squiggle to the sentence that Kenner writes in response to Stevens’ reading of Williams:     “This is one of the most extraordinary misunderstandings in literary history.”
—
     So what does Markson think of “one of the most extraordinary misunderstandings in literary history”?
     Where would Markson stand in a Stevens v. Williams deathmatch?
     Well, though we should be careful not to completely conflate the “Novelist” persona in The Last Novel with Markson himself, there are obvious points of similarity between character and author, and the Novelist might offer a point of entry into the novelist’s (Markson’s) thoughts on Wallace Stevens:     The Novelist in The Last Novel (and perhaps Markson himself) thought this of Stevens:     “Wondering if there can be any other ranking twentieth-century American poet whose body of work contains even half the percentage of pure drivel as Wallace Stevens’.” (Pg. 109)
     And yet, Markson’s thoughts on William Carlos Williams also seem to be less than enthusiastic—and we don’t have to use the filter of one of his characters to discover his thoughts here:     On another page in this Hugh Kenner book, once owned by David Markson, Markson wrote in the margin his thoughts on William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore:     “Not if your poetry is not very good—which theirs isn’t.”
     “Tell me honestly, Cal. Am I as good a poet as Shelley?     Asked William Carlos Williams, not long before his death, of Robert Lowell.”     An anecdote found on pg. 178 of The Last Novel.
     Makes me imagine my own scene of WCW on his deathbed:     “Tell me honestly, Dave. Am I as good a poet as Stevens?     Asked William Carlos Williams, not long before his death, of David Markson.”     What would Markson have said?
—
     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. 55 of David Markson’s copy of A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers by Hugh Kenner:

     On which Markson placed a line in the margin next to part of a quote from poet Wallace Stevens on his contemporary William Carlos Williams:
     “I have not read Paterson. I have the greatest respect for him, although there is the contrast difficulty that he is more interested in the way of saying things than in what he has to say. The fact remains that we are always fundamentally interested in what a writer has to say. When we are sure of that, we pay attention to the way in which he says it, not often before.”

     And then Markson puts a squiggle to the sentence that Kenner writes in response to Stevens’ reading of Williams:
     “This is one of the most extraordinary misunderstandings in literary history.”

     So what does Markson think of “one of the most extraordinary misunderstandings in literary history”?

     Where would Markson stand in a Stevens v. Williams deathmatch?

     Well, though we should be careful not to completely conflate the “Novelist” persona in The Last Novel with Markson himself, there are obvious points of similarity between character and author, and the Novelist might offer a point of entry into the novelist’s (Markson’s) thoughts on Wallace Stevens:
     The Novelist in The Last Novel (and perhaps Markson himself) thought this of Stevens:
     “Wondering if there can be any other ranking twentieth-century American poet whose body of work contains even half the percentage of pure drivel as Wallace Stevens’.” (Pg. 109)

     And yet, Markson’s thoughts on William Carlos Williams also seem to be less than enthusiastic—and we don’t have to use the filter of one of his characters to discover his thoughts here:
     On another page in this Hugh Kenner book, once owned by David Markson, Markson wrote in the margin his thoughts on William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore:
     “Not if your poetry is not very good—which theirs isn’t.”

     “Tell me honestly, Cal. Am I as good a poet as Shelley?
     Asked William Carlos Williams, not long before his death, of Robert Lowell.”
     An anecdote found on pg. 178 of The Last Novel.

     Makes me imagine my own scene of WCW on his deathbed:
     “Tell me honestly, Dave. Am I as good a poet as Stevens?
     Asked William Carlos Williams, not long before his death, of David Markson.”
     What would Markson have said?

     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.

     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.)

     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).