For the collection of short stories, essays, biography, and poetry, see Marginalia (collection). For the international convention on documents, see Apostille convention.
Marginalia (or apostils) are marks made in the margins of a book or other document. They may be scribbles, comments, glosses (annotations), critiques, doodles, or illuminations.
Biblical manuscripts have liturgical notes at the margin, for liturgical use. Numbers of texts' divisions are given at the margin (κεφάλαια, Ammonian Sections, Eusebian Canons). There are some scholia, corrections and other notes usually made later by hand in the margin. Marginalia may also be of relevance because many ancient or medieval writers of these marginalia may have had access to other relevant texts that, although they may have been widely copied at the time, have since then been lost due to wars, prosecution or censorship. As such, they might give clues to an earlier, more widely known context of the extant form of the underlying text than is currently appreciated. For this reason, scholars of ancient texts usually try to find as many still existing manuscripts of the texts they are researching, because the notes scribbled in the margin might contain additional clues to the interpretation of these texts.
The scholia on classical manuscripts are the earliest known form of marginalia. Fermat's last theorem is the most famous mathematical marginal note. The first recorded use of the word marginalia is in 1819 in Blackwood's Magazine. From 1845 to 1849 Edgar Allan Poe titled some of his reflections and fragmentary material "Marginalia." Five volumes of Samuel T. Coleridge's marginalia have been published. Some famous marginalia were serious works, or drafts thereof, written in margins due to scarcity of paper. Voltaire composed in book margins while in prison, and Sir Walter Raleigh wrote a personal statement in margins just before his execution. Beginning in the 1990s, attempts have been made to design and market e-book devices permitting a limited form of marginalia.
Marginalia can add to or detract from the value of an association copy of a book, depending on the author of the marginalia and on the book.
Catherine C. Marshall, doing research on the future of user interface design, has studied the phenomenon of user annotation of texts. She discovered that in several university departments, students would scour the piles of textbooks at used book dealers for consistently annotated copies. The students had a good appreciation for their predecessors' distillation of knowledge. In recent years, the marginalia left behind by university students as they engage with library textbooks has also been a topic of interest to sociologists looking to understand the lived experience of being a university student.
American poet, Billy Collins has explored the phenomenon of annotation within his poem titled 'Marginalia'.
Writers known for their marginalia
- Alston, R. C. Books with Manuscript: A short title catalogue of Books with Manuscript Notes in the British Library. London: British Library, 1994.
- Coleridge, S. T. Marginalia, Ed. George Walley and H. J. Jackson. The Collected works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge 12. Bolligen Series 75. 5 vols. Princeton University Press, 1980-.
- Jackson, H. J. Marginalia: Readers writing in Books, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-300-08816-7 N.B: one of the first books on this subject
- ^Singh, Simon (1997). Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem. Fourth Estate Ltd. ISBN 0-385-49362-2.
- ^"marginalia". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- ^"Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Misc - Marginalia". Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- ^Poe, Edgar Allan. "Marginalia", The Democratic Review, July, 1846, Vol. XIX, No. 97, Thomas Prentice Kettell, New York, page, 30.
- ^"Seeing the picture - Crowdsourcing annotations for books (and eBooks)". Blog. University of Iowa Libraries. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
- ^Cathy Marshall. "From Personal to Shared Annotations"(PDF). Texas A&M University. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
- ^"Social Annotations in Digital Library Collections". D-Lib Magazine. 1998-03-24. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
- ^Attenborough, F. (2011) 'I don't f***ing care': marginalia and the (textual) negotiation of an academic identity by university students, Discourse & Communication, 5(2): 99-121
- ^Attenborough, F., Stokoe, E. (2012) Student life; student identity; student experience: ethnomethodological methods for pedagogical matters, Psychology, Learning & Teaching, 11(1): 6-21.
- ^"Marginalia by Billy Collins". Poetry Foundation. 5 December 2017.
- ^Jackson, H. J. "John Adams's Marginalia, Then and Now"(PDF).
- ^"A Book I Value: Selected Marginalia — Samuel Taylor Coleridge". Princeton University. 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
- ^"Reading Markson Reading". tumblr.com. 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
- ^"Melville Marginalia Online". MelvillesMarginalia.org. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
- ^Park Bucker (2003-12-11). "Princess Daisy: A Description of Sylvia Plath's Copy of The Great Gatsby". University of South Carolina. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
- ^The Mark Twain House and Museum (2010-01-08). "Mark Twain's Marginalia". blogspot.com. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
- ^"Harry Ransom Center". University of Texas. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
Within these selections, all original punctuation, abbreviations and spellings have been retained. Where these spellings differ greatly from modern spellings, the most current form is noted in brackets immediately following the word. A number of obvious variants, such as “colour” for “color,” reflect conventions to which we no longer adhere, but which were considered acceptable during Poe’s lifetime and are left to stand without additional commentary. For manuscript material, including Poe’s own corrections to printed sources, text contained within angle brackets “<...>” shows annotations made by Poe himself for the main text given. Reversed double-angle brackets “>>...<<” show text that Poe has canceled by striking or scratching out. Text contained within square brackets “[...]” is not part of the original. This text is intended as notes or corrections of typographical errors. In the original printings, some text occasionally appears within square brackets “[...].” In such cases, these have been changed to standard parentheses to avoid confusion. (Note: Over time, we will be changing our previously stated policy concerning square brackets to retain Poe’s usage and distinguish our own editorial notes by enclosing these in double-square brackets “[[...]]”.)
These items are arranged alphabetically by name. Within each name, entries are listed chronologically. Some of these items were not published under any specific title and most are, therefore, given here under a title deemed appropriately descriptive. The authorship of some items is a topic long researched and debated. Most of the items included here were signed, but for some, the attribution to Poe is necessarily the result of conjecture.