Spring Break is here and I’m sure we’re all ecstatic. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean you get time off from reading though—how can you  with all those readings you were assigned? While doing those reading assignments, I’m sure majority of us take notes on the side; for some of us it’s probably become a habit. This habit of margin writing is called marginalia. Even library books aren’t spared from marginalia; I’ve taken out many library books with underlined sentences and scribbles on the sides. Famous writers like Charles Darwin, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Jane Austen and Nelson Mandala were margin writers. The books that  they wrote side notes on are under lock and key in some  libraries, where students can read them but can’t take them out.

Margin writing offers great insight  as to what the reader thought as he or she read the book. It shows how differently the same passage, the same  book can resonate with various people. Marginalia, however, is slowly disappearing because of technology. With gadgets like kindles and e-books people are no longer buying books and jotting down notes in them. If you would like to learn more on the deterioration of margin writing, read this article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/books/21margin.html

Advertisements