I love marginalia so much that I created an entire “tag” for it on my site.
I love to read about the marginalia of famous people.
The tiny markings Thomas Jefferson would place beside lines of text that … interested him, that he agreed with, that he wanted to investigate further – who knows why, but they’re intriguing nonetheless.
Medieval monks copying manuscripts – years on end – bored out of their minds – filled the pages of these Tomes with marginalia, sometimes critiquing what they were copying (“This is a very poor translation”), sometimes, though, they’re little diary entries (“O God it is cold.” “My hand hurts.” Or, my favorite: “St Patrick of Armagh, deliver me from writing.” I hear ya, monk, I hear ya on that.)
Elvis was a big marker-upper-of-books sometimes underlining practically every sentence on the page. (My favorite example of Elvis marginalia was a note he wrote in the margins of one of his religious spiritual books: “GOD LOVES YOU BUT HE LOVES YOU BEST WHEN YOU SING.” Marginalia can be golden.)
I woke up this morning to a text from my cousin Mike, that had only had a URL in it. The URL led to this article in The New Yorker: Marlene Dietrich’s Marginalia.
This is what O’Malleys do, we supportively text one another articles about marginalia at 3 o’clock in the morning. Sometimes Dietrich’s marginalia was to correct information in this or that biography where her name was mentioned (my favorite is “SHE WAS LANG’S MISTRESS. NOTHING TO DO WITH ME!”) – but sometimes it’s a critique of the writing itself, as in the image above.