chapter
28 Pages

Introduction

Annotating literary history
ByAmanda Golden

An annotation is part of a story. A note in the margin is a clue, a detail. And yet, even as marginalia may provide pieces to a puzzle, the author rarely attempt to understand annotating as a genre, let alone what annotations can tell us about literary and institutional histories. Margins remain largely untapped spaces in modernist studies. Authors’ libraries and teaching notes present an exemplary but overlooked resource for tracing the history and reception of Anglo-American modernism. In this book and throughout his library, part of the process of reading meant making impressions on a page, creating a record of thoughts, definitions, and interpretations. Students and professors of literature are familiar with the types of annotation that this book considers. Readers may have already underlined passages or added notes in the margins. Teachers inscribe texts with commentary, explications, and definitions; their notes, in turn, inform the material they present to students.