Sunday, November 22, 2015

Modern marginalia

In the Idyllic State U Library's copy of the Life of St. Clare, of the pope:


An otherwise dispassionate annotator gets carried away.

6 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

Reminds me of my margin notes in Jane Eyre when Brocklehurst makes Jane stand on a chair with the sign "Liar" around her neck.

Sometimes it's difficult to maintain critical distance.

Fretful Porpentine said...

That's funny! But I think the annotator may be unaware that "condescending" is a positive attribute in this context...

heu mihi said...

Fretful--I know! Given the other marginalia, which show some solid familiarity with medieval hagiography, it's a surprising lapse.

GEW--Indeed. The other night I was reading a recent Very High Theory essay and I finally wrote in the margins, "This is gibberish." I stopped reading about a paragraph later.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

heu mihi - An adverb can make a real difference, eh?

As for your comment to GEW, when you wrote "This is gibberish..." I could be wrong, but at least in my field, it feels like there is a move back toward clarity in writing. The "next-gen plen" speeches at SAA last year were very much invested in close reading, and therefore were light on the "theory-speak" and heavy on the clarity of analysis. I confess that I am delighted with this change.

heu mihi said...

Fie--Medieval lit crit is usually delightfully lucid. But this was a theoretical essay on affect theory, which in some cases (I'm coming to see) draws heavily on gobbledygook. In my view. I mean, if you're going to talk about "metastabilities" and "quantum indeterminacy of the implicate order," you need to do some heavy term-defining. And buy me a drink.

Good Enough Woman said...

I recently had a similar "affect theory" reading experience. I feel affirmed.