Synopses & Reviews
Great writers of the past whose works we still read and love will be read forever. They will survive the test of time. We remember authors of true genius because their writings are simply the best. Or . . . might there be other reasons that account for an authorandrsquo;s literary fate?
This original book takes a fresh look at our beliefs about literary fame by examining how it actually comes about. H. J. Jackson wrestles with entrenched notions about recognizing genius and the test of time by comparing the reputations of a dozen writers of the Romantic periodandmdash;some famous, some forgotten. Why are we still reading Jane Austen but not Mary Brunton, when readers in their own day sometimes couldnandrsquo;t tell their works apart? Why Keats and not Barry Cornwall, who came from the same circle of writers and had the same mentor? Why not that mentor, Leigh Hunt, himself?
Jackson offers new and unorthodox accounts of the coming-to-fame of some of Britainandrsquo;s most revered authors and compares their reputations and afterlives with those of their contemporary rivals. What she discovers about trends, champions, institutional power, and writersandrsquo; conscious efforts to position themselves for posterity casts fresh light on the actual processes that lead to literary fame.
andldquo;[A] revelatory and delightful study . . . Jacksonandrsquo;s study should renew interest in the Romantic period and its writersandmdash;the famous and forgotten alike.andrdquo;?Publishers Weekly
andldquo;Jackson commands a lifetime of reading in a fluid, ceaselessly compelling history of the literary afterlife, of how over the centuries, our concepts of a writerandrsquo;s immortality have morphed, mutated, double-backed.andrdquo;andmdash;William Giraldi, The New Republic
andldquo;Those Who Write for Immortality is therefore a special book, a delightfully readable and reliable witness for a subject that sometimes seems out of fashion, as ideas of posterity appear either pointless or impossible, in literature or elsewhere.andrdquo;andmdash;The American Scholar
andldquo;A thoughtful, elegant, and subtly humorous exploration of the specific circumstances that enable literary reputations to flourish over the long term.andrdquo;andmdash;Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker
andldquo;[A] fascinating new study of literary reputation . . . [a] meticulously researched, elegantly written and wonderfully subtle account of the reputational fortunes, over time, of a select group of Romantic period writers.andrdquo;andmdash;The Literary Review of Canada
An examination of all varieties of marginalia, from casual scribbles to lengthy arguments. It introduces us to annotators, both celebrated and unknown, whose jottings in book margins reveal much about themselves, their relationships with other readers, and their involvement with books.
From Pierre de Fermat to Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Graham Greene, readers have related to books through the notes they write in the margins. In this pioneering book-the first to examine the phenomenon of marginalia-H.J. Jackson surveys an extraordinary range of annotated books to explore the history of marginalia, the forms they take, the psychology that underlies them, and the reactions they provoke.Based on a study of thousands of books annotated by readers both famous and obscure over the last three centuries, this book reveals the intensity of emotion that characterizes the process of reading. For hundreds of years, readers have talked to other people in the margins of their books-not only to authors, but also to friends, lovers, and future generations.With an infectious enthusiasm for her subject, Jackson reflects on the cultural and historical value of writing in the margins, examines works that have invited passionate annotation, and presents examples of some of the most provocative marginalia. Imaginative, amusing, and poignant, this book will be treasured by-and maybe even annotated by-anyone who cares about reading.
A provocative inquiry into lasting literary fame, the gifted writers who have achieved it, and the gifted writers who have not
About the Author
H. J. Jackson is professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, where she was one of the founders of the graduate program in book history and print culture. She has explored every major research library in the U.S. and spent many happy summer months in the British Library and other collections in the U.K. She lives in Toronto.