Marginalia

The term ‘marginalia’ might serve as a means of thinking about the role that our interventions on each others’ writings might take.1Of course, the margins are not only written but may include images. For the sake of the reader, we settled on numbered footnotes that open within the body of the text when mousing above the numbers. Images are dealt with separately and are presented in columns on either side of the texts. What does the intervention of one writer do to the writing of another, and what does it do to the writer? What does it do to their agency, and (in the case of these writings) to the memories and enquiries that prompt the writing?2In this instance, the marginalia begins beyond the text itself. Specifically, a number of meetings took place to arrive at the basic plan for writing installation. Before words were written they were spoken; thus, the spoken words precede the writing and are a kind of ur-marginalia (without the body of the text present). We have been discussing the marginalia in illuminated manuscripts, and how these markings were not only aides-memoire to their monastic authors and readers, but also outlets for small acts of scriptive transgression. One is tempted to use the word graffiti (graffio, a scratching), but it is perhaps more like a side-note or a parallel text.3At least, markings such as these are no more coarse than the text whose margins they appear in.

Refinement and coarseness,4Cheval de course, a horse of course! text and commentary,5Nabokov, of all people, wrote that “Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece.”. Or did so in the voice of Humbert Humbert, one should point out. Is the unfinished masterpiece the negative image of Lolita, its non-existent counter-text? The book that would have been if the same narrative had been told in the third person? original and translation,6Lydia Davis left many parts of her translation of Michael Leiris’ Rules of the Game in French in order to preserve their voice; a non-act of transgression. parry and counter-parry.7Parez! I ward off the meaning you impose…

But what happens if one jumps to the other side, or starts from the other side entirely?8Writing collaboratively proposes that one is always writing from the Other Side, by way of response, critique or quarrel. This form of writing relies on the certainty of dialogue.

From the other side of the court, facing?9For further reading on crossing the court between fiction and its counterpart see De Alfonce Tennis: The Superlative Game of Eccentric Champions Its History, Accoutrements, Rules, Conduct and Regimen, a ‘legend’ by J.P. Donleavy.