Reading History from the Margins

July 26, 2015

Can we ever know how people used to read - say, 500 years ago? Princeton historian Tony Grafton is obsessed with that question. He says we get plenty of clues by looking at what our ancestors wrote in the margins of books, and this provides a glimpse at how people thought about themselves and the world around them.

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Why would anyone be "ashamed" to admit they turned down page corners or wrote in their own books?! I do it all the time & it shows how much they mean to me - how involved I am in the book/story. If it's fine with Newton, you guys need to let your shame go!

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