Encroachment

A Reading Note

On reading with a pen in hand:

Montaigne, whose scribbling habits amounted to a conversation, would continue the dialog at the back of the book he was reading, including the date on which he had finished it in order to better recall the circumstances of the event.…For Montaigne, this reading method was necessary for what he called his “quest for truth”: not the story as given by the words within the confines of the page but the reflection of that story, mused upon and retold by the reader Montaigne in spaces reclaimed, there where the page left itself vulnerable to encroachment.

Manguel, A Reader on Reading, page 124

Reading may be a collaborative act, but it is one in which the reader is tyrant, the author a mere subject. The whitespace in the margins is there for the taking.

Related books

A Reader on Reading

Alberto Manguel

A series of essays from the author of A History of Reading that explores the reader’s perspective.