7 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2021
    1. Not all the ancients are ancestors.

      I'll definitely grant this and admit that there may be independent invention or re-discovery of ideas.

      However, I'll also mention that it's far, far less likely that any of these people truly invented very much novel along the way, particularly since Western culture has been swimming in the proverbial waters of writing, rhetoric, and the commonplace book tradition for so long that we too often forget that we're actually swimming in water.

      It's incredibly easy to reinvent the wheel when everything around you is made of circles, hubs, and axles.

  2. May 2021
    1. Ideas have a history, but so do the tools that lend disembodied ideas their material shape −− most commonly, text on a page. The text is produced with the help of writing tools such as pencil, typewriter, or computer keyboard, and of note-taking tools such as ledger, notebook, or mobile phone app. These tools themselves embody the merging of often very different histories. Lichtenberg’s notebooks are a good example, drawing as they do on mercantile bookkeeping, the humanist tradition of the commonplace book, and Pietist autobiographical writing (see Petra McGillen’s detailed analysis).

      I like the thought of not only the history of thoughts and ideas, but also the history of the tools that may have helped to make them.

      I'm curious to delve into Pietist autobiographical writing as a concept.

  3. Jul 2020
    1. it’s about writing the first draft of history. “I’m writing a lot when other people aren’t necessarily putting things out there,” he says. “You can be a great academic, but if you’re not writing all the time you’re not necessarily in people’s minds as someone they would want to ask a question to.

      This* is important. I've written thoughts on a subject over time but never shared it with anyone other than friends.Even worse is I"ve thought about writing down important issues regarding Bitcoin over the years.

      Then one day I wake up and someone has a twitter thread that follows the same thought process.

  4. Nov 2019
    1. For example, take the character for east , which in the Beijingdialect has the sound “dong” (pronounced “doong,” as in Mao Ze-dong’s name). Since a Chinese character is read aloud as a single syllableand since spoken Chinese is also rather short of sounds (there are onlyabout four hundred different syllables in the whole language), it hasbeen plagued with homophones, words that sound like other words, like“soul” and “sole” or “all” and “awl” in English. It happened that thespoken word meaning “freeze” had the sound “dong.” So did a spokenword meaning a roof beam. When the Chinese went to write down thecharacter for freeze, they took the character for east and put beside itthe symbol of ice , which makes the character (“dong,” to freeze).To write down the word sounding “dong” which meant roof beam, theywrote the character east and put before it the symbol for wood mak-ing (“dong,” a roof beam).These are simple examples. Indeed, any part of the Chinese languageis simple in itself. It becomes difficult because there is so much of it to beremembered, so many meanings and allusions. When the lexicographersof later times wanted to arrange thousands of Chinese characters in adictionary, for instance, the best they could do in the absence of an al-phabet was to work out a list of 214 classifiers or “radicals,” one ofwhich was sure to be in each character in the language. These 214classifiers, for dictionary purposes, correspond to the 26 letters of our al-phabet, but are more ambiguous and less efficient. Shang writing was al-ready using “radicals” like wood, mouth, heart, hand, that indicatedcategories of meaning. From the start the governmental power of theChinese writing system was at the ruler’s disposal. Writing seems to haveemerged more in the service of lineage organization and governmentthan in the service of trade.



  5. Jul 2019
    1. See also the author's own take.

      If the Modernists loved revision so much that they kept at it throughout the literary process, including when their work was in proofs — and one of Sullivan’s key points is that these discrete stages actually encouraged revision — then why didn’t their printers and publishers complain? ... changing work in proofs is expensive.

      That's because Modernists had the support money to revise and to experiment with the rules of revision.

      In her memoir Shakespeare & Company, Sylvia Beach recalls Joyce’s publisher warning about “a lot of extra expenses with these proofs. . . . He suggested that I call Joyce’s attention to the danger of going beyond my depth; perhaps his appetite for proofs might be curbed.”

      But Beach explains that, for her, the most important thing was that Joyce could work as diligently and obsessively as he wanted to:

      I wouldn’t hear of such a thing. Ulysses was to be as Joyce wished, in every respect. I wouldn’t advise ‘real’ publishers to follow my example, nor authors to follow Joyce’s. It would be the death of publishing. My case was different. It seemd natural to me that the efforts and sacrifices on my part should be proportionate to the greatnes of the work I was publishing.

  6. Sep 2017
  7. Aug 2017