Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

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terms
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notes

I LOVED this essay. about the process of reading a novel and two very different approaches to it: Roland Barthes's authorial death sentence and the New Criticism school (Kristeva, Foucault, Derrida), vs Nabokov's view that the author is God. this essay is about finding a balance between the two, because if you go the Barthes route indiscriminately you end up with silly, anachronistic, college-freshman readings that offer little value to anyone. great essay that makes me want to read both Barthes and Nabokov.

Smith, Z. (2009). Rereading Barthes and Nabokov. In Smith, Z. Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays. The Penguin Press HC, pp. 42-57

43

The novels we know best have an architecture. Not only a door going in and another leading out, but rooms, hallways, stairs, little gardens front and back, trapdoors, hidden passageways, et cetera. It's a fortunate rereader who knows half a dozen novels this way in their lifetime. I know one, Pnin, having read it half a dozen times. When you enter a beloved novel many times, you can come to feel that you possess it, that nobody else has ever lived there. You try not to notice the party of impatient tourists trooping through the kitchen (Pnin a minor scenic attraction en route to the canyon Lolita), or that shuffling academic army, moving in perfect phalanx, as they stalk a squirrel around the backyard (or a series of squirrels, depending on their methodology). Even the architect's claim on his creation seems secondary to your wonderful way of living in it.

such a good opening paragraph, my god

—p.43 by Zadie Smith 1 year, 10 months ago

The novels we know best have an architecture. Not only a door going in and another leading out, but rooms, hallways, stairs, little gardens front and back, trapdoors, hidden passageways, et cetera. It's a fortunate rereader who knows half a dozen novels this way in their lifetime. I know one, Pnin, having read it half a dozen times. When you enter a beloved novel many times, you can come to feel that you possess it, that nobody else has ever lived there. You try not to notice the party of impatient tourists trooping through the kitchen (Pnin a minor scenic attraction en route to the canyon Lolita), or that shuffling academic army, moving in perfect phalanx, as they stalk a squirrel around the backyard (or a series of squirrels, depending on their methodology). Even the architect's claim on his creation seems secondary to your wonderful way of living in it.

such a good opening paragraph, my god

—p.43 by Zadie Smith 1 year, 10 months ago

physical or intellectual pleasure, delight, or ecstasy; the concept featured heavily in the psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan's and was expanded on by Roland Barthes for literary theory, to contrast with mere "pleasure" derived from reading texts that don't challenge the reader as a subject. can also refer to pleasure that devolves into pain

44

both equally concerned with jouissance, with literary bliss

on Barthes and Nabokov

—p.44 by Zadie Smith
notable
1 year, 10 months ago

both equally concerned with jouissance, with literary bliss

on Barthes and Nabokov

—p.44 by Zadie Smith
notable
1 year, 10 months ago

(adjective) marked by a tendency in favor of a particular point of view; biased

46

criticism's tendentious politics

—p.46 by Zadie Smith
strange
1 year, 10 months ago

criticism's tendentious politics

—p.46 by Zadie Smith
strange
1 year, 10 months ago

(noun) construction (as of a sculpture or a structure of ideas) achieved by using whatever comes to hand / (noun) something constructed in this way

46

To Nabokov, an author was more than a bricolage artiste, more than a recombiner of older materials.

—p.46 by Zadie Smith
uncertain
1 year, 10 months ago

To Nabokov, an author was more than a bricolage artiste, more than a recombiner of older materials.

—p.46 by Zadie Smith
uncertain
1 year, 10 months ago

(adjective) grotesque bizarre / characterized by clownish extravagance or absurdity / whimsically gay; frolicsome

46

antic, decentered, many-voiced, perverse

describing Barthes' theory of the text. never seen it used as an adjective before

—p.46 by Zadie Smith
strange
1 year, 10 months ago

antic, decentered, many-voiced, perverse

describing Barthes' theory of the text. never seen it used as an adjective before

—p.46 by Zadie Smith
strange
1 year, 10 months ago

(adjective) having exceptional power, authority, or influence / (adjective) exceeding others in power

48

Barthes' portrait of the prepotent reader

—p.48 by Zadie Smith
uncertain
1 year, 10 months ago

Barthes' portrait of the prepotent reader

—p.48 by Zadie Smith
uncertain
1 year, 10 months ago
49

In The Pleasure of the Text and "S/Z", meanwhile, we find Barthes assigning this work of construction to readers themselves. Here a rather wonderful Barthesian distinction is made between the "readerly" and the "writerly" text. Readerly texts ask little or nothing of their readers; they are smooth and fixed in meaning and can be read passively (most magazine copy and bad genre writing is of this kind). By contrast, the writerly text openly displays its written-ness, demanding a great effort from its reader, a creative engagement. In a writerly text the reader, through reading, is actually reconstructing the act of writing, a thrilling idea with which Nabokov would sympathize, for that was the kind of active reader his own work required. But then Barthes imagines a further step: that by reading across the various "codes" he believed were inscribed in the writerly text (the linguistic, symbolic, social, historical, et cetera), a reader, in an active sense, constructs the text entirely anew with each reading. In this way Barthes reverses the hierarchy of the writer-reader dynamic. The reader becomes "no longer the consumer but the producer of text".

contrast this with Nabokov's view that the author is the one who circumscribes, limits (for the reader)

—p.49 by Zadie Smith 1 year, 10 months ago

In The Pleasure of the Text and "S/Z", meanwhile, we find Barthes assigning this work of construction to readers themselves. Here a rather wonderful Barthesian distinction is made between the "readerly" and the "writerly" text. Readerly texts ask little or nothing of their readers; they are smooth and fixed in meaning and can be read passively (most magazine copy and bad genre writing is of this kind). By contrast, the writerly text openly displays its written-ness, demanding a great effort from its reader, a creative engagement. In a writerly text the reader, through reading, is actually reconstructing the act of writing, a thrilling idea with which Nabokov would sympathize, for that was the kind of active reader his own work required. But then Barthes imagines a further step: that by reading across the various "codes" he believed were inscribed in the writerly text (the linguistic, symbolic, social, historical, et cetera), a reader, in an active sense, constructs the text entirely anew with each reading. In this way Barthes reverses the hierarchy of the writer-reader dynamic. The reader becomes "no longer the consumer but the producer of text".

contrast this with Nabokov's view that the author is the one who circumscribes, limits (for the reader)

—p.49 by Zadie Smith 1 year, 10 months ago

(adj) having or susceptible to many applications, interpretations, meanings, or values

51

For he felt his own work to be multiplex but not truly multivalent--the buck stopped at Nabokov, the man who had placed the details there in the first place.

—p.51 by Zadie Smith
notable
1 year, 10 months ago

For he felt his own work to be multiplex but not truly multivalent--the buck stopped at Nabokov, the man who had placed the details there in the first place.

—p.51 by Zadie Smith
notable
1 year, 10 months ago

(noun) a duplicator for making many copies that utilizes a stencil through which ink is pressed

53

what amounts to a reader's mimeograph of the Author's creative act

—p.53 by Zadie Smith
notable
1 year, 10 months ago

what amounts to a reader's mimeograph of the Author's creative act

—p.53 by Zadie Smith
notable
1 year, 10 months ago
54

[...] No matter how I try to slot them together, Nabokov goes a certain way along with Barthes but no further. Reading is creative! insists Barthes. Yes, but writing creates, replies Nabokov, smoothly, and turns back to his note cards.

—p.54 by Zadie Smith 1 year, 10 months ago

[...] No matter how I try to slot them together, Nabokov goes a certain way along with Barthes but no further. Reading is creative! insists Barthes. Yes, but writing creates, replies Nabokov, smoothly, and turns back to his note cards.

—p.54 by Zadie Smith 1 year, 10 months ago

term derived from heraldry; means "placed into abyss"

54

find in those texts miniature versions of Pnin's Russian doll structure, mise-en-abymes placed by Nabokov into his novel

—p.54 by Zadie Smith
notable
1 year, 10 months ago

find in those texts miniature versions of Pnin's Russian doll structure, mise-en-abymes placed by Nabokov into his novel

—p.54 by Zadie Smith
notable
1 year, 10 months ago
57

[...] Maybe every author needs to keep faith with Nabokov, and every reader with Barthes. For how can you write, believing in Barthes? Still, I'm glad I'm not the reader I was in college anymore, and I'll tell you why: it made me feel lonely. Back then I wanted to tear down the icon of the author and abolish, too, the idea of a privileged reader--the text was to be a free, wild thing, open to everyone, belonging to no one, refusing an ultimate meaning. Which was a powerful feeling, but also rather isolating, because it jettisons the very idea of communication, of any possible genuine links between the person who writes and the person who reads. Nowadays I know the true reason I read is to feel less alone, to make a connection with a consciousness other than my own. [...]

—p.57 by Zadie Smith 1 year, 10 months ago

[...] Maybe every author needs to keep faith with Nabokov, and every reader with Barthes. For how can you write, believing in Barthes? Still, I'm glad I'm not the reader I was in college anymore, and I'll tell you why: it made me feel lonely. Back then I wanted to tear down the icon of the author and abolish, too, the idea of a privileged reader--the text was to be a free, wild thing, open to everyone, belonging to no one, refusing an ultimate meaning. Which was a powerful feeling, but also rather isolating, because it jettisons the very idea of communication, of any possible genuine links between the person who writes and the person who reads. Nowadays I know the true reason I read is to feel less alone, to make a connection with a consciousness other than my own. [...]

—p.57 by Zadie Smith 1 year, 10 months ago