Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The imaginary story of William and Kant

My copy of Kant's Prolegomena is pre-owned, which means there are marginalia. The ones in this book are in pencil, which makes me happy because I can erase them.

They also make me happy because I can imagine what the person who had this book before me was thinking.

Now, the name on the title page is written in pen, so I don't know if William is the one who penciled in the margins, but let's say he did.

William did not read the editor's introduction, or if he did he thought nothing of it worth noting. He marked pretty steadily through the Preamble and Book 1. (He thought the passage I posted Monday was "lit".)

Then he got to Book 2, and suddenly the book explodes into pencil, numbering points, underlining passages, circling key terms...and then nothing. 13 pages into Book 2, there is one last scribble and then it stops. The last 75 pages of the book are good as new.

I like imagining William getting more and more confused as he went on, desperately flipping back and forth through those early pages of Book 2 and giving one last valiant effort at understanding...and then throwing the book down in frustration and going to watch TV.

1 comment:

DavidD said...

I'm surprised he got that far. Most people don't get any further than halfway through the second chapter before they give up on all the highlighting.