“Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”
When I was little, I kept a notebook, notebooks actually and journals. I would write almost everything- everything in my line of interest.
I noted birth dates, anniversary dates, dates that were of significant meaning to me. I noted in words whose meanings/definition I had no idea (so I could later look them up). I did most of my random writing there. I noted quotes, extracted paragraphs and statements from novels and books I would be reading.
They were my best friends these books; they were the only ones with whom I could freely express my self and say what exactly was on my mind.I still have most these scrapbooks; I lost my favourite one however, a pocket notebook, which included some of my best quotes.
Anyhow, what is this all about again?
Today I was going through wordpress good reads and stuff, and I stumbled upon a link where people post their quotable quotes.
Kay asks if people have any quotes from commonplace books.
People ask what a commonplace book is.
Kay posts a definition from Wikipedia.
“Commonplace books (or commonplaces) emerged in the 15th century with the availability of cheap paper for writing, mainly in England. They were a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. They were essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: medical recipes, quotes, letters, and poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas.
Readers, writers, students, and humanists used commonplaces as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they had learned. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator’s particular interests.
… Both Emerson and Thoreau were taught to keep commonplace books at Harvard (their commonplace books survive in published form). Commonplacing was particularly attractive to authors. Some, such as Coleridge and Mark Twain, kept messy reading notes that were intermixed with other quite various material; others, such as Thomas Hardy, followed a more formal reading-notes method that mirrored the original Renaissance practice more closely. The older, “clearinghouse” function of the commonplace book, to condense and centralize useful and even “model” ideas and expressions became less popular over time.
Critically, many of these works are not seen to have literary value to modern editors. However, the value of such collections is the insights they offer into the tastes, interests, personalities and concerns of their individual compilers. From the standpoint of the psychology of authorship, it is noteworthy that keeping notebooks is in itself a kind of tradition among litterateurs. A commonplace book of literary memoranda may serve as a symbol to the keeper, therefore, of the person’s literary identity (or something psychologically not far-removed), quite apart from its obvious value as a written record.
That commonplace books (and other personal note-books) can enjoy this special status is supported by the fact that authors frequently treat their notebooks as quasi-works, giving them elaborate titles, compiling them neatly from rough notes, recompiling still neater revisions of them later, and preserving them with a special devotion and care that seems out of proportion to their apparent function as working materials.”
Just thought its great to have this on my blog; especially because I had no idea that my numerous little notebooks had a name- Commonplace Books.