Make Your Mark on The Red RoomOctober 15, 2012
When Claire Thomson (Head of Scandinavian at UCL) first discussed The Red Room with me, I was really excited that she was willing to consider a mass annotation project as one of her exhibits.
I love annotation and marginalia: part of my PhD research involves deciphering Walter de la Mare’s annotations to his Working Library at Senate House. There’s been lots of great research conducted into annotation in general, and a lot of focus on certain famous (or, if you like your books pristine, infamous) annotators such as Coleridge and Poe.
The exhibit in The Red Room consists of some copies of the Norvik Press edition of The Red Room with a simple instruction for exhibition-goers to make whatever notes they like in the text, using any of the equipment provided. This includes pencils, pens, post-it notes and page-markers.
Given how fond Strindberg was of discussion, we like to think that he’d approve of this idea, and we are really looking forward to analysing the marks that people make in the books – which implements they choose to make their mark and whether the marks respond to the text on the page or whether they are doodles or remarks unrelated to what’s happening in the novel. We also intend to digitise the annotated copies and make them live in time for the UCL Festival of Reading in March 2013.
On Thursday at 4pm, I’ll be giving a brief talk on the project. So far, most people are choosing to use the post-its rather than mark the page itself, but there are some lovely contributions, like this Bird’s Eye View of Stockholm, inspired by the title of the first chapter in the book.
Full details of the event on The Red Room site.
If you are attending any of the other events at the Red Room, or are passing by Gower Street before 21 October, do call in and make your mark on Strindberg’s novel. Your contribution to the project will be much appreciated … and will even end up online in the Spring.