For $20 at textbook buyback.
If you want to yell at me, please do. I've been yelled at for this before (by fellow English majors) ... and I yell at myself whenever I remember. I'd just spent four months in Brit Lit. I'd romanticized nature with the Big Five (Wordsworth's Preface, anyone?), totally fallen in love with Keats' Odes. I'd discovered Matthew Arnold. I'd learned all about Elizabeth Barrett Browning's crazy father and secret romance with Robert. I'd shivered at Christina Rosetti's "Goblin Market." And then Tennyson. I'd always thought of him as a cliche for some reason, but no one can call him that without reading "In Memoriam A.H.H." from start to finish. Including the magnificent epilogue hymn.
|The Lakes District|
|V-Woolf herself in Tavistock Square, London|
|Yeats' Tower, Ireland|
Then the end of Freshman year came, and somehow I'd accumulated way too much stuff. I shipped a box, packed my suitcases (3 of them) bursting full of clothes and random things that freshman think they might need at college. At the very last moment, I realized I had no room for my Norton. Literally no room. Now, looking back, I probably could have shipped it. Or carried it onto the plane. But I was stressed: it was finals week, it was boiling hot outside, and my suitcases were already overweight. So I booked it down to the bookstore on move-out day, stood in a long line in 95 degree sunshine, and sold that Norton for $20.
I cried later. And when I think about all the stuff I'm going to take away from college this May, I wish I had that Norton. It taught me how to sit with a poet for a while, count their meter and consider their form and taste their language like ... something old and rich and deeply human.
All this brings me to two things. One, an article on NPR about the tarnishing of the reader/book relationship by marginalia (or all those things I scribbled in the Norton): http://m.npr.org/programs/all/2/134342235. Or an alternate take in the Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/books/2014295345_bookmargins22.html.
And two, what books would you buy back if you had the chance?