The Role of Marginalia

S.Brent Plate touched on the topic rather inconspicuous but at the same time filled with deep philosophical meaning and value. “Marginalia and Its Disruptions" which appeared on the resource Los Angeles Review of Books examines the issue of marginalia and tries to present its psychological and cognitive value and indicate the reasons why the topic is relevant in today’s public discourse. The author concludes that the margins explore significant crisis at the present stage due to advances in technology and digital age. However, at the same time, this phenomenon is not just an attempt to interact with the text, but a manifestation of the will of the body, the transfer of power from the writer to the reader, a unilateral change in the perception. Therefore, the loss of these qualities has an adverse impact on the creative aspect of the person as a whole.

Generalization of knowledge gained from the article indeed opens a new look to this seemingly trivial manifestation of the cognitive process during the reading. The author shows the level of relevance of the topic, citing a variety of work as well as the organizations and groups that in some way relate to the theme of notes in the margins. It is evident that this phenomenon originated from the beginning of writing that the author rightly notes. However, the discoveries begin to arise in another area. Some people may perceive marginalia as mere additions, annotations, or disagreement with the author’s thoughts by the reader. On the contrary, with a critical look at this process more deeply, it becomes evident that the essence of a marginalia is to change the direction of one-way information. Thus, the linear text ceases to be such, as the reader adds unique elements aimed at interaction with the opinion of the author. Consequently, the reader sets the tone of the cognitive process in spite of the writer. Also, this phenomenon allows you to preserve text so to say alive. Besides, it is worth noting a particular section among those directly involved in the book business. Some bibliophiles suppress marginalia as well as other acts of physical interaction with books that change their appearance. In turn, some people have dedicated their work collecting the literature of past times, with the aim not only to keep the text and but notes as well, because some of them carry a particular value, especially some from the Medival age. But at the same time, new media and modern technology are less and less resort to the use of notes in the margin, as well as to the use of books in general. Nevertheless, it is possible to assume that this process is altered nowadays, because blog comments, for example, could be considered as a kind of modern time projection of marginalia, albeit deprived of their traditional use. In any case, it is considerably difficult to dispute the impact of technology on the current stage and the fact that the notes lose their original meaning.

Furthermore, the author rightly argues that the second reason for the relevance of the topic rather less noticeable. An analyze of its implication indicates even a threat to all human beings to some extent. It is enough just to look at the latest trends and the prevalence of artificial intelligence in a growing number of social spheres. Thus human activity loses sensate body that moves, breathes and read (Plate, 2015). Indeed, today it is much easier to access information using only computerized methods, it is simpler to get ready material than create something unique. Therefore, that is the main disadvantage of the consumer sphere, and the issue is that this phenomenon came to an information level and thus brought significant damage to the cognitive development of the individual. The human body includes the desire to know and analyze the action, feelings and emotions, in turn, the mind perceives only fragments of text and following their strict development which blocks the path to creativity. Thus, the dominance of text over the notes corresponds to the domination of the mind over the body. From this, it is possible to derive a clear conclusion and try to put the mind in doubt. Cognitive activity is not just a strict perception but interaction that unites self-expression of the body along with the intellectual response.

Finally, the article makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the concept of marginalia as a much broader cognitive process. It allows analyzing the key points that determine a crisis of notes, which in turn has a negative impact on human activity. The author demonstrates the importance of control over the process of reading and contrasts it with the modern digital environment devoid of initiative and bodily actions. Overall, the article is reliable sample of analysis of the problems of human cognitive activity, and it suggests to put the emphasis on the development of personal initiatives rather than artificial intelligence.



Plate, B. (2015). Marginalia and Its Disruptions – Los Angeles Review of BooksLos Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 3 October 2016, from!



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