April 7, 2010
Don't commonplace my Bible.
In Robert Darnton's The Case for Books, he brings in a little mystery with chapter ten, The Mysteries of Reading. Why is this chapter bringing in the mystery? No, it's not just the title. This chapter talks about commonplace books. Which the point of a commonplace book....still remains a mystery to me.
Yes, I understand the idea, but I don't like looking at pieces of things without the rest of the context, which I think the commonplace book does, since they are just snippets of different works put into a journal-like book.
I'm glad this chapter included Thomas Jefferson because this all reminded me of a class I took last semester called Religion in America. In that class we read a book (that of course I cannot think of the title) that talked about how Jefferson literally made his own Bible by cutting out of the pieces that talked about supernatural activity (ex: Jesus turning water into wine.) It was later called The Jefferson Bible...clever. But it makes me think of the commonplace book because it was taking pieces of a greater work and only saving the parts they actually liked. I don't like that.
I feel like though this was going on during the Enlightenment period, they weren't being very enlightened by cutting out the texts they didn't agree with.