Saturday, January 9, 2016

Commonplace Books

Notebooks/journals/sketchbooks/commonplace books-- whatever form you wish to take-- find ideas below... To get full credit for your book, you should have responses to in-class assignments, homework assignments (really just finishing classwork) class notes, reading notes. If  your book exceeds those expectations in demonstrating your connection to and thinking about the work of class, your individual research, creative work, craft work, you can receive more credit.
Beineke Library MS 84, Girdle Book, 15th century

A definition, from a digital commonplace book:

"Silva rerum they were called, commonplace books that contained a 'forest of things'. Excerpts of exceptional thought were dutifully copied into these bound books for further reflection and digestion. Commonplace books were considered necessary tools for learning that commonplacing was taught in universities such as Oxford. Milton, Hardy, Emerson, and Thoreau all kept their own commonplace books.

Commonplacing wedded reading and writing as necessary ingredients, they were inseparable. Bits and pieces from one book joined with other excerpts from elsewhere. The way the ideas were assembled revealed the personality of the commonplacer…what topics interested him, what key arguments did he find cogent that he could build upon…what turns of phrases could he learn by heart so that he, too, could express himself with clarity and winsomeness." from Lightly Locked.

Beineke Library MS 454 image of a Horse

Log Book – Termite Grid Ronald King several great artist's books
A cute, rather playful commonplace:
And another, more straightforward and elegant, and featuring just the works, from my colleague Jonathan Milner, who teaches politics at UNCSA. Looking at this collection, I can start to draw conclusions about his aesthetic. I wonder what a commonplace by Kurt Cobain, D.J. Spooky, Christian Boltanski, Barak Obama, or I might look like.

You might find commonplaces by students from 2008-2009 interesting.

Brittni Moore, Ian McClerin, Daniel Satinoff, Jenny Ford... I will share some non-digital commonplaces in class.

Jonathan Edwards, early 1700's
How might you rethink the format of a book? Jonathan Edwards did so by dint of necessity: his style called for it. That happened to Marcel Proust, too, who edited so much his manuscripts became layered and pasted.

Marcel Proust, Manuscript page from In Search of Lost Time, around 1920
Jonathan Burton
Beineke Library MS 327 - Merchants Commonplace Book - Venice - 1312

Sue Coe
Sue Coe, sketchbook page, about 2000, from source

Ruby Red Spread by Hanna Andersson
Page from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's color journal, image source.
Lynda Barry Pages

Anna Rusakova

dreaming of sunshine at Deviantart

incomparable notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, late 1400's
Philosophy notebook page by TOOxicpanda, posted at Deviantart

Madelei, Commonplace book, posted at deviantart
Jack Lord's Acting Class notebook. source

You may include class notes, class writing assignments, articles or just quotations from others, your sketches, printed images, notes and identifications of key works, as well as your own bits and pieces of inspiration. You might create a formal study, or a casual compendium of information and ideas that inspire you. 

here's another example, 'cause I can't help it!

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