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May 19, 2013


Tom Traddles

Surely the first comment means: the reader - previous owner of this copy - who underlined 'succubus' in blue can't have much of a vocabulary if he/she doesn't know that word. If he/she had trouble with that, the chances are he/she may well not have completed the book (being stumped by too many other 'hard words'). Perhaps consciousness of a limited vocabulary sent him/her to the bookshop to exchange it for a dictionary (or it would have been a good thing for his/her education if he/she had). It has nothing to do with Banville having or not having, needing or not needing, a dictionary himself.


Tom, please refer to the headline of the original Guardian item. The annotations are Banville's.


How do you strip it down to its foundations?

Tony Chavira

Hmmm. Though these days, when every other television program is about a vampire or a werewolf, the idea of John Banville looking up the meaning of the world 'succubus' seems absurd, seeing that annotation was, for me, charming and humanizing.

Anyway, always great seeing your process in action, you don't know how inspiring it is!

Dana Shepard

I really enjoyed this book because I really enjoy despair and self-pity. Especially if it’s couched in a good story by an Irish writer with a fabulous vocabulary. Banville is the saint of sumptuous sentences.


TEV, Surely Tom knows the annotations are Banville's, but is suggesting that he (Banville) was talking about the previous owner of the book in his annotation. Which is how I read it too. Otherwise the remainder of his annotation (including the ref. to "he/she") makes no sense at all.

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