Great Annotated Books
September 18, 2004 2:45 PM   Subscribe

Great annotated books: I've recently enjoyed Ian Stewart's annotated FLATLAND, Philip Van Doren Stern's annotated WALDEN, Micheal Hearn's annotated WIZARD OF OZ, and the legendary Martin Gardner's annotated ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Now I want more. What are some other great annotated books?
posted by kk to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The annotated PRIDE & PREJUDICE by David M. Shapard is fantastic. I felt like I was getting twice as much out of the text as when I read it originally.
posted by web-goddess at 3:01 PM on September 18, 2004

Lolita, annotated by Alfred Appel Jr.
posted by saladin at 3:17 PM on September 18, 2004

My dad wrote notes for an annotated version of H.G. Well's "The Time Machine."

Then there's the Asimov's Annotated Gullivers Travels.

Vladimir Nabokov annotated "Pale Fire," or rather it's a book of annotations of a poem by Nobokov -- annotations also by Nabokov.

This may be too obvious, but nearly every eddition of Shakespeares plays is annotated.

And, of course, most DVD's are -- in a sense -- annotated.
posted by grumblebee at 3:20 PM on September 18, 2004

The most interesting annotated book I've ever read is called "Working on the Play and the Role" by Irina and Igor Levin.

It's intended for actors, and it begins by outlining (a version of) Stanislavsky's acting theory. Then, it applies the theory to Chekhov's "The Three Sisters." The authors repring Chekhov's entire play and annotate each scene, explaining how it should (or could) be acted. Even for non-actors, this is a fascinating way to look at the text.
posted by grumblebee at 3:25 PM on September 18, 2004

I'll recommend S T Joshi's Annotated HP Lovecraft and William S Baring-Gould's Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Both have a knack for illuminating aspects of the works that the casual reader would never have noticed.
posted by SPrintF at 3:31 PM on September 18, 2004

The Landmark Thucydides
posted by mookieproof at 3:53 PM on September 18, 2004

The Annotated Hobbit has details about earlier editions of the book, origins of names, notes on influences and sources, and lots of illustrations from foreign-language editions. Fun - if the book is your cup of tea.
posted by zadcat at 5:00 PM on September 18, 2004

This annotated Dubliners is amazing -- filled with photographs of Dublin, biographical details, and revealing criticism.
posted by josh at 8:03 PM on September 18, 2004

I second Lolita.
posted by geoff. at 8:50 PM on September 18, 2004

There's Doug Rushkoff's Exit Strategy which was posted on the web as a manuscript and then printed with "annotations" (primarily footnotes of a sarcastic, satiric or future-historic nature) in the dead-tree edition. It's interesting enough, if for nothing else than the ideas (like clickthrough studies and arcade emulation) that appear in it.
posted by codger at 10:54 PM on September 18, 2004

I'd also note that the aforementioned Martin Gardner also published an annotation of Carroll's Hunting of the Snark. I don't know that it was available in America, a friend hand carried it for me from London. I found it indispensible for developing an adaptation of the Snark for the stage.
posted by JollyWanker at 10:00 AM on September 19, 2004

The Annotated Charlotte's Web
posted by terrortubby at 3:25 PM on September 19, 2004

You've got to love the Longman Annotated English Poets series: unsurpassed for Milton and Spenser, a brand-new Marvell, etc.

Dante: I wouldn't trade my one-volume Italian edition of the Commedia with concise English notes by Grandgent on the same page (rev. ed., 1933) for anything.

The best Shakespeare's Sonnets, IMHO. (The introduction is incredible, too.) As far as Shakespeare in general goes, though, I think people too reflexively reach for the Arden—the Oxford Shakespeare editions are often superior.

Aristotle: Selections is quite an education between two covers. Other standouts published by Hackett include Hobbes' Leviathan.

I'm looking forward to rereading Moby Dick in the Norton Critical Edition, which seems like neither too much nor too little.

For best annotated Bible, I think New Jerusalem Bible has the edge over New Oxford Annotated.

Good intros and notes in the back for Greek Tragedy in New Translations.

Since someone above mentioned the Landmark Thucydides, which is great for what it is, let me balance that with On Justice, Power, and Human Nature, which is as brilliant an annotated abridgement for someone who wants "the big ideas" as I've seen of a book.
posted by Zurishaddai at 3:56 PM on September 19, 2004

The Bhagavad Gita, translated and annotated by Aurobindo Ghose, a first-rate 20th century Hindu thinker.
posted by goethean at 4:34 PM on September 19, 2004

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