John Stuart Mill inscribed nearly 1,200 individual examples of marginalia into his personal copy of George Grote’s twelve-volume History of Greece (1846–56). Of these, roughly two-thirds are verbal annotations ranging in length from a single letter to a short paragraph. Analysis of the 136 annotations found in volumes one and two, and comparison of each page containing annotations across five editions of Grote’s History, reveal not only that Mill was directly responsible for sixty revisions made to the text of volumes one and two but also that Mill read and annotated his friend’s “opus magnum” multiple times. Considered not just in terms of its significance in intellectual history—when ancient Greece, specifically Athens, was repositioned as central to modern Britain, particularly as it was being reimagined by Victorian liberal reformers—but also as a case study for how to approach the epistemological challenges posed by marginalia more broadly, Mill’s interactive and durable relationship with Grote’s History testifies to the ongoing influence of reading conventions inherited by the Victorians from their Enlightenment and Romantic predecessors and demonstrates the heuristic value of considering marginalia’s effects in order to discern its content, attribution, intent, and chronology.

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