The following passage about the comments about the comments that Mill wrote in the margins of books he read comes from Frank Prochaska's “Marginal Mills,” an essay informing readers of the Times Literary Supplement for January 3, 2014 about the presence of Mill's library at Somerville College, Oxford. — George P. Landow.

John Stuart Mill was less prolific in his marginal comments than his father, but he was more critical and caustic, which makes his interventions very illuminating, not least about himself. Unlike those of his father, his annotations are typically scribbled on the text not on a flyleaf, thus giving them a more immediate and personal character. On Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essays Mill's annotations would have made uncomfortable reading for the author had he seen them: "fudge", "nonsense", "pooh", "sentimental", "superficial", "stupid", "very stupid", "trash"'. On the first page of the essay "Love", Mill writes: "Nature's trick to keep the world filled". On the essay "Friendship" he jotted: "Reality is so much higher & better than 'sacred & solemn'. When will people dare to give up the old religious nomenclature". The annotations show that the writings of Emerson, a dreamy transcendentalist, were never likely to find favour with an austere empiricist like Mill.

Last modified 9 February 2014