This project from the New York Public Library selected a set of readers, or “gardeners,” and had them annotate specific chapters of Voltaire’s Candide. The NYPL then left the project open over several months and allowed readers to contribute their own comments. The result is a collaborative “public reading,” of Candide, and while the project ideally would have garnered more attention, it opens valid questions into the nature of communal interaction centered in literature. How does the textual experience differ with a dialogue surrounding it? How are our perceptions different if we understand text alongside the critiques of others? Can unique perspective breed only in isolation?

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