I read a used copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray in which the previous owner underlined only passages of little importance, and felt it unimportant to underline anything that actually is. It’s as if that reader entirely missed the point of the book and could see only the beauty:
There was a rustle of chirruping sparrows in the green lacquer leaves of the ivy, and the blue cloud-shadows chased themselves across the grass like swallows.
and the wit:
…I don’t think it really matters about your not being there. The audience probably thought it was a duet. When Aunt Agatha sits down to the piano, she makes quite enough noise for two people.
and the beauty and wit together:
On a little table of dark perfumed wood thickly encrusted with nacre, a present from Lady Radley, his guardian’s wife, a pretty professional invalid who had spent the preceding winter in Cairo…
and none of the tragedy.
Reading this used copy, with its already underlined sections and notes, created a parallel storyline in which the original owner focused only on literary baubles and ignored the story’s deeper connection with humanity. Wilde probably would have enjoyed the irony.