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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Random: Theological Significance of Footnotes vs Endnotes 
16th-Jul-2011 11:35 pm
Before Sunrise: Crazy Idea
Ugh. If I've not said this before, I'm saying it now: footnotes are from God, and endnotes are from the devil. If Christianity put out insane death threat statements in any official capacity, I'd feel all fuzzy and righteous in issuing one against academic publishers that use endnotes.

Abstract: Endnotes = bad, bad, bad.

17th-Jul-2011 05:53 am (UTC)
In that case, David Foster Wallace, who used footnotes copiously in his fiction as well as his nonfiction, must be like a saint. And one of Edward Gibbon's most famous lines in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire comes, I believe, from a footnote: "Twenty-two acknowledged concubines, and a library of sixty-two thousand volumes, attested the variety of his inclinations, and from the productions which he left behind him, it appears that the former as well as the latter were designed for use rather than ostentation."

I'm currently reading a version of Oliver Twist for class which uses endnotes exclusively (the Penguin edition). I had never had strong opinions about it before, but I think I agree with you now. Footnotes are better, as long as they're not excessive and patronizing (like defining not very tough vocabulary words, or explaining things that are far from uncommon knowledge). I've found Norton Critical editions of certain works to be guilty of this, perhaps because many are designed to be used by undergraduates as well as specialists.
19th-Jul-2011 05:41 pm (UTC)
Interesting bits of information, there! A German Luther scholar friend of mine has recommended to me a small volume called The Footnote: A Curious History, which he said was great fun for such a seemingly obscure subject.
17th-Jul-2011 07:11 am (UTC)
Amen! Verily, verily!
19th-Jul-2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
I glow with your approval. :-)
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