January 31, 2005

More Llama Literary Criticism

Having polished off both Livy and Tom Wolfe during my recent enforced idleness, I've now plunged into Robert McCrum's new biography of P.G. Wodehouse.

So far, it is quite illuminating. But I've come across something that either is rather odd or else simply exposes my ignorance of such things. There are legions of end-notes at the back of the book but they aren't marked in the text itself. So when you come across a particular factual assertion or quotation for which you'd like the source, you have to flip to the back not knowing whether you're going to be satisfied or not.

Is this standard practice? I don't often pay that much attention to end-notes, but since Plum Wodehouse is such a favorite of mine I'm naturally taking more of an interest here.

Posted by Robert at January 31, 2005 02:45 PM

That's the new in thing. Armand Nicholi's book on Freud and Lewis was the first time I noticed it. Upon asking, I find it's now standard practice for scholarly books that may have a broad appeal. Footnotes (or just little numbers everywhere for endnotes) are distracting and make it more difficult to read a book for pure enjoyment -- imagine opening up an Agatha Christie and having notes twice a paragraph. People who don't want to read books with footnotes don't have to know they're there, but they are there for the curious.

Posted by: Adrianne Truett at January 31, 2005 07:02 PM

Sigh. Change is bad, m'kay?

Posted by: Robert the LB at February 1, 2005 10:35 AM
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