Wednesday, 9 March 2005

Endnotes (as opposed to footnotes)

Listening to:

Handel, The Messiah (in a version re-orchestrated by Mozart).

Endnotes, they’re evil I tell you

In popular non-fiction, publishers seem to prefer end-notes to footnotes. When they want that little bit of scholarly sheen, they put footnote-worthy material into endnotes. This makes reading the books in question a big pain in the rear. I end up maintaining two bookmarks: one for where I’m up to in the main text, and another for the corresponding position in the end-notes.

I suppose the publishers feel that footnotes either look ugly on the page, or that they make a book look too off-putting when browsed. Either way, I wish they wouldn’t do it.


I know what you mean! The same thing happens when you read a scholarly edition of something like Faust, and you keep having to flip to the back. (But if you look at the Arden Shakespeare, for example, there's more (foot)note than text on the page, which doesn't make for a comfy read.) What I just love is when the endnote pages are marked with a header 'notes to pp. 35-46' or similar, so you know at once exactly where you need to be looking; but I've seldom seen this. They often have 'notes to Chapter 5', but the main text of Chapter 5 will usually have as header just the chapter title, so then you have to scrounge around to find what number chapter you're reading!

Posted by: Jeremy at April 14, 2005 09:22 PM