Thursday, February 28, 2008

footnotes, Mr Crow, knickers

Footnotes can intrude. Perhaps that is why, nowadays, publishers seem to place notes at the end of a book. I find that this is not always an improvement. English publishers seem to arrange the notes chapter by chapter and number the notes of each chapter separately under the chapter headings starting each time with 1. So you have two things to look for -the number of the chapter and the number of the note. In contrast, the French tend to print footnotes continuously and always linked to the page number. I'm reading Emile Zola's novel, L'Oeuvre at the moment in the Gallimard Folio Classique edition, where the notes, arranged in this way, are easy to follow. It so happens that, in the case of l'Oeuvre, they are of particular interest because they explain the story's links to the early impressionist painters and their struggle for acceptance in the face of ridicule by the critics and the public - a dramatic episode of art history, fascinating even if it were not supported by a plot. So thank you Gallimard.

Mr Crow, atop the Turkey oak in the Grove, caws his head off, this morning, proclaiming his territorial rights, I expect. "Noisy devils, aren't they!" Says Olive who lives on the other side of the Grove.

Discarded undergarments suggest a story. In the gutter, a pair of black underpants, (male probably for want of close inspection), look like an item of road kill.

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