The Devil's Details: A History of Footnotes (Google eBook)

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Simon and Schuster, Nov 1, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 160 pages
6 Reviews
Footnotes have not had it easy. Their dominance of eighteenth- and nineteenth- century literature and scholarship was both hard-won -- following many years of struggle -- and doomed, as it led to belittlement in the twentieth century. In The Devil's Details, Chuck Zerby playfully explores footnotes' long and illustrious history and makes a clarion call to save them from the new world of the Internet and hypertext.
In a story that boasts a marvelous plot and a rogues' gallery of players, Zerby examines traditional footnotes and their less-buttoned-down incarnations, as when used by pornographers. Yes, The Devil's Details is full of surprises: Zerby hunts down the first bona fide fully functioning footnote; unearths a multivolume history of Northumberland County, England, that uses one volume for a single footnote; and uncovers a murder plot. He even explains why footnotes are like blind dates.
Carefully researched and highly opinionated, The Devil's Details affirms that delight in reading can come from unexpected places.

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Review: The Devil's Details: A History of Footnotes

User Review  - Mary Whisner - Goodreads

Amusing and chatty. I wasn't always sure whether the author was missing someone else's joke or was incredibly dry himself—he treated some critiques of footnotes that appeared to me to be satirical as if they were in earnest. Or was that his joke? Read full review

Review: The Devil's Details: A History of Footnotes

User Review  - Paul - Goodreads

Who knew a book on footnotes could be so interesting! Read full review


The Endangered Footnote
The Early Years
3 A Poetic Interlude
4 The Years of Discipline
5 The Illusion of Empire
A Poetic Interlude II
Toward the Virtual Footnote

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About the author (2007)

Chuck Zerby developed The Devil's Details from an article he published in The New York Times. A former columnist for the Amherst Record, Zerby lives in Hadley, Massachusetts.

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