Ibid.

A couple of days ago, the full extent of my nerdiness was exposed yet again. I had just finished an email conversation with my brother, in which I was explaining my deep, abiding love for the footnote (and my unhappiness with endnotes [a pale imitation of the footnote, if you ask me] and parenthetical citations). That’s right…I have an intellectual crush on the footnote. (I also love prefaces, epigraphs, etc. Paratexts and I get along famously). I loved dipping into the Chicago Manual of Style and I’m rather saddened by the fact that I now use the MLA Style Manual more often (for some reason it just doesn’t seem to be as exciting–that’s right, I used the word exciting to describe style manuals–as the Chicago Manual).

So is it wrong that I wish I could skip out of work and my reading group today so that I can run home and meet the UPS person when they deliver the following?

ibid.jpg

Ibid by Mark Dunn (who wrote the inventive Ella Minnow Pea) is a fictional biography of a three-legged man told entirely through footnotes. I have no idea if it’s good or overly gimicky, but I had to buy it. It’s been calling my name for years now.

And the historian in me absolutely demanded that I get The Footnote: A Curious History by Anthony Grafton.

Be still my beating, nerdy heart.

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10 responses to this post.

  1. LOL! As a person in a long-time relationship with MLA, I have to say that Chicago gives me a headache. Admittedly, though, it is far more eloquent than APA which I’m teaching my tech writing students at the moment. Yay for nerdiness!

    Reply

  2. I have to agree with the nerdiness. The fact that you created links to Chicago Manual of Style and MLA leaves no shadow of a doubt that you are a citation junky. 🙂

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  3. We expect a review for the book of the three-legged, footnoted man!

    Reply

  4. Oh, to find someone else who understands the superiority of a footnote to an endnote! And I read the CMS both for fun and enlightenment (when you become an editor, you get a free copy, you know, provided by your company. Then you get another free copy when a new edition comes out). Can’t wait to hear all about IBID.

    Reply

  5. Another footnote fan here. I look forward to your nerdy review. 🙂

    Reply

  6. Andi: I think part of it is that the MLA Style Manual is so much thinner than the Chicago, so it doesn’t feel so weighty (in both senses). But I feel for you with the APA–no thank you!

    Ian: (as Loose Baggy Monster hangs her head in nerdy shame) I really am far gone on the nerdy spectrum aren’t I? I didn’t even realize I was linking to them–it’s become so naturalized. Perhaps this is actually a sign I’ve been in academia for far too long? It’s almost like I speak in citations sometimes 😉

    Sisyphus: I’m allowing myself to indulge in a “fun” book and knitting extravaganza this weekend in honor of break (since I don’t get to go anywhere remotely interesting except my local coffee shop and office). So I will have a review soon!

    Emily: Perhaps I missed my calling? I would LOVE to be an editor if it meant a free copy of the Chicago manual. I was the managing co-editor of my history department’s journal and I can’t tell you how much fun I had scouring people’s footnotes for formatting errors. So, so wrong…

    Sylvia: hooray for footnotes! And so far, the book on the history of the footnote is seductively calling my name…

    Reply

  7. Oh, footnotes, definitely! I’d like to read Ibid too — I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

    Reply

  8. For a long time, I didn’t like footnotes, but now they seem the only sensible way to go. The idea of having to skip to the end of something to check the reference just doesn’t work.

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  9. Dorothy: I’ve only just started Ibid but it’s quite interesting so far. My only complaint: I keep wanting to look up to the text to see what the footnote pertains to (and it’s not there!).

    Stu: Oooh, I like that: footnotes are more efficient. And I need all the help I can get in that area–I don’t need any encouragement in slothful behavior (which endnotes are for me)!

    Reply

  10. I enjoyed Ibid a lot when I read it. I also had the feeling it was quite a liberating way to present a biography, as one does not need to be too fussed about a neat narrative continuity.

    Reply

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