Dec 20, 2013

This week, I mentioned using Medium, and noted the nice way that writers, editors and readers can add comments to each paragraph, instead of comments at the bottom of a post.

I’ve encountered footnotes in other ways this week.

The jQuery plugin Bigfoot is a new solution for inline footnotes (inspired by the way Marco Arment programmed popover notes for Instapaper and The Magazine).

I was reminded of a class I took in college, on Latin American dictators in literature. (I mentioned the class in this previous post about One Hundred Years of Solitude). One of the books on the reading list was I, the Supreme, by Augusto Roa Bastos. It was a novel, but used extensive footnotes to tell another perspective to the fictional story. I went looking for my copy of the book, but I think I actually got rid of it this summer.

The book I’m reading now, The Telling Room – A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese by Michael Paterniti, is nonfiction. Paterniti uses footnotes to add additional details and commentary to his story/travelogue/profile/food-writing. The other night, I came upon page 180, where a footnote begins, then spawns eight more footnotes within, spanning the bottoms of three pages. I think Paterniti was having a laugh on his readers, but we get the joke, because it fits his tale of a Spanish storyteller supreme.

Anton Zuiker

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