Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Great Footnotes of Western Literature


If I were an organized man, I would have carefully saved all my favorite footnotes in a series of notebooks and be well on my way to pitching The Oxford Book of Footnotes to a doubtless receptive publisher.

Alas, I am far from that organized. Still, occasionally a footnote rises up to charm me. Most recently, it happened in a paper I'm reading titled Lud-in-the-Mist as Memento Mori: Existential anxiety and the Consolations of an Aestheti Theology in Hope Mirrlees's Fantasy Novel. Here's the footnote in question:

2 Brian Attebery notes that Lud-in-the-Mist has never been "read as an important Modernist text, not even in an article on Mirrlees as Modernist poet (Boyde) or in a book-length study of Jane Harrison's influence on Modernism (Carpentier)" (Stories 59). Given the religious argument I advance below, I would suggest that this oversight springs in part from a distaste for "things religious" among those who have shaped the Modernist canon.
Which is a nice, tight, two-sentence essay. To it I would only add that in my experience most academics find the novel baffling simply because it is fantasy, a genre they tend to be poorly read in. They're like early travelers to a distant land. They don't understand the customs and the language... well, it's weird.

Above: Only a few more excerpts from the Image Book to go.


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