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I completely agree about the footnotes. I'm reading Wuthering Heights at the moment and it was really starting to ruin the story for me having to turn to the back of the book constantly - so I've given up and am just reading without referring to the notes. I'm sure I'm missing so much in terms of meaning but I'm enjoying the story so much more this way. Footnotes at the bottom of the page would be fantastic!


Hmmm. Now I'm rethinking my idea to get an el-cheapo copy of this for the Kindle. I'd need the footnotes, too!


Are you and Dorothy in cahoots with Shirley? She mentioned she's taking it on vacation with her. Between the two of you I'm going to have to pull it off my shelf and actually read it. But I have too many others I have to read first!


Karen--I've just been reading and trying understand the asterisked words from the content of what I'm reading. It seems to work okay, but when I finish a chapter I go back and look at the notes. There is too much politics and contemporary references of the times and I feel like I'm missing things. I suppose it is too much of a hassle for publishers to put the footnotes on the page, but it would make the reader's life so much easier.
Susan--If it helps the OUP edition I have was only about $8.00 and maybe discounted on Amazon. Sometimes the notes seem superfluous, but I really feel like I need them here. She refers to too much stuff I would miss otherwise. Do they leave footnotes off Kindle versions? Or is it a hassle to scroll to the back to get to the notes? That might be a pain unless you can bookmark where you left off.
Stefanie--You know, I'm not sure what happened there. This is one of the freebie books I got from OUP and I think she must have been thinking about reading it at the same time. You should join in--maybe Susan will read it now, too?? I do better with classics if I know other people are reading along. Otherwise it's too easy for me to leave them unopened on my night table for too many days. I'm starting to get into the story, though I'll be happy when Shirley shows up!


I'm ashamed to say I've read so little of the Bronte's work. I loved Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall but (and I'll whisper this) I never actually finished Jane Eyre. My fault, I'm sure and it's a book I'd like to go back to one day. Good luck with Shirley! It'll probably get really good in a bit.


Yes, I've come to see that in Charlotte's case her most popular work really is her best.

I still find classic books with footnotes. The Broadview and Longman Cultural Classics editions use them rather than endnotes. I don't know that Penguin ever did. Oxford classics tend not to have as many annotations as the Penguins which makes me not mind flipping back so much.


"I then have to flip to the back and find the corresponding note, which is numbered, by the way."

I encounter the same quibble with Anna Karenina (and many other Russian literature titles). Why can't they just list them as footnotes?

Shirley has a slow start, in fact, it takes a while to really get into the story, but it's worth all the effort. :)


Litlove--I didn't read Jane Eyre until a few years ago! :) Same with Wuthering Heights. And I've been meaning to read Anne for a while now as well. And I think Shirley is going to turn really interesting all of a sudden.
Imani--I've only read her Jane Eyre, and it was certainly more gripping right from the start. I wonder which of the books came first--I'll have to look it up. And I know I have some books with footnotes, too, but I don't always pay attention to which publishers use footnotes rather than endnotes. I don't mind the occasional looking up of a word, but Shirley seems to have an inordinate amount of asterisked words on each page!!
Matt--I agree--it would be so much nicer to have it all on one page. You'd think with computer technology they could easily do footnotes, but perhaps not? I've just been trying to glean the meaning from the context and later go back and read the explanations! And I'm glad to hear the story picks up!! :) I do plan on sticking with it.

Elaine Simpson-Long

When reading Shirley it has to be taken in the context of the period in which it was written, in which Branwell, Emily and Anne died. The book is somewhat disjointed I find, and hardly surprising and she had great difficulty in finishing it. It is not a Charlotte book I love, but worth persevering with. The curates were based on some of those who passed through the parsonage at Haworth and for whom Charlotte had the livelies contempt. Shirley of course, is Emily. I am visiting Haworth in September and looking forward to seeing it again.


Reformatting the page might imply higher prices. But I'm still for footnotes on the same page. :)


Danielle - you wrote 'You'd think with computer technology they could easily do footnotes, but perhaps not?' I try to deal with this in my blog at Publishers believe, with justification, that notes on the page are off-putting for the non-academic reader, and no more useful than endnotes for the student. I tend to agree when the book is a novel (I want to choose whether to be 'interrupted' by a note), but the point is moot when the text started life as non-fiction. The balance to be struck is the permanent one of book design - how much do you (editorially) get in the way of what the author is saying? A great project I set students is the Kamasutra, with its interlocking commentaries and annotation - that freaks them out!


Elaine--Thanks for the info. I had started reading the intro (usually I wait until I finish the book), and it was mentioned that when she started writing she had siblings and when she finished, she no longer did. It's good to keep this in mind. I do plan on sticking with it--and will be interested in seeing what else the editor has to say about the book (I only read part of the intro). And I'd love to visit Haworth some day.
Matt--It might indeed be a pain for the publisher (I always hated footnotes on papers when I was in college). I was interested to read the comments that appeared below yours. I do still wish there were footnotes rather than endnotes.
Typographer--Thanks so much for your comments. I hadn't thought of it that way and can see where a publisher would want to keep the fluidity of the text. Endnotes still slow me down as I want to go to the back and read them and am always wondering what I am missing out when I skip them. I think for myself I would prefer footnotes, but if they get too convoluted, that would be problematic too!


I have the same problem with footnotes. I never did make it through Villette - the main character spoke so often in French I felt I never knew what was going on, and I tired of looking at the back of the book to find out. Maybe someday.


Tara--There are also French phrases in this one, too. I'm just going to press on and see how it goes. I'm about four chapters in (50-ish pages) and I've yet to even meet Shirley. I hear it is a slow starter though, so I will keep at it.

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