Thursday, January 27, 2011

The messed-up footnotes in Lynx's 'The Widow's Son'

I have been reading The Widow's Son and enjoying it of course, but I have a gripe -- with the publisher, not with the work. The mass market paperback reprint put out by Lynx Books pays no attention to the fact that the location of the footnotes changes when the work was reformatted for paperback. So, for example, when Wilson writes a footnote in Part II, Chapter 10, about double agents in history, and ends it by saying, "See footnote, Page 88, for more on the Knights of Malta, the probable source of Yallop's expose," and one turns to page 88, there's no footnote. Could somebody please advise on whether the New Falcon reprint gets this right?

4 comments:

fuzzbuddy said...

I've just checked my New Falcon edition and that footnote in particular looks formatted correctly, so I would imagine they have done a thorough job.

assatur said...

I noticed no problems when I read through the New Falcon edition, so I highly recommend that one. Bad editing on the footnotes robs the book quite substantially, in my opinion, that it's worth whatever effort to get an appropriately formatted one.

dylan said...

My version printed by ROC Fantasy has that page 88 footnote correctly and the rest seemed to be good as well.

michael said...

I have the Lynx ppbk ed and yep: it's way wrong. You guys who have "correct" editions have me sold I need a new ed. This one's battered anyways...And I want to check out Bobby's art from close range at that.

I think when I've read this book in its Lynx version the overall building tidal wave of footnote madness had me checking p.88, seeing nothing there, and saying to myself, "It's all a part of the footnote-mindfuck, probably!" Yes, learn more about secret societies...but oh, even THAT must be hidden? (RAW hypnotizes me.)

Note the footnotes in the middle of pages, too, like on p.89 of the Lynx ed, about taking caution when in Irish pubs when certain songs break out. Etc.

I didn't realize until I read Anthony Grafton's very scholarly The Footnote: A Curious History that by the late 18th/early 19th c. there were books that had MORE footnotes than "main text." Which, I find hilarious. As far as this ludic presentation of footnotes in TWS, I have noted very few works comparable, mostly related to Irish writers, and then guys like David Foster Wallace, in all of his work, but NB: Infinite Jest...