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« Get around, get around, you don't get around | Main | At the Gates of the Morning: A Story of the Reformation in Kent »

August 14, 2007


Vance Maverick

But if you start to annotate everything that some reader might legitimately not get, you'll never stop. My inclination would be to regard these examples as useful opportunities for discussion, not worth disfiguring (or figuring) the text for.

a Paperback Writer

And that's why we take lit classes....
I remember years ago having someone explain to me what you've just said about the typewriter and the phonographs, how science contrasts so nicely with all the old superstitions in the book. Wow. It added layers to my understanding. But I probably wouldn't have read the footnotes at that point in my life.

Nowdays I LOVE the Broadview Press edition of Pride and Prejudice, edited by RP Irvine. The man goes nuts with explanations, but they really are wonderful --- now, past my MSc years even. I probably would've skipped them as an undergrad. But I would've listened to the professor explain such things in class.


I read "War and Peace" in a Norton Critical Edition. (Yeah, right, just what you want when you get to the end of that book, which I read at exactly 200 pages per day, there are several hundred more pages to read.) Are you suggesting they replace end notes with a chapter-by-chapter commentary giving those insights?

Your observation about Dracula is one of the motivations for "linked" classes and "learning communities". Is there a way to get the students in the frame of mind of Stoker's readers? (I forget, but even psychology was new at that time, right?)

One idea might be to get them to realize how that appears in film. Every movie or TV show seems to have the coolest accessories (kitchen, luggage, phone) of the day. Zoolander pushes it with a preposterously small cell phone. Fifteen years ago, you had to have one of those clunky early cell phones. In the 1950s, cop dramas often had key moments where radio or phone communication was critical rather than taken for granted. Why didn't Mina call for help on her cell phone?

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