Footnotes are wonderful.
Former President of the American Historical Association, Anthony T. Grafton’s The Footnote: A Curious History provides a concise history of (you guessed it) the footnote. From tracing the development of the footnote from its origins to the role in the maturation of modern scholarship, Grafton pays tribute to the subscript that is often overlooked and underutilized. Footnotes!
Grafton, Anthony T. The Footnote: A Curious History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997.
Regardless of using them to find new research leads or to determine the credibility and ideological bend of the author (read the chapter to find out what else they can be used for), footnotes allow us a higher level of interaction and evaluation of our texts. This being said, some other things y’all might want to think about are other uses can you find in footnotes? And what can you learn from a closer look of the footnotes in your own books? What are the limitations? In general, what are the contours of the evolution of the footnote?
Good health, good spirits, and good reading,