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Small Print and Wide Horizons

Small Print and Wide Horizons

(p.109) Chapter Four Small Print and Wide Horizons
Romanticism and the Question of the Stranger
David Simpson
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines footnotes, endnotes, and the marginal glosses that constitute the fiction and poetry that speak of the stranger. T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land for example, included footnotes that pose a challenge. How are we to read them? Are they referential, merely addenda, or a vital part of the poem? Eliot himself suggested that his own notes aerere merely pale reflections of the sources that he drew inspiration from. In other words, for those who truly wanted to know the meaning behind the poem, additional reading would be required. Jessie L. Weston’s From Ritual to Romance and Frazer’s The Golden Bough also exhibit the same characteristic in their poetry. This is simply one aspect of the appearance of small print in poetry. The rest of the chapter explores the other uses and challenges that these marks provide.

Keywords:   footnotes, endnotes, T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land, stranger, addenda, Jessie L. Weston, From Ritual to Romance, The Golden Bough

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