Signed Edition Sweepstakes

Recently Viewed clear list

Interviews | September 2, 2014

Jill Owens: IMG David Mitchell: The Interview

David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
  1. $21.00 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677

Qualifying orders ship free.
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Hawthorne Reference- Books on Books

More copies of this ISBN

The Footnote: A Curious History


The Footnote: A Curious History Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The weapon of pedants, the scourge of undergraduates, the bête noire of the "new" liberated scholar: the lowly footnote, long the refuge of the minor and the marginal, emerges in this book as a singular resource, with a surprising history that says volumes about the evolution of modern scholarship. In Anthony Grafton's engrossing account, footnotes to history give way to footnotes as history, recounting in their subtle way the curious story of the progress of knowledge in written form. Grafton treats the development of the footnote--the one form of proof normally supplied by historians in support of their assertions--as writers on science have long treated the development of laboratory equipment, statistical arguments, and reports on experiments: as a complex story, rich in human interest, that sheds light on the status of history as art, as science, and as an institution. The book starts in the Berlin of the brilliant nineteenth-century historian Leopold von Ranke, who is often credited with inventing documented history in its modern form. Casting back to antiquity and forward to the twentieth century, Grafton's investigation exposes Ranke's position as a far more ambiguous one and offers us a rich vision of the true origins and gradual triumph of the footnote. Among the protagonists of this story are Athanasius Kircher, who built numerous documents into his spectacularly speculative treatises on ancient Egypt and China; Pierre Bayle, who made the footnote a powerful tool in philosophical and historical polemics; and Edward Gibbon, who transformed it into a high form of literary artistry. Proceeding with the spirit of an intellectual mystery and peppered with intriguing and revealing remarks by those who "made" this history, The Footnote brings what is so often relegated to afterthought and marginalia to its rightful place in the center of the literary life of the mind.

About the Author

Anthony Grafton is Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University.

Princeton University

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Footnotes: The Origin of a Species
  • 2. Ranke: A Footnote about Scientific History
  • 3. How the Historian Found His Muse: Ranke’s Path to the Footnote
  • 4. Footnotes and Philosophie: An Enlightenment Interlude
  • 5. Back to the Future, 1: De Thou Documents the Details
  • 6. Back to the Future, 2: The Antlike Industry of Ecclesiastical Historians and Antiquaries
  • 7. Clarity and Distinctness in the Abysses of Erudition: The Cartesian Origins of the Modern Footnote
  • Epilogue: Some Concluding Footnotes
  • Index

Product Details

Grafton, Anthony
Harvard University Press
Grafton, Anthony
Cambridge, Mass. :
Composition & Creative Writing
Bibliographical citations
Composition & Creative Writing - General
General History
Modern - General
HISTORY / Europe/General
Language Arts & Disciplines-General
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
April 1999
Grade Level:
9 x 5 in 11 oz

Other books you might like

  1. The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable...
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  2. The Clockwork Muse: A Practical... New Trade Paper $19.50
  3. The Portable Jung (Viking Portable... Used Trade Paper $7.95
  4. Preserving the Taste Used Hardcover $6.50
  5. Dog Love Used Hardcover $9.95
  6. Perpetual Peace and Other Essays on... Used Trade Paper $12.50

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Alternative
History and Social Science » World History » European History General
History and Social Science » World History » Historiography
Reference » Books on Books
Reference » Writing » General

The Footnote: A Curious History Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674307605 Reviews:
  • back to top
Follow us on...

Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at