The emergence01

The emergence and suppression of footnotes in early modern English literature constitutes the privileged moment in literary history allowing us to enjoy the spectacular confrontation between the objective forces of modern book market and the authorial self-consciousness of those taking part in it, which we characterize as an aesthetics of Hegelian “unhappy consciousness,” of being at once in and above the levelling realm where “dunces” and hacks roam. Whereas the seventeenth-century marginal notes, Biblical referencing, and note-like digressions (which we trace from the Geneva Bible to Anatomy of Melancholy) tend to supplement (as in Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners) and fortify (as in Leviathan) the main text, with uneven political gains, eighteenthcentury texts published for the free print market, such as Bernard Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees, Dunciad Variorum, and Henry Fielding’s Tragedy of Tragedies, betray greater tension, political and cultural, between the main text and the notes, each de-constructing the self-sufficiency of the other, and in doing so constructing the other as self-divided textuality. The key to understanding this self-conscious and self-disruptive aesthetics of annotation we find in A Tale of a Tub, where the author’s refusal to round off his text as a consumable unit or item of book commodity by constantly unsettling his text with digressions and footnotes speaks for his anti-market politics, which the growing literature market quickly ceased to tolerate.

The emergence and suppression of footnotes in early modern English literature constitutes the privileged moment in literary history allowing us to enjoy the spectacular confrontation between the objective forces of modern book market and the authorial self-consciousness of those taking part in it, which we characterize as an aesthetics of Hegelian “unhappy consciousness,” of being at once in and above the levelling realm where “dunces” and hacks roam. Whereas the seventeenth-century marginal notes, Biblical referencing, and note-like digressions (which we trace from the Geneva Bible to Anatomy of Melancholy) tend to supplement (as in Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners) and fortify (as in Leviathan) the main text, with uneven political gains, eighteenthcentury texts published for the free print market, such as Bernard Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees, Dunciad Variorum, and Henry Fielding’s Tragedy of Tragedies, betray greater tension, political and cultural, between the main text and the notes, each de-constructing the self-sufficiency of the other, and in doing so constructing the other as self-divided textuality. The key to understanding this self-conscious and self-disruptive aesthetics of annotation we find in A Tale of a Tub, where the author’s refusal to round off his text as a consumable unit or item of book commodity by constantly unsettling his text with digressions and footnotes speaks for his anti-market politics, which the growing literature market quickly ceased to tolerate. The emergence and suppression of footnotes in early modern English literature constitutes the privileged moment in literary history allowing us to enjoy the spectacular confrontation between the objective forces of modern book market and the authorial self-consciousness of those taking part in it, which we characterize as an aesthetics of Hegelian “unhappy consciousness,” of being at once in and above the levelling realm where “dunces” and hacks roam. Whereas the seventeenth-century marginal notes, Biblical referencing, and note-like digressions (which we trace from the Geneva Bible to Anatomy of Melancholy) tend to supplement (as in Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners) and fortify (as in Leviathan) the main text, with uneven political gains, eighteenthcentury texts published for the free print market, such as Bernard Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees, Dunciad Variorum, and Henry Fielding’s Tragedy of Tragedies, betray greater tension, political and cultural, between the main text and the notes, each de-constructing the self-sufficiency of the other, and in doing so constructing the other as self-divided textuality. The key to understanding this self-conscious and self-disruptive aesthetics of annotation we find in A Tale of a Tub, where the author’s refusal to round off his text as a consumable unit or item of book commodity by constantly unsettling his text with digressions and footnotes speaks for his anti-market politics, which the growing literature market quickly ceased to tolerate. The emergence and suppression of footnotes in early modern English literature constitutes the privileged moment in literary history allowing us to enjoy the spectacular confrontation between the objective forces of modern book market and the authorial self-consciousness of those taking part in it, which we characterize as an aesthetics of Hegelian “unhappy consciousness,” of being at once in and above the levelling realm where “dunces” and hacks roam. Whereas the seventeenth-century marginal notes, Biblical referencing, and note-like digressions (which we trace from the Geneva Bible to Anatomy of Melancholy) tend to supplement (as in Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners) and fortify (as in Leviathan) the main text, with uneven political gains, eighteenthcentury texts published for the free print market, such as Bernard Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees, Dunciad Variorum, and Henry Fielding’s Tragedy of Tragedies, betray greater tension, political and cultural, between the main text and the notes, each de-constructing the self-sufficiency of the other, and in doing so constructing the other as self-divided textuality. The key to understanding this self-conscious and self-disruptive aesthetics of annotation we find in A Tale of a Tub, where the author’s refusal to round off his text as a consumable unit or item of book commodity by constantly unsettling his text with digressions and footnotes speaks for his anti-market politics, which the growing literature market quickly ceased to tolerate.