November 30, 2006
Ian Macneil on Textual Footnotes
Posted by Gordon Smith

I like textual footnotes. When I read law review articles, I often skip the footnotes altogether, but if I am deeply interested in a topic, I often mine the footnotes for more insights. There's gold in them there hills!

So I was interested to read Ian Macneil's thoughts on textual footnotes, which were published in the preface of a compilation of his writings on Relational Contract Theory. The editor of the compilation, David Campbell, elected to make a "drastic reduction in the number of footnotes." Macneil did not approve of this editorial choice and he asked Campbell to place the following "warning" in the book:

Rightly or wrongly, wisely or unwisely, Macneil often writes in two closely related streams at the same time -- text and textual notes. Thus, the text can be incomplete or distorted in the absence of the latter. Economy has, however, made it necessary to omit most of the notes. Readers in the slightest doubt about the message Macneil intended at any given point are thus strongly advised to examine the original writing with its textual notes.

Well, I have never thought of my text and my notes as "two closely related streams." If the text of my articles were a stream, the notes would be pools near the bank.

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"Teppo Gordon at the Conglomerate has a post on footnotes.  I am a big user and reader of footnotes - ..." [more] (Tracked on December 1, 2006 @ 23:26)
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