The case of the Foucault-footnote or, why it’s ok to invent a source if your name is Borges.
This little bibliographic adventure began in an entirely unexpected way and resolved itself with a sort of vague inconclusiveness that I think would have pleased, or frustrated, both of the authors in the sub-title. If it could bring a smile to either of those now deceased entities I am fairly sure they would not agree on the source of the humour.
*A note to readers: This has been cleaned up for content since it was posted and I regret that most entries that get over 400 words are likely to endure a second edit after they appear. Nothing significant has changed, but odds are, it reads better. At least, I’m happier with it and that’s all that matters.
As an act of discipline I have forced myself to make time to finish a blog entry, any blog entry. Readers can enjoy the fruits of that penitent labour in the form of this short discourse on Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486 – 1535) and whether or not he was a member of one of the confraternities of swordsmen that appeared in German states in the 15th and 16th centuries. It’s a short discussion because there is little evidence that he was such a member and that the suggestion holds very little water.
Occasionally I engage on some tedious research that, I know, has little, if any, practical value. Yet I am incapable of resisting the urge to do the work. I find this occurs most often with odd citations or errors in documentation or sloppy references and I eventually spend hours tracking down a quote, primary source, obscure re-print, or an equally irrelevant detail, knowing all the while that I will never find a publishable use for such efforts.
A blog, however, is the perfect place to compile these irrelevancies. So, in what may become a recurring series here at PBS, I present the first episode in Adventures in Forensic Bibliography.