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.
A recent article at Inside Higher Education, which is mostly about plagiarism and related ills, reminded me of a personal peeve with citation rules. Some recent changes to citation guides, like APA, are advising the use of DOI (digital object identifiers) for sources that are both print and digital, but otherwise identical in content and pagination.
The Problem of the Poetic Pellas or, What’s in a (Wrong) Name?
London, BL, MS Sloane 2430 (f.2v)
The study of martial literature, like any other topic with few followers, is prone to errors of citation and sourcing. These errors can persist to the point that they become their own sort of source. Repeated use makes them historical. I think the genre of historical martial arts is the easy target because much of the material that enthusiasts work with is well outside the typical scholarly territories anyway and few of these students have the source fetish that academics develop. The case-study today is the “poem of the pell.”
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.