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Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Cluttered Page

Too many footnotes, "scare quotes," too many paren(theses) within words, too many semicolons, and "[b]rackets to conform to style manuals" will give your page a "cluttered" look. That might be what you're after, so by all means put in more of all of these things if that's the desired effect.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

Very much when I was an undergraduate. I thought about the need to have some block-indented quotations, but not on every page, and to have plenty of footnotes, but, again, some pages without. I worried about the relative position of headings on the page (not just whether one would end up on the last line). The visual (not cognitive) length of paragraphs. Etc. I wanted more clutter than I go for today, but not to make it look cluttered, just scholarly. But I've thrown aside these childish concerns. The experience of seeing the difference between your manuscript and your text in print, is formative. You realize that an MS is an MS. It's where you sit down and do the work with your hands. The rest is typesetting ... for the eyes. Not unimportant. But not part of the composition. (At least not in academic writing.)