- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (November 16, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312266065
- ISBN-13: 978-0312266066
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,839,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Invisible Forms: A Guide to Literary Curiosities First Edition Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
One can only hint at the humour in this book.
For instance, in his chapter on pseudonyms, he discusses the reasons why Eric Blair decided to adopt the pseudonym "George Orwell", noting rather snidely in a footnote: "A cynic might add that `Blair' is an unlikely name for a socialist."
Or when discussing the merits of the last words of James Joyce in his famous short story, "The Dead," Jackson comments: "Lovely prose, Jimmy, simply lovely; not a dry eye in the parlour the last time I read it out to the servants."
Or his chapter on marginalia, which is about those awful scribblings on books made by readers. Jackson adds his own marginalia to his work - the underlining of the word `penis', with the comment "smut!"; or the bracketing of a paragraph with "come, now....", "typical", "Has this man never heard of Derrida?" and my favourite, "bamba, BAMBA!" Just the right touch of pomposity.
His chapter on indexes is classic. He quotes from Joe Queenan's book, If You're Talking to Me, Your Career Must be in Trouble:
Likened to Adolf Hitler, 78
Obliviousness of, 76
Questionable goatee of, 78
This is funny, but at the same time it makes you realise how important indexes really are - and how much fun they can be.Read more ›
From introductions to prefaces, from pseudonyms to heteronyms, the author embellishes the book with the history that makes them what they are and uses many examples to illustrate his ideas. He describes the origins and uses of blurbs, dedications, epigraphs, and footnotes (which borrows heavily from Anthony Grafton's The Footnote: A Curious History).
Jackson looks at marginalia and stage directions, lectures and last words as used in books. Finally, he addresses the back matter of books: appendixes, bibliographies, and indexes.
This is excellent reading for the historically inclined and for bibliophiles.
There are books in which the footnotes, or the comments scrawled by some reader's hand in the margin, are more interesting than the text. The world is one of those books. (George Santayana, Realms of Being)
Some of the means I use are trivial - and some are quadrivial. (James Joyce, responding to accusations of triviality)
The contents of Invisible Forms exist in that realm somewhere between the trivial and the whole world. It is an interesting place, one that invites the reader in for a dip now and then. Watch out that you are not engulfed by the world of Invisible Forms.