Gutenberg

There are people who say that Kindle has no appeal for them – “nice toy but you know, a book is a book”. Then there are those who say that that was exactly their viewpoint until they tried and were amazed how good Kindle was. So I tried myself and I was amazed how good it was – but you know, a book is a book.

Relatedly, I’m mighty grateful to the Gutenberg project for providing us with all those out-of-copyright books downloadable in Kindle format, but sometimes it seems as if they were trying to prove that “a book is a book” cliché. I’m into a second one in which they treated the author’s footnotes by inserting them (in square brackets) into the text. So that for instance their Quentin Durward is time and again interrupted like this:

“Well, my young hot blood,” replied Maitre Pierre, “if you hold the Sanglier [Wild Boar] too unscrupulous, wherefore not follow the young Duke of Gueldres?”

[Adolphus, son of Arnold and of Catherine de Bourbon…. He made war against his father; in which unnatural strife he made the old man prisoner, and used him with the most brutal violence, proceeding, it is said, even to the length of striking him with his hand. Arnold, in resentment of this usage, disinherited the unprincipled wretch, and sold to Charles of Burgundy whatever rights he had over the duchy of Gueldres and earldom of Zutphen…. S.]

“Follow the foul fiend as soon,” said Quentin. “Hark in your ear— he is a burden too heavy for earth to carry— hell gapes for him! Men say that he keeps his own father imprisoned, and that he has even struck him— can you believe it?”

I mean, if the author wanted those words in the main text rather than in a footnote, he might have written it like that in the first place. Neither is it a technical impossibility – I also have Gutenberg’s Catriona in which you see

“Na, na”, said I.  “Tamson’s mear {17} would never be the thing for me this day of all days.”

and clicking on the {17}, if so you wish, sends you to

{17}  Tamson’s mere – to go afoot.

at the end of the book where all these footnotes are stacked. So it does look like an inconspicuous attempt at sending us to the bookshop to buy the real thing instead.

Anyway, one more reason to stick to my habit of only using Kindle for quick search and for books I more or less read just to kill the time: the waiting-room stuff, so to say.

 

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