Pause and Effect : An Introduction to the History of Punctuation in the West book cover
1st Edition

Pause and Effect
An Introduction to the History of Punctuation in the West

ISBN 9780859677424
Published October 24, 2016 by Routledge
343 Pages

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Book Description

From its publication in 1992 Pause and Effect has become a cornerstone of the study of punctuation across the world. Described as 'magisterial' by Lynne Truss in her best-selling Eats, Shoots and Leaves, this book has stimulated interest and scholarly debates among writers, literary critics, philosophers, linguists, rhetoricians, palaeographers and all those who study the use of language. To celebrate this extraordinary achievement, Pause and Effect has been republished in September 2008, coinciding with the publication of the author's new work, Their Hands Before Our Eyes. The first part of Pause and Effect identifies the graphic symbols of punctuation and deals with their history. It covers the antecedents of the repertory of symbols, as well as the ways in which the repertory was refined and augmented with new symbols to meet changing requirements. The second part offers a short general account of the principal influences which have contributed to the ways in which the symbols have been applied in texts, focusing on the evidence of the practice itself rather than on theorists. The treatment enables the reader to compare usages in different periods, and to isolate the principles which underlie the use of punctuation in all periods. The examples and plates which are at the core of the book provide the reader with an opportunity to test the author's observations. The examples are taken from a wide range of literary texts from different periods and languages. Latin texts are accompanied by English translation intended to illustrate the use of punctuation in the originals in so far as this is possible.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Part I Pause: Symbols as Notation: Antiquity: aids for inexperienced readers and the prehistory of punctuation; Changing attitudes to the written word: components in a 'grammar of legibility'; Carolingian renovatio: augmenting old notation with new symbols; The requirements of public worship; The development of the general repertory of punctuation; The technology of printing and the stabilization of the symbols. Part II Effect: Symbols as Signs: Influences on the application of punctuation; The layout and punctuation of verse; Notes; Appendices: Part III Plates and Commentaries. Part IV Glossary, Indexes and Lists.

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M.B. Parkes (1930 - 2103) was Professor Emeritus of Palaeography in the University of Oxford, and Fellow emeritus of Keble College. He was a Senior Fellow of the British Academy, a Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, and had been Visiting Professor at the University of Konstanz (1974 and 1980), James T. Hill Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota (1991), and Visiting Professor of Latin at Harvard University (1997). He is the author of Their Hands Before Our Eyes: A Closer Look at Scribes and his previous publications include English Cursive Book Hands, both also published by Ashgate.


'It is learned, instructive, and thought-provoking at every turn.' The Library ’This is a beautifully produced book which offers readers a rich store of information and analysis...the book as a whole has much to offer a very wide range of interested readers...No reader...could reach the end of this book without fulfilling Dr Parkes’s aim of an enormously enriched awareness of the importance of punctuation and of the subtlety of interpretative nuance which attention to the punctuation can bring to the reading of a text of any period.’ Review of English Studies ’It will no doubt be the classic treatment for quite some time to come... this is a great book.’ Quaerendo ’With his necessarily selective, yet well-balanced, lucid and highly competent study Dr Parkes has impressively refuted the common notion that punctuation marks are just minor accessories.' Notes and Queries, Vol. 41, No. 1 ’...a handsome volume that will no doubt generate future interest in the tells a fascinating story.’ Moderna Sprak ’Dr Parkes’s book will be an enduring landmark, a distinctive punctus elevatus in the history of literary scholarship. We have now to take punctuation seriously.' Archiv für das studium der neueren sprachen und literaturen