Miskatonic University Press

Fictional Footnotes and Indexes

In June 1996 in rec.arts.books I asked if anyone knew of novels where the author inserted footnotes. There were many followups and some personal replies and I put together a summary, which I also posted. In July, I asked a similar question about indexes. I didn’t get very many responses (indexes are a much less common device in fiction) so I just added that list here. Since then I’ve made a number of additions to both lists.

If you know of any other works of fiction that use footnotes or have an index, please let me know. Comments and elaborations are welcome. Thanks to everyone who’s sent me mail about this.

Fiction with Footnotes

And when I say footnotes, I include endnotes.

  • Douglas Adams, the Hitchhiker Trilogy (specifically the first book).
  • Roger MacBride Allen, “Monkey See” (collected in Whatdunits, edited by Mike Resnick). An epistolary mystery, with letters by three scientists, and footnotes clarifying and arguing points.
  • Piers Anthony, the 1989 Tor edition of But What of Earth?. Footnotes are comments by various editors who had rejected the manuscript.
  • Isaac Asimov, Foundation, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation, one each book, where the first quote from the Encyclopedia Galatica gets a citation. (Perhaps other Foundation books too?). Also, Murder at the ABA, where Asimov argues with the narrator, Darius Just.
  • Paul Auster, Oracle Night.
  • Nicholson Baker, The Mezzanine.
  • J.G. Ballard, “Notes Towards a Mental Breakdown,” collected in War Fever. It’s “one sentence (‘A discharged Broadmoor patient compiles "Notes Towards a Mental Breakdown,” recalling his wife’s murder, his trial and exoneration.’) and a series of elaborate footnotes to each one of the words.“ See also the indexes list. As well, The Atrocity Exhibition, a collection of short stories, "most of which consist of paragraphs with headings, some of which are pseudo-scientific reports. The reissue in 1990 had a series of marginal annotations by Ballard, about 10,000 words worth.” Sounds like Ballard has the footnote bug.
  • Wilton Barnhardt, Gospel. Footnotes annotate the gospel the characters seek. Has an index, too.
  • Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor: being the first Jane Austen Mystery (Bantam Books, 1996), by Stephanie Barron (Francine Matthews). Supposed diary account of Jane Austen’s adventures as a detective; includes “editorial” footnotes.
  • Roland Barthes, S/Z.
  • Emily Barton, The Testament of Yves Gundrun.
  • Larry Beinhart, American Hero (on which the movie Wag the Dog was based).
  • Pamela Wharton Blanpied, Dragons—An Introduction to the Modern Infestation. Not just footnotes and indexes, I’m told, but charts, graphs, photographs, and a six-page bibliography.
  • Michael Blumlein, X, Y.
  • Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones. If you’re interested in fiction with footnotes, you probably already know Borges, and if you don’t, go read this book immediately.
  • Karyn Bosnak, 20 Times a Lady (also published as What’s Your Number)
  • Roger Boylan, Killoyle: An Irish Farce and The Great Pint-Pulling Olympiad: A Mostly Irish Farce (the excerpt has 18 footnotes).
  • T.C. Boyle, The Women (2009).
  • John Brunner, The Shockwave Rider. It’s actually a footnote from a quoted piece of text.
  • Steven Brust’s Dumas-inspired Khaavren Romances.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars. ERB is the “editor” of John Carter’s manuscript. The one footnote reads, “I have used the word radium in describing this powder because in the light of recent discoveries on Earth I believe it to be a mixture of which radium is the base. In Captain Carter’s manuscript it is mentioned always by the name used in the written language of Helium and is spelled in hieroglyphics which it would be too difficult and useless to reproduce.”
  • James Branch Cabell. No titles suggested.
  • John Dickson Carr, The Nine Wrong Answers.
  • Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Nineteen footnotes, and a bibliography.
  • Jack Chalker, Mike Resnick and George Alec Effinger, The Red-Tape War, “in which [the authors] converse back and forth in footnotes.”
  • Jerome Charyn, The Tar Baby. A novel in the form of a literary quarterly.
  • Sandra Cisneros, Caramelo.
  • Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.
  • Clyde B. Clason, Murder Goes Minoan.
  • Richard Condon, The Whisper of the Axe. A Manchurian Candidate-ish thriller. A few footnotes at the start clarify “factual” points.
  • James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans “in later editions offering various and dubious insights about the French and Indian War and the indigenous populations of the Americas.”
  • Michael Crichton, State of Fear.
  • Seán Cullen, Hamish X and the Cheese Pirates. Young adult novel where Hamish and friends fight the notorious Cheesebeard.
  • Will Cuppy’s humorous books such as The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody, How to Become Extinct, and How to Attract the Wombat.
  • Mark Danielewski, House of Leaves.
  • Pierre Daninos, Les Carnets du Major Thompson. Footnotes by the supposed author, Major Thompson, and the supposed editor, Daninos, who footnotes some of Thompson’s footnotes.
  • John DeChancie’s Castle series: Castle Perilous etc.
  • Len Deighton, The Ipcress File. Also appendices.
  • Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground. Two: one at the beginning and one at the end.
  • Apostolos Doxiadis, Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture. Most explain points about mathematics used in the text.
  • Florence Dugas, Dolorosa Soror.
  • Alexandre Dumas, Twenty Years After. Dumas has a few footnotes commenting on French history, one of which gets its own endnote in the Oxford Classics edition. La Reine Margot has one footnote, in chapter 36, when Charles IX takes Henri de Navarre to see his mistress and illegitimate son: “This natural child was afterwards the famous duke d'Angoulême, who died in 1650; and had he been legitimate, would have taken precendence of Henry III, Henry IV, Louis XIII, Louis XIV, etc. What were we given instead? The mind cannot grasp the implications of such a question.” In the Oxford World’s Classics edition, this footnote has an endnote.
  • Mark Dunn, Ibid: A Novel. This doesn’t just have footnotes, it is footnotes: all of the footnotes to a biography whose manuscript was lost.
  • Lawrence Durrell, The Alexandria Quartet.
  • Wilderness Empire, Allan Eckhart. Endnotes.
  • Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose. Two footnotes in the preface.
  • The Luck of Madonna 13, book one of the Last Nevergate Chronicles, E.T. Ellison.
  • Philip José Farmer, A Barnstormer in Oz.
  • Jasper Fforde, Lost In a Good Book. Has a character whose dialogue at first only appears in footnotes. Also, The Well of Lost Plots.
  • Henry Fielding, The Tragedy of Tragedies; Or, The Life And Death of Tom Thumb The Great.
  • “Footnotes,” Charles Coleman Finlay, The Magazine Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 2001. “It entirely of a series of footnotes to a future scientific article, concerning some mysterious disaster or plague.” An all-footnote story!
  • Charles G. Finney, The Circus of Dr. Lao. “THE CATALOGUE (An explanation of the obvious which must be read to be appreciated)” at the end has a twenty-page list of everything in the book, divided into these sections: The Male Characters; The Female Characters; The Child Characters; The Animals; The Gods and Goddesses; The Cities; The Statuettes, Figurines, Icons, Artifacts, and Idols; The Questions and Contradictions and Obscurities; and The Foodstuffs. Examples: “JOHN ROGERS: Learned the plumbing trade at fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen. Never made a hell of a lot of money at it, however. A good union man.” “TEDDY ROOSEVELT: An American President.”
  • M.A. Foster, The Gameplayers of Zan.
  • Paul Fournel, Suburbia (original French Banlieue). “Includes both footnotes and an index ( well as a foreword, an afterword, an ‘any resemblance’ disclaimer, two epigraphs, a dedication, a table of contents, introductory notes by the author and the publisher, a supplement for school use, an errata list, and a biographical note), but has no text aside from these paratexts.”
  • John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
  • George MacDonald Fraser, the entire Flashman series. Historical.
  • Mitch Freedman, A Disturbance of Fate. An alternative history where Robert Kennedy survives. Has 40 pages of endnotes.
  • Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys. Two footnotes, one about what about a barrel on monkeys is really like and the other about the name of a Korean cruise ship. There are also footnotes in Good Omens, which he wrote with Terry Pratchett.
  • Mary Gentle, ASH: A Secret History. It’s a translation of fifteenth century documents, and footnotes explain terminology and offer commentary.
  • William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  • The Brotherhood of War and Saga of the Corps series by W.E.B. Griffin.
  • Robert Grudin, Book. Footnotes take over the novel.
  • Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Also an appendix.
  • H. Rider Haggard, Allan Quatermain, King Solomon’s Mines, and She (and perhaps others?). Mostly for “editorial” clarifications on the part of the editor (Haggard?) as he corrects or expands on something said by the narrator.
  • Edward B. Hanna, The Whitechapel Horrors: A Sherlock Holmes Novel.
  • Richard Harland, The Black Crusade. Correspondent reports that the “prudish and tradition-minded publishers don’t approve of the novel, so they keep breaking in to complain about vulgarity and how wimpy the protagonist is.”
  • Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love. Three or four “editorial” explanations.
  • Oscar Hijuelos, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love.
  • Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Marbot, a fictional biography that also has an index.
  • Lance Horner, Rogue Roman. “A towering and blood-thirsty novel of ancient Rome—a world that reels under the violence of corrupt power and throbs with the beat of history, war and uninhibited sexuality.” Has a handful of footnotes, such as “1 sesterce at the time of Nero was worth 27 1/2 c.”
  • L. Ron Hubbard, Battlefield Earth and the Mission Earth dekology. The footnotes go off on tangential plots in Battlefield Earth.
  • Gary Jaron, Through the Gate of Dreams. 248 endotes, and a bibliography.
  • Captain W.E. Johns, Biggles Defends the Desert. Probably just in this particular edition, published by Red Fox in 1993. The footnotes explain what a Spitfire is, what N.C.O. stands for, that “Boche” (as in “jolly old Boche”) is derogatory slang for Germans, etc. Further checking shows a footnote or two in a 1940s edition of Biggles in the Orient. In fact I think quite a few Biggles books have footnotes.
  • Susan Johnson, Love Storm, A Touch of Sin, Golden Paradise, and other erotic romance novels.
  • Ben Jonson, Sejanus. Robert Teeter wrote me that “Apparently, Ben was concerned that if he didn’t back up his play with historical proof, people would think he was writing an allegory advocating overthrow of the monarch(y).”
  • Stephen Graham Jones, Demon Theory. Novelization of a nonexistent horror movie.
  • James Joyce, the “lessons” chapter of Finnegans Wake.
  • Bilge Karasu, Gece. It’s in Turkish, and the English translation is Night.
  • Harry Stephen Keeler. The Marceau Case has one footnote. In a letter to Aleck Snide, Jane Trotter refers to Xenius Jones' “Fourth Day-Mentioned Continuation.” A “Publisher’s Note” states, “Obviously Jane is referring above to some mention made to her, by Jones, in connection with his criminological theories, of ‘4th Dimensional Continuum.’” X. Jones of Scotland Yard, the sequel, also consists of documents like postcards and letters, some of which have footnotes; it also contains a footnote from the publisher directing the reader to another book regarding a certain plot point. Keeler also uses footnotes in Behind That Mask to refer to another book, Finger! Finger!, which involves some of the same events.
  • Philip Kerr, The Second Angel. Mostly used for massive information dumps.
  • Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegon Days.
  • Sophie Kinsella, I’ve Got Your Number.
  • Michael Kun, You Poor Monster.
  • Barbara Lachman, The Journal of Hildegard of Bingen.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed. One footnote, for the word tadde: “Papa. A small child may call any mamme or tadde. Gimar’s tadde may have been father, an uncle, or an unrelated adult who showed her parental or grandparental responsibility and affection. She may have called several people tadde or mamme, but the word has a more specific use than ammar (brother/sister), which may be used to anybody.”
  • C.S. Lewis, Perelandra. Only one.
  • Herbert Samuel Lindenberger, Saul’s Fall. “Saul’s Fall” is also the title of a play, by Orlando Hennessy-Garcia, which is included, and it’s the basis for all the critical essays and papers that fill up the rest of the book. The entire thing (which has footnotes), including the editor of the book, is a fabrication by Lindenberger.
  • E. Lockhart, The Boyfriend List (2005). A book for teenage girls. A girl recounts stories of all her boyfriends and crushes, heavily laced with footnotes. The sample chapter leaves out the footnotes, perhaps so potential readers aren’t frightened.
  • Jack London, The Iron Heel. Howard Zinn wrote the introduction to the 1971 Bantam edition, and said, “The footnotes of The Iron Heel, supposedly written many centuries later to inform readers of what life was like in the early twentieth century, still cut deep to fundamental truths.”
  • Dustin Long, Icelander (2006). Prefatory note from the “editor” says: “As the author of Icelander seems to assume at least some knowledge of Magnus Valison’s The Memoirs of Emily Bean, I have seen fit to scatter a few explanatory footnotes wherever I felt that readers unfamiliar with that series might benefit from a bit of background elucidation.”
  • Barry Lopez, “Rubin Mendoza Vega,” collected in Light Action in the Carribean. It’s one paragraph with sixteen footnotes.
  • Lisa Lutz, The Spellman Files. Humorous mystery. The footnotes are available for download on their own.
  • Herman Melville, Moby Dick.
  • Jean Merrill, The Pushcart War, a children’s novel.
  • Mark Merlis, An Arrow’s Flight. One nice little footnote.
  • Christopher Miller, The Cardboard Universe, with two editors doing battle in footnotes.
  • Talbot Mundy, Om: The Secret of Ahbor Valley. Numerous footnotes explaining Tibetan and Buddhist words. The Nine Unknown has the same sort of notes. * Vladimir Nabokov, Ada or Ardor.
  • Jamyang Norbu, The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes: The Missing Years. A pastiche. Commentary by the “editor.”
  • Lawrence Norfolk, In the Shape of a Boar.
  • Andre Norton and Rosemary Edghill, Leopard in Exile.
  • Robert Nye, The Late Mr. Shakespeare.
  • Eric Nylund, Mortal Coils.
  • Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman and The Poor Mouth.
  • Tim O'Brien, In the Lake of the Woods.
  • Jean d'Ormesson, La Gloire de l'Empire. Fictional history.
  • Philip Palmer, Artemis. “She’s a stone cold killer, a rebel and a librarian.” SF, with many editorial footnotes.
  • Edgar Pangborn, Davy. The footnotes are comments from friends of the narrator.
  • Headlong Hall, Melincourt, Nightmare Abbey, Maid Marian, The Misfortunes of Elphin, Crotchet Castle and Gryll Grange, all by Thomas Love Peacock. Some critical editions have footnotes to the footnotes. Much of Peacock’s poetry has footnotes, even poetry for children, such as Sir Hornbook, or Childe Launcelot’s Expedition and The Round Table, or King Arthur’s Feast.
  • Georges Perec, Life A User’s Manual (La Vie mode d'emploi). Has a few footnotes, and an index.
  • Robert Plunkett, My Search for Warren Harding. A comic novel.
  • Alexander Pope, The Dunciad. And appendices.
  • Jane Porter, The Scottish Chiefs. Historical.
  • Stephen Potter, the Upmanship books: Gamesmanship, Lifemanship, One-Upmanship, and Supermanship. Fictional non-fiction.
  • Festus Pragnell, The Green Man of Kilsona (in the United States, The Green Man of Graypec. A few footnotes clarifying plot points, and one that defines the word “veneer.”
  • Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens.
  • Terry Pratchett, everything in the marvellous Discworld series. The footnotes were analyzed a few years ago on L-Space.
  • Fletcher Pratt, Alien Planet. Reportedly not a very good book. It’s in the form of a found manuscript, with footnotes by the “editor.”
  • Manuel Puig, Kiss of the Spiderwoman.
  • Philip Reeve, Larklight.
  • Mordechai Richler, Barney’s Version. Footnotes added by narrator’s son.
  • Rudy Rucker, White Light. Two footnotes, which give references to works by Kurt Gödel and C.H. Hinton, respectively.
  • J.D. Salinger, “Zooey” in Franny and Zooey. One footnote: “The aesthetic evil of a footnote seems in order just here, I’m afraid.”
  • Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea. (Need verification.)
  • Diane Schoemperlen, “Innocent Objects,” a short story in Forms of Devotion. Nineteen footnotes, each explaining an item mentioned in the story, and accompanied by an illustration.
  • Sir Walter Scott, Waverly. And many of his other novels, giving historical detail or comment.
  • Will Self, Walking to Hollywood
  • Max Shulman, The Zebra Derby. One on the first page explaining that contrary to tradition he has some characters with his first name.
  • Lee Siegel, Love in a Dead Language.
  • John Sladek, The Muller-Fokker Effect. Two footnotes. “The fictional ‘Editor’s Note’ has a footnote referencing Appendix 1 (Table of Persons, Objects, etc., Which Have Not Fallen Back to Earth, With Explanations). Chapter 16 has two footnotes, one of which references Appendix 2 (The 128 Ways). Appendix 2 explains the 128 (=2^7) ways to interpret the Christian Nicene Creed, which has 7 basic affirmations of faith.”
  • E.E. “Doc” Smith. There are some in his Lensman series.
  • Robert Sobel, For Want of a Nail. About the American Revolutionary War. Has an index, too.
  • Jose Carlos Somoza, The Athenian Murders. A translator comments on a Greek manuscript he’s translating and, strangely, involved in.
  • Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon and the three books of the Baroque Trilogy: Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World.
  • Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy.
  • Charles Stross, The Jennifer Morgue. Science fiction.
  • Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, Ptolemy’s Gate. In the first book (and I assume the other two) there are two narratives, one in the first person by a djinni, and he makes heavy use of footnotes. It’s as close as he can come for humans to his ability to read multiple things at once.
  • Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub.
  • William Makepeace Thackeray. Vanity Fair. In chapter 28 another author’s recounting of an incident is footnoted.
  • Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace. I saw one, but there might be more. It’s a big book.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings. And there are about eight footnotes in the Harvard Lampoon’s Bored of the Rings.
  • Trevanian, Shibumi. Three footnotes. The first says in part, “Simple social responsibility now dictates that he [the author] avoid exact description of tactics and events which, although, they might be of interest to a handful of readers, might contribute to the harm done to (and by) the uninitiated.” The third explains a Basque joke.
  • Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. A single footnote, in chapter ten: “If Mr. Harbison had owned a slave named Bull, Tom would have spoken of him as ‘Harbison’s Bull,’ but a son or a dog of that name was ‘Bull Harbison.’”
  • John Updike, Memories of the Ford Administration.
  • S.S. Van Dine (pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright), Vance mysteries, including The Benson Murder Case, The Canary Murder Case, The Greene Case, The Bishop Murder Case, The Scarab Murder Case, The Dragon Murder Case, The Kennel Murder Case, The Garden Murder Case, and perhaps others.
  • Luis d'Antin van Rooten, Mots d'Heures: Gousses, Rames. Phonetic transliterations of Mother Goose rhymes into French, with footnotes explaining it all. “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall” becomes “Un petit d'un petit [1] / S'etonne aux Halles [2]”, with notes “1. The inevitable result of a child marriage” and “2. The subject of this epigrammatic poem is obviously from the provinces, since a native Parisian would take this famous old market for granted.”
  • Jeff VanderMeer, City of Saints and Madmen: The Book of Ambergris.
  • Jack Vance: “nearly all” of his novels.
  • Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days. One footnote, which gives details on salaries earned by civil servants in British India.
  • William T. Vollmann, The Ice Shirt and Fathers and Crows.
  • Voltaire, L'Ingénu. One footnote: “Tous ces noms sont en effet hurons” (“all these words are really Huron”).
  • David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest. Lots of them. Lots. He liked footnotes. Also, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.
  • Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, The Death Gate Cycle, a seven-book novel sequence. Possibly also other Weis and Hickman novels, as well.
  • Donald E. Westlake, Don’t Ask. Two footnotes chapter 6. Correspondent reports, “the first explains a real-estate term. The second footnote references the first, and notes that should pay attention, because even a novel might have an informative footnote.”
  • Colin Wilson, The Mind Parasites. Purports to be a history book published in 2014. The Philosopher’s Stone also has a few, as does The Sex Diary of Gerard Sorme. The World of Violence has one.
  • Robert Anton Wilson, the Historical Illuminatus Trilogy.
  • Gene Wolfe, The Urth of the New Sun.
  • A.B. Yehoshua, The Liberated Bride.

Other

  • “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” Douglas Adams. The original version, the series of half-hour radio shows. One episode is narrated by the talking Book, together with two other voices identified as “Headings” and “Footnotes.” *Paul Auster, Hand to Mouth, his autobiography. Correspondent reports it “has three footnotes which are given in the end of the book as they are quite lengthy — literally, they are different books themselves: the one is a novel, the baseball thriller Squeeze Play. The second footnote consists of three short plays. The third is a card game.”
  • The Pinball Effect and Other Journeys Through Knowledge, James Burke. Has hypertext jumps done with a marginal numbering system.
  • A Pilgrimage to Al-Medina and Meccah, Sir Richard Francis Burton. Not only does this have extensive footnotes, after revisions it ended up with some footnotes having footnotes. Burton’s translation of The Thousand and One Nights also has lots of footnotes.
  • Hopscotch, Julio Cortazar. Almost 100 extra chapters can be added in for more information and digressions.
  • Generation X, Douglas Coupland. Definitions and things in the margins.
  • “The Wasteland,” T.S. Eliot.
  • Cambodia: Stories for People Who Find Television Too Slow, Brian Fawcett. One enormous footnote that takes up one-third of each page.
  • John Hollander, a poet, uses endotes.
  • “The Anathemata,” David Jones. Poetry.
  • Nestor Burma mysteries, by Leo Malet, in German translation (I don’t know if it’s the same translator as above). Each Burma story takes place in a different arrondissement of Paris. The translator went to the city, compared it with the books, and added in an appendix with photos and tips. My correspondent says you can use the books as city guides.
  • From Hell, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Eddie Campbell, was heavily annotated by Moore.
  • Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov. Analysis of a poem, referenced by line.
  • The Martyrology Book Five, bp Nichol. Part of a very long poem; some lines have numbers which indicate jumps to other sections of the book.
  • Lempriere’s Dictionary, Lawrence Norfolk. He submitted notes with his (English) manuscript explaining the relation between the story and historical facts, but they weren’t published. However, a German translator became intrigued with them and added 66 pages of glossary and notes.
  • “A Garland of Ibids,” in A Subtreasury of American Humor, Frank Sullivan (parody of Van Wyck Brooks).
  • Blue, by Benjamin Zucker. “Based on the structure of the Talmud,” says the Globe and Mail (19 August 2000), “the novel has at its heart a story running down the centre of each page. Surrounding that column of type are commentaries in voices both of related fictional characters and of unrelated historical figures. Facing each page is a visual document relating either to the main story or one of the commentaries…. It strikes me as a musty curiosity, and a very expensive one at that.”
  • Some people mentioned critical editions of books. Someone mentioned comic books, which have footnotes to tie the story in to earlier issues.
  • See also Creative Non-fiction and Memoirs w/ Footnotes from the Fiction-L mailing list.

About Footnotes

  • Anderson, Bruce. The Decline and Fall of Footnotes.
  • Benstock, Shari. “At the Margin of Discourse: Footnotes in the Fictional Text.” PMLA (Publications of the Modern Languages Association of America) 98.2 (March 1983) 204-225. Contains such sentences as, “Such diametrically opposed claims, making notations cooperative with the text but not intrinsic to it and insisting that comments be both inner- and outer-directed, frequently result in a critical appendage that bears an uneasy relation to its parent.”
  • Burkle-Young, Francis A., and Saundra Rose Maley, The Art of the Footnote: The Intelligent Student’s Guide to the Art and Science of Annotating Texts.
  • Genette, Gerard. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation (1997).
  • Grafton, Anthony. The Footnote: A Curious History.
  • Jackson, Kevin. Invisible Forms: A Guide to Literary Curiosities, Covers author bios, marginalia and titles as well as footnotes. In an interview with Eleanor Wachtel on CBC’s “Writers and Company,” he highly recommended Grafton’s book and Baker’s The Mezzanine.
  • Kennedy, Colleen Stephanie. Footnotes and Prefaces: Ruses of Authority in the Postmodern Fiction of Vladimir Nabokov and John Barth. Unpublished dissertation, University of California, Irvine, 1986.
  • Kostelantz, Richard, ed. Essaying Essays. Apparently there’s a piece in here that’s footnotes to footnotes to footnotes, but I haven’t seen the book.
  • Langford, David. Note That Foot.
  • Mayer, Robert. “The Illogical Status of Novelistic Discourse: Scott’s Footnotes for the Waverly Novels.” ELH, 66.4 (1999) 911-938.
  • Zerby, Chuck. The Devil’s Details: A History of Footnotes.

Fiction with Indexes

  • “The Index,” included in War Fever, J.G. Ballard. It’s “supposedly the index to a lost book.” See also the footnotes list.
  • Wilton Barnhardt, Gospel. Also has footnotes.
  • Pamela Wharton Blanpied, Dragons—An Introduction to the Modern Infestation.
  • René Daumal, A Night of Serious Drinking (1938).
  • A thriller by Ranulph Fiennes whose name I forgot to write down.
  • Paul Fournel, Suburbia (original French title: Banlieue).
  • Olivia Goldsmith, Bestseller.
  • Alasdair Gray, Lanark: A Life in Four Books. There is an “Index of Plagiarisms” in the margin of the epilogue.
  • Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Marbot, a fictional biography that also has footnotes.
  • Harry Mathews, The Sinking of the Odradek Stadium.
  • Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire.
  • Milorad Pavic, Landscape Painted with Tea.
  • Georges Perec, Life A User’s Manual (La Vie mode d'emploi). Also has footnotes. Also, Which Moped with Chrome-Plated Handlebars at the Back of the Yard? (Quel petit vélo à guidon chromé au fond de la cour? (1966)) is a short novel with an index. You can find it in Three by Perec (1996), translated by Ian Monk.
  • Jacques Roubaud, The Princess Hoppy or the Tale of Labrador. Two indexes: “Index” and “Separate Index.”
  • Robert Sobel, For Want of a Nail. About the American Revolutionary War. Also has footnotes.
  • Ian Stewart, Flatterland: Like Flatland, Only More So.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion. As well, later editions of The Lord of the Rings have an index (at the end of The Return of the King). The early editions have an apology for not having an index.
  • W. Warren Wagar, A Short History of the Future. It has indexes of persons and of subjects. It’s a future history.
  • Virginia Woolf, Orlando.
  • Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves.

About Indexes

These are mostly about indexers making an index for books written by someone else.

Updated: 07 March 2014