JO SH UA RATNE R Friends School of Baltimore Paratexts are the parts of books we skip in our zeal to get to the real stuff— the “body” text. Sir Walter Scott, recognizing that readers often skip pref- aces, offers a “Postscript, which should have been a preface” to Waverley, and he gives as his rationale the habit of readers who skip prefaces and even major parts of the novel to read ﬁnal chapters ﬁrst, so “these remarks, being introduced last in order, have still the best chance to be read in their proper place.” Scott’s hope that his remarks would be read “in their proper place” reveals the desire for readers to engage his text in a particular way, but it also obscures the interactions with the book most readers will already have had. Readers will have seen its spine and looked past copyright notices and title pages and advertisements for other books, and each of these paratexts, over which an author usually has little control, affect how the reader encounters the text. When authors do control paratexts, those prefaces, dedications, and footnotes make vivid their efforts to create a direct rela- tionship with readers. Even as they
Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Nov 5, 2018
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