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Anne Toner provides an original account of the history of ellipsis marks - dots, dashes and asterisks - in English literary writing. Highlighting ever-renewing interest in these forms of non-completion in literature, Toner demonstrates how writers have striven to get closer to the hesitancies and interruptions of spoken language, the indeterminacies of thought, and the successive or fragmented nature of experience by means of these textual symbols. While such punctuation marks may seem routine today, this book describes their emergence in early modern drama and examines the relationship between authors, printers and grammarians in advancing or obstructing the standardisation of the marks. Their development is explored through close study of the works of major English writers, including Jonson, Shakespeare, Richardson, Sterne, Meredith and Woolf, along with visual illustrations of their usage. In particular, Toner traces the evolution of ellipsis marks in the novel, a form highly receptive to elliptical punctuation.Read more
- Offers an original and highly illustrated account of dots, dashes and asterisks through five hundred years of English literary history
- Shows how these forms of non-completion contribute significantly to an understanding of writing and reading practice across literature
- Features the work of major English writers, including Jonson, Shakespeare, Richardson, Sterne, Meredith and Woolf
Reviews & endorsements
'This is a fine book, written with wit, flair, and brio. Economy gives its argument the verve and tautness of an essay, while Toner’s rich range of reference reverberates much farther.' Kathryn Sutherland, Cambridge QuarterlySee more reviews
'[Toner] does not pursue a handful of extensive close readings or author-centred chapters: she sprints with wonderful concision and economy through five centuries of English literature …' Owen Boynton, Essays in Criticism
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- Date Published: July 2017
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107421325
- length: 265 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
- weight: 0.362kg
- contains: 26 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Introduction: observing the ellipsis
1. Ellipsis marks in early printed drama
2. Chasms and the eighteenth-century novel
3. Ellipsis and the ends of novels
4. Nineteenth-century 'explorations in Dot-and-Dashland'
5. Ellipsis and modernity.
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