Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Note Spoilers

I don't like having endings spoiled for me. When I read a story, I want to savor it, to follow the dips and twists and turns, and finally come to that satisfying conclusion when everything is resolved. It's part of reading/hearing a story--or least a successful story.

However, apparently in academia, we no longer read for enjoyment. Frequently, endings are spoiled by well-meaning editors. The site of the crime? Footnotes and endnotes. These editors put in the notes with the good intention of explaining bits of the narrative that might get lost because of antiquated language or conventions that are lost.

However, occasionally editors have the urge to insert interpretive material in their notes. Sometimes that interpretive material gives away a major plot point. I'm barely a third through Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, and now (because of a damned note), I think I know how it's going to end. I don't like having ends ruined, especially when I'm really getting into the story. Why do they assume that we read for information and not enjoyment? I may be studying this text for class, but I also enjoy reading a good story. And this is a good story*.

*With sex. Lots and lots of sex. In fact, this novel is also considered one of the most famous English erotic novels. For all the pornography, it also has a good story. More about this later.

1 comment:

The Aimful Wanderer said...

I can't enjoy a story unless I know how it ends. I don't feel like wasting my time and emotions on something if the ending is stupid or will upset me. Very rarely can I make it through a book without flipping to the last page.