Wednesday, October 31, 2012
In this great age of looking stuff up online, is it really that helpful anymore to use the date of publication of the particular edition that you happen to be using in your citations? I am always coming across citations like (Locke 1987) in academic articles, and each time, it gives me pause to wonder how it could be that John Locke published a book in 1987. Particularly when the argument is a historical one, these citations intrude on one's internal sense of chronology and destroy the already minimal atmospheric setting that articles or books about previous centuries create. Here we are, in the midst of the English Civil War, and suddenly, nope! It's 1956, 1981, 2003! I understand that subsequent editorial decisions matter in shaping the way that books from the English Civil War or whatever are presented, and especially translated books, but if we must note that, can't we bury it in the bibliography instead of the body of the text? Is it more helpful for a reader to know that the author was looking at the 1982 Penguin paperback reprint of Hobbes's Leviathan when he composed this article, or that the book itself was published in 1651?
Posted by Miss Self-Important at 8:12 PM