Friday, April 04, 2008

He means the 'Ghost'?

A pilcrow is one of these: ¶. I didn’t know that. The little printer’s mark is unvoiced but eloquent, sundering streams of prose, heralding new paragraphs or staking out subclauses. It crops up often in legal and academic documents, but in fiction you would only expect to see one as an avant-garde manoeuvre, pegged into a page by an author who wanted to interrupt a conventional illusion, to alert the reader to something imposed or artificial. I suspect McSweeney’s uses them a lot. —Keith Miller, "The Clever Nostalgia of Adam Mars-Jones," TLS, March 26, 2008

UPDATE: Saki Knafo, aka the greatest journalist in the world, found this punctuational free-for-all in an AP story. Here Shaquille O'Neal appears to be visualizing his words in cartoon bubbles:

Of Riley's comments, O'Neal said colorfully, "I don't [care] how he interpreted it."

Reminded that reporters couldn't use the quote because of the expletive, he said, "Sure you can. You can quote me, brother. You can put an 's,' then the tic-tac-toe, the 'at' sign and then the other symbols."

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Blogger Levi Stahl said...

I never knew its name. I hand-draw them a lot when I'm proofreading copy, because paragraph breaks are the sort of thing that copy-and-paste functions tend to drop.

But mine never look as elegant as those in the Ghost!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Idalia said...

You're a pilcrow artist!

8:15 PM  

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