Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Pilcrow

via Shady Characters: The secret life of punctuation

“…Taking pride of place at the head of every new paragraph, the pilcrow had carved out a literal niche for itself at the heart of late medieval writing. Boldly inked by the rubricator, pilcrows grew ever more elaborate and time-consuming to add. Unfortunately the deadline is not a modern invention; occasionally, time would run out before the rubricator could complete his work and the white space carefully reserved for the pilcrow went undecorated. With the advent of the printing press, the volume of printed documents to be rubricated grew exponentially and it became increasingly difficult to attend to them all. The pilcrow became a ghost, and the indented paragraph was born in its stead.”

Read Parts 1, 2, and 3 here.

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