At the end of Breaking Dawn, volume four in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, there an index of vampires arranged alphabetically by coven. Interestingly, the index uses a typographical strikethrough ‒ e.g. V̶a̶s̶i̶l̶i̶i̶ ‒ to denote a vampire who is deceased before the beginning of the novel. I’ve never seen an index with this feature before, and I can imagine all sorts of alternative uses for it.
St George Mivart was a British biologist (1827‒1900) who became one of the fiercest critics of Darwin’s theory of evolution. He argued that complex structures such as the vertebrate eye could never come about through natural selection. In 1889 he published a book called ‘Origin of Human Reason’ in which he contended that the human intellect didn’t evolve but was conferred divinely.
His views aroused controversy and he made enemies, one of whom appears to have been the indexer for his ‘Origin of Human Reason’. On page 136, Mivart records an odd story about a cockatoo: the indexer picks it up and refers to it fifteen times throughout the index. Indexers will usually aim for double or multiple entry so as to provide alternative access points for the reader, but the ‘Cockatoo’ entries are superabundant and they signal, perhaps, an attempt at mockery:
David A. Green is a freelance indexer living in Petersfield, Hampshire.
The Indexed Word
Random thoughts about books, indexes, and book indexing.