CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, a “monk for the modern age” by George Parker, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is OneLetterWords.com.
Donn Byrne riddled his novel The Wind Bloweth (1922) with ellipses. For example, page 158 alone features no fewer than 27 of them. The ellipses don’t merely omit superfluous words or mark pauses. Far from it! In an astonishing number of cases, the ellipses illustrate the narrative, inviting the reader to “connect the dots.” What follows is an illustrated celebration of Byrne’s eccentric use of ellipses. Snippets of his text are here presented in a new order, to tell a story hidden within the ellipses.
Long-term ex-readers of ours will recall that we love interpreting rows of section-break dots and asterisks as illustrations for the text above or below them. (In fact, we published an entire book of such interpretations, Annotated Ellipses: Revealing A Hidden Dot-To-Dot Game Within A Novelist's Eccentric Punctuation). But here's an example of the very opposite. The narrator experiences a roadside accident and sees fifty million stars, then notes that the row of asterisks does not represent said stars but rather a period of unconsicousness. From Pearson's, 1904.