[DWJ] new book preview

Martha Hixon marthahixon at gmail.com
Thu Jun 27 20:40:07 EDT 2013

At the risk of prolonging a not-very-relevant-and-possibly-boring thread
(though an interesting one to me because it highlights an unrecognized,
though minor, cultural assumption), Eleanor's guesses re "Hixon, Martha P"
vs "Pittman Hixon, Martha" make sense to someone who is used to considering
double last names that aren't hyphenated. But I've checked both the MLA
guidelines (for documentation for humanities) and the APA guidelines (for
social sciences), both of which are the dominant guidelines here in the
States, and while neither one specifically addresses this issue, the
examples provided invert only the very last name: for example, "Krutch,
Joseph Wood" and "Flanigan, Beverly Olson." So, American assumptions about
what constitutes a surname really are different, it seems (though I admit I
only checked these two sources).

I started just using "P" to save time/space rather than for clarification
about what my last name is (that never occurred to me), and I usually
dispense with it altogether except for publication and signing documents of
various types. (Putting in the middle letter adds a bit of a touch to an
otherwise short and ordinary name, ha!)

And while "Wynne" is a common British girl's name, it isn't here in the US,
so many of us would not have recognized it as such.

I am not at all arguing about this; I just find it fascinating that we
assume small daily things like this are universal or at least common
practice everywhere when they're not.


Dr. Martha P. Hixon
Department of English
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
615-898-2599 / martha.hixon at mtsu.edu

I suppose I've been thinking that the difference between a forename and a
> surname is which box its owner puts it in on forms.  When people marry and
> combine their surnames, don't they put them both in the Surname box?
>  Whereas I would guess that Martha, who signs herself "Dr Martha P. Hixon",
> puts only "Hixon" in the Surname box, and is "Hixon, Martha Pittman" to the
> Library of Congress.
> Eleanor

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