Fascinating things, commas. Years ago when I was studying linguistics at university there was a tale going the rounds to the effect that some post-grad was doing research on the topic, 'Jane Austen's use of the comma.' It was told as one of those stories that provoke a laugh at the daft things that some academics get up to. Much more recently my son wrote a dissertation for his MA on Samuel Crompton's use of punctuation with special reference to the full stop. I was very interested to discover what an intriguing wealth of social history that opened up. He did try to track down that Jane Austen thesis, but without success. So was the story a spoof, or was the thesis never finished and submitted? Wish I knew.