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4. Preparation of the Modern Edition

4.1. Formatting (the appearance of the text)

4.1.1. House style

The general style of the Internet Shakespeare Editions follows the current MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Where the MLA Handbook is silent, use the Chicago Manual of Style. The most recent Handbook contains information on the correct citation of Internet resources. Note that the ISE uses American rather than British spelling.

Use minimal formatting, as the editions on the Internet are limited to the basic formatting codes understood by all common browsers.

4.1.2. The format of the modern text

Editors will be provided with a "template" for the modern text once their old-spelling text is completed. The template will have tagging in place, but will use the old-spelling text as a base.

a) Speech prefixes

Put speech prefixes on a separate line; separate all speeches by a blank line before the speech prefix. Surround the speech prefix with the tags <SP></SP>. For details on the appearance of speech prefixes, see 4.4.7. below.

b) Speeches

All speeches are printed on the line following the speech prefix, even those where the line is divided. They should be contained in the tag <S> </S>. The speech as a whole includes the speech prefix and any included stage directions.

c) Stage directions

Stage directions will normally be on a separate line, with blank lines before and after; the exceptions are those that will appear in the same line as part of the speech, such as an aside, or an indication of who the character is speaking to. When stage directions occupy a separate line, their line number should be a decimal based on the immediately preceding line (or "<L n="0.1"/> for the first stage direction in a scene). In the HTML version they will be displayed in italic, including the names of characters; you should not, however, put them in italic in your word processor. They should be tagged with the <SD> </SD> container, with an "type" attribute indicating what kind of stage direction it is:

<SD t="entrance | exit | setting | sound | delivery | whoto | action | location 
| other | optional | uncertain"> </SD>

(see 4.4.6, especially [e]). When a stage direction involves two kinds of directions (an action and an entrance or exit, for example) list both types, separated by a comma:

<SD t="entrance, action">Enter Lady Macbeth reading a letter</SD>.

Where you are adding stage directions that are more for the benefit of the reader, and can be considered more directorial, indicate your choice with the type "optional," together with a further description of the direction:


<SD t="action, optional">weeps.</SD>

Where the stage direction is for any reason uncertain (where exactly does a character enter or exit, for example), indicate—again with a further description—"uncertain":


<SD t="entrance, uncertain">Enter Hamlet.<SD>

See below, 4.4.6.e, for more on uncertainty in stage directions.

It is possible to combine more than one stage direction and type, where appropriate.


<SD t="entrance, uncertain">Enter Hamlet<SD> <SD t="optional">[reading].</SD>

For details on the appearance of the names of characters, see 4.4.5. below.

d) Prose and verse

Verse passages are indicated in the usual way by separate lines in your word processor. Prose passages will be a single "line" or paragraph. You may choose to divide long prose speeches with paragraph breaks, indicated by a carriage return, in which case you are using the paragraph as a further means of modernizing the punctuation, and should discuss the issue in your textual introduction. In addition, you will be asked to define sections of the text as verse or prose using the tags <MODE> </MODE> (see Appendix A, section 2.1). Partial lines in verse are indicated by an attribute of the line tag:

<L n="[number]" part="i | m | f">

(initial, medial, final).

e) Accented characters

Use the ISE tag for all accented characters, including syllabic -èd endings (-{`e}d in ISE style). This is important, because the accents may be lost when the file is converted to XML. Here is a list of the most frequently used accents:

{`e} letter with grave accent (è).
{^o} letter with circumflex (ô).
{"o} letter with dieresis (ö).
{'e} letter with acute accent (é).
{~n} letter with tilde accent (ñ).
{_o} letter with macron.

f) Greek letters

Since the Greek alphabet translates erratically from one computer and program to another, you should indicate in a separate email any passages that are in Greek, then proofread them carefully when they are posted online.

4.2. The components of the modern text

The major constituent parts of a complete edition are listed here; see section 2.11.1 above for a listing of those component parts which can be seen as a minimum for independent publication. The more extensive items are discussed in more detail in the next section.

4.2.1. The text

The following items may be published as a unit:

4.2.2. A discussion of the date of the play

You may wish to publish this section of the edition at the same time as the text, since your conclusions (if any) may involve some of the same arguments you will be establishing in discussing other textual problems.

4.2.3. The commentary

Once the text has been published, the commentary can be published separately. It will consist of the following:

4.2.4. Supporting resources

Each text may be linked to a number of resources for the scholar and student. There is an opportunity for collaboration in the development of these resources. As indicated in section 1.4, Broadview Press requires that each edition contain a chronology; a bibliography; and annotated appendices amounting to between 50 and 100 book pages (or approximately 30,000-60,000 words) of background materials (most commonly source materials, documents relating to the historical and intellectual context of the play, documents relating to the play's staging, and documents relating to the critical reception of the play). All these materials will be on the Web site; in most cases you will want the Web version to be more complete so that the student coming to your edition from the book will find richer resources for research. The resources may include the following:

4.2.5. Supporting essays

Each text will be linked to essays written by the editor or a collaborator:

4.3. Preliminary matter

Items like tables of contents and title page will be generated by the manager of the site. Traditional preliminary materials to be included may include the following:

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