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Internet Shakespeare Editions

Advanced display of complex variants

1. Dynamic relineation

In some texts (Lear is a notable example), variant versions of the text have different lineations, sometimes of quite long passages. In others, an editor may choose to relineate prose, or (as in the case of Pericles, for example) differ from the printed version in the arrangement of verse lines. In their modern text, editors may choose to provide readers with an opportunity, in each case, to view the variant lineation. The selected passage will appear with tabs that permit dynamic switching between the views.

Line breaks in the modern text are created by the tag <L n="[number]" />. The alternative lineation can be indicated by any alternative line tag ("milestone"). All that is needed is to add in the appropriate place in the collation file the information about the alternative milestones. Here is the entry that enables a switch between Quarto (QLN) and Folio (TLN) lines:

  <ln qln="106-110"/>
  <use t="tln">Folio</use>

To switch between verse and prose, insert a "milestone" in the text (TLNs and QLNs are examples of milestones), defining it as "prose" at the beginning of the speech:

<L n="12" /><TLN n="519" /><MS n="1" t="prose" /><S><SP norm="Goneril">Goneril</SP>

Then, in the collations, indicate the TLN or QLN range. In this instance the switch is from a Folio to Quarto text, where the passage appears in prose in the Quarto:

  <ln tln="519-523"/>
  <use milestone ="prose" />

It is possible to have multiple tabs for relineations, In this instance from Lear the original is in prose, the editor's modern text is in verse, but it differs from the influential relineation from Johnson's edition:

<ln tln="2554-2562" />
<reference t="qln" n="2331-2337"/>
<use milestone="prose" />
<use milestone="Johnson" />

The <reference> tag provides information about line numbering for the convenience of the editor; it performs no other function.

2. Marking additional passages

Where an editor wishes to add passages from a source other than the copy text, the additions will appear in a format that makes their distinct origin clear.

The additional material is inserted by using <iembed> protocols, with the addition of tags that identify the source of the addition.

<add wit="Quarto 1"><iembed component="text" href="fragment/doc_Lr_Q1M#qln-2501-2502"/></add>

<add wit="Quarto 1"><iembed component="text" href="fragment-noline/doc_Lr_Q1M#tln-2783.4-2784x"/>

The result will distinguish the added passages by displaying them with a light gray background. 

3. Variants of especial interest or significance

Where there are multiple texts, it is possible for the editor to highlight variants of special interest in such a way that they will be flagged even when variants are not being displayed. The variant will appear when the mouse is hovered over the reading in the modern text when annotations are visible (the default), especially if it is an "editor's choice," an "extended" text, or (gasp) a conflated text. An example might be the difference between Lear Q1, where Goneril asks Regan "Pray let's hit together," and the Folio's less aggressive "Pray let's sit together." in either extended text, the alternative is interesting enough in terms of a critical approach to character and the relationship between the sisters that readers will benefit from an awareness of the variant. The "hover" display of the variant is signaled in the collations using the "rend" attribute:

<ln tln="43"/>
<lem resp="Q1">first</lem>
<rdg resp="F1" rend="hover">fast</rdg>
<rdg resp="Pope" omit="true"></rdg>
<rdg resp="Halio">fast</rdg>

An editor may choose the same technique for an emendation where the original is of sufficient interest that it might be flagged. From Henry V, the obscure original as the Hostess describes Falstaff's death: "a Table of greene fields" might be made to appear on mouseover where the modern text records Theobald's emendation: "a babbled of green fields."

4. Words of irreducible ambguity: animation

Very occasionally, a word in the copy text will present a case where there is no clear modern spelling for the original. This issue is not a matter of textual variants, but of textual ambiguity. A well-known instance is the ambiguous speech prefix in the Folio text of Lear, "Cor." Editors may choose Cornwall, or Cordelia (with clear ideological implications in any choice), or antimate between the two to leave the ambiguity evident for the reader. Another instance occurs in All's Well That Ends Well, where the word "meinie" can potentially be modernized by two quite different words, "mane," or "mein."

To create an animated display of this ambiguity, the editor will use the tag <ambig></ambig>, with the alternatives indicated by sequential uses of the <rdg></rdg> tag:

<L n="18"/><TLN n="2520"/><S><SP norm="Clown">Clown</SP>
Faith, sir, a has an English <ambig><rdg>mane</rdg><rdg>mien</rdg><rdg>meinie</rdg></ambig>, but
his <TLN n="2521"/>phys'nomy is more hotter in France than there.</S>