Internet Shakespeare Editions

4.4.7. Lineation

a) Numbering

Insert both TLN number and the edition line number at the beginning of each line (see 2.7. above for format, and for the numbering of lines that do not exactly coincide with the Folio).

b) Definition of lines of verse

Complete verse lines are counted as one unit, even when divided between two or more speakers. Partial lines in verse are indicated by an attribute of the line tag: <L n="[number]" part="i | m | f"> (initial, medial, final). Alternatively, you may indent the second (and subsequent) speaker's portion of the line with one or two tab characters to provide a visual reminder that a single line is being shared, according to this scheme:

one tab = a medial part of a line when it is broken into three parts
two tabs = the final part of a line (even if it is divided into only two parts).

(In the final XML version these line parts will be distinguished by the tags indicated above.)

NOTE: recent discussions by the Editorial Board and Editors has suggested that editors may choose not to indent partial lines, following recent practice in such editions as the Rasmussen and Bate edition of the Folio. Even if editors choose to follow this convention, however, the information should still be imbedded in the text. In general it is best to keep doubtful verse lines without indentation.

c) Verse and prose

Consider carefully whether or not lines conventionally represented as divided verse lines are best so represented; note that on the Internet the display of indented lines may not be as elegant as on the printed page, so that when there is some doubt as to whether the line is fully metric you may wish to put the speeches on separate, short lines. Valuable discussions of this issue will be found in the "Textual Analysis" in Antony and Cleopatra, ed. David Bevington (Cambridge UP, 1990), 266-70, on the handling of three consecutive half-lines which admit of more than one possible lineation (in which case, you may be well advised to indent none of the three), and more generally in G. T. Wright, Shakespeare's Metrical Art (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1988). The Oxford Textual Companion, 640-65, gives a detailed list of problems of lineation in all the plays; see also its general discussion of the issue, 637-40.

d) Stage directions

Stage directions should be assigned a decimal line number, with the exception of a direction that occurs between two half-lines of verse, or a direction that is inserted by the editor within a line of verse (often an explanatory action or an indication of who a speaker is addressing). In these cases, cross-references to the stage direction will be the same as for the line of verse it interrupts. If a stage direction occurs in the middle of a passage of prose, create a new line for the stage direction, and a further new line when the passage continues. For more on cross-referencing, see Appendix A, section 3.

e) Mislineation

Emend demonstrable mislineation in the copy text, and collate the emendation. Take account of the kind of verse Shakespeare was writing at the time of the play in making your decisions. See Paul Werstine, "Line Division in Shakespeare's Verse: An Editorial Problem," Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 8 (1984): 73-125.

Very frequent mislineation may more easily be recorded in an appendix; we are developing a protocol for recording major variants in lineation.

f) Prose

Prose passages in the modern edition are typed continuously, and occupy one line. Although it has not been a common practice, you may choose to break up a longer prose speech into more than one line, introducing what is in effect a paragraph break; all such decisions should be commented on.

g) Quotations: songs, poems, letters etc.

Songs and poems sung, read or recited are tagged <VERSEQUOTE> </VERSEQUOTE>. Letters and proclamations and other such quoted passages are tagged <PROSEQUOTE> </PROSEQUOTE>.

h) Foreign languages

All words and passages in foreign languages should be tagged

<FOREIGN lang="[language]"> </FOREIGN>

They will appear in italic in the HTML version.

i) Major variations in lineation

In texts where different editions divide lines differently (Lear, for example), or where the original text requires substantial editorial intervention to reconstruct the verse (Pericles), you will be able to record the differences, and permit users dynamically to see the differences between the two versions. This issue is discussed on the page that deals with advanced methods of recording major variants and ambiguities. 

4.4.8. Insertions in the text

Use square brackets only for insertions in marking of scene divisions and in stage directions. Do not place any insertion of a letter or word in the text itself in square brackets. Collate all such insertions.

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