Internet Shakespeare Editions

The Shakespeare Herald

A Notable Improvement

Claudio. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato?
Benedick. I noted her not, but I looked on her.
  (Much Ado About Nothing TLN 159-160)

Michael BestTypically, Benedick is teasing. His young friend Claudio wants to know whether Benedick was impressed by the attractive young Hero, daughter of their host. Benedick pours cold water on his enthusiasm by punning on "note"—he saw her (noticed her), but did not pay attention to her (note her).

We do this all the time. We notice things, we note things, and we take notes on the things that strike our notice. Until recently, one of the features of reading online was that there were no margins to scribble in, no way of adding our own thoughts to those we were reading on the screen in front of us. One of our copies of the first quarto of King Lear, from the British Library, has manuscript notes in it of this kind.

Now this is changing. One of the new tools we can offer those who become Friends of the ISE is the capacity to take (and save) notes as they work on our site. Friends (or clients of libraries that have become Friends) can log in, and can then access a link in our newly-designed Toolbox to permit them to highlight text, then enter their notes in a text box.

Because our works are produced by scholars, and peer-reviewed, the underlying text on the page will be unchanged—but visitors to the site can work online, creating their own web of comment for later reference, much as many of us do with a physical book we are studying.

If you have become a Friend of the ISE, please try out this notable feature.