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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: June ::
Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1171  Thursday, 12 June 2003

[1]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Jun 2003 15:44:33 GMT0BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Jun 2003 12:44:06 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources

[3]     From:   David Frankel <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Jun 2003 12:02:57 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources

[4]     From:   Dave Worster <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Jun 2003 15:06:19 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources

[5]     From:   Michael Best <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Jun 2003 16:20:20 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Jun 2003 15:44:33 GMT0BST
Subject: 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources

>I'm developing a computer program to aid in teaching drama in general,
>starting at Macbeth in particular.  I was dismayed/surprised that ALL
>line-numbered texts aren't identical.

I wonder why?  Any text with prose is going to appear differently
anyway, and the convention of splitting half-lines with white space and
counting as one only begins in the eighteenth century.

[One answer, of course, is the through-line numbering of F1 as in the
Hinman facsimile - though that scarcely meets your needs.]

The other problem is that, once one has decided to arrange and count
lines in the conventional way, there are many decisions an editor has to
make about short/shared/broken lines - and, like all editorial
decisions, they involve making assumptions about what it is that the
edited text represents.

Some (G.B. Harrison and Paul Bertram) have argued that the
'unmetricality' of lineation represents Shakespeare's instructions to
his actors on how the lines should be spoken.  Paul Werstine effectively
demolished this argument, but his efforts, and those of Fredson Bowers,
to establish 'rules' for the consideration of short lines, do not solve
all the problems.

There are many places where, once the decision has been taken to follow
post-eighteenth-century practice, different editors might perfectly
reasonably come up with different 'solutions' to the self-inflicted
problem.

Try, for example, Tempest, 1.2.298-305 (or that's how it ends up in my
lineation in New Cambridge); other editors have arrived at different
resolutions, and while I'd defend my own, I certainly wouldn't claim
that it is a definitive solution.

If it is, indeed, a self-inflicted problem, one might ask whether the
effort is worth it.  On the whole I think it probably is - and have
argued the case in my edition; but in this, as so much else, it requires
readers to recognise the constructedness of the editions they read, and
be prepared to challenge and question editorial decisions.  In fact,
it's not really any different from any other kind of editorial
intervention - in punctuation or in substantive readings.  I think
Thomas Lahey should be worrying about the texts he is choosing to use on
far more substantial grounds than the presence/absence/acceptability of
line numbers.

David Lindley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Jun 2003 12:44:06 -0300
Subject: 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources

Thomas Lahey asks,

>I think that teaching from a book that doesn't emphasize the meter by
>indenting (Folger does indent) & then counting such lines is a mistake.
>It isn't just completing meter, it's how the thought hangs together
>(e.g. Dell I.7.59 in a "correctly" numbered edition! (oh, all right:
>Have done to this./If we should fail?/We fail?)).

I believe that indented part-lines goes back to Theobald, but I could be
wrong.  The earliest texts don't make the indentations.

>Am I missing something?
>
>So, are texts that don't line number "correctly" identified & frowned on
>in teaching circles?  Should we begin a campaign?

As I understand it, in editing circles the way in which to refer to a
text is by "through line numbers" which were worked out, if memory
serves, by Charlton Hinman in his magisterial facsimile of the first
folio.  These count every line on each page of an early edition, however
long or short the line is, and even if it's blank.  They make no
reference to act and scene numbers.  I believe that through-line numbers
are available for the Internet Shakespeare Editions, but are buried in
the code and not visible in a browser window.

Cheers,
Sean.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Frankel <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Jun 2003 12:02:57 -0400
Subject: 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources

Different editions will have different line numbers for a variety of
reasons:  differences of opinions about shared lines, short lines;
scenes that mix poetry and prose; different source texts (which
lineation for Hamlet?)

cdf

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dave Worster <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Jun 2003 15:06:19 EDT
Subject: 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources

>Hi,
>
>Thanks to all (well, almost all) who gave URLs to texts.  So far, the
>winner for my purposes is the Michael Best site (THANKS) identified in
>Amy Ulen's (THANKS THANKS) email.
>
>I'm developing a computer program to aid in teaching drama in general,
>starting at Macbeth in particular.  I was dismayed/surprised that ALL
>line-numbered texts aren't identical.  The first text I used (Folger,
>Aug 1992) has 13 lines for Act I, Scene 1.  A friend noted that another
>version only counted 12.  I studied the difference & came to the
>conclusion that 12 was the right number.  I'm now using Dell Invitation
>to Shakespeare (Apr 1966) as my source.

Dear Mr. Lahey:

Why were you surprised at the differences among line-numbered texts?
Considering the enormous number of textual decisions an editor must make
in the process of preparing an edition of Shakespeare, the real surprise
would be if any were identical.

Have you taken a look at the Folio version of Macbeth 1.1?  Eleven (!)
lines of dialogue, plus a speech prefix ("All") which you will rarely
see in a modern edition.

>The difference occurs in "Upon the heath."  Is it a line on its own?  Or
>should it be counted as completing the meter of "Where the place?"  I
>opted for the latter.
>
>I think that teaching from a book that doesn't emphasize the meter by
>indenting (Folger does indent) & then counting such lines is a mistake.
>It isn't just completing meter, it's how the thought hangs together
>(e.g. Dell I.7.59 in a "correctly" numbered edition! (oh, all right:
>Have done to this./If we should fail?/We fail?)).
>
>Am I missing something?

The First Folio frequently does not indent (for instance, it does not
indent "Upon the Heath"), so, again, these decisions are often editorial
in nature and will vary from edition to edition.  Although Macbeth is a
single-text play (that is, the only original printed version of it we
have is the Folio version), its meter is notoriously "irregular," and
generations of editors have given themselves fits in vain attempts to
pound various components (like the bleeding Captain's lengthy speech in
1.2) into something resembling a pleasing regularity.

>So, are texts that don't line number "correctly" identified & frowned on
>in teaching circles?  Should we begin a campaign?

To the best of my knowledge, texts that don't line number "correctly"
are NOT frowned upon because (as your own quotation marks perhaps
suggest), the very concept of "correct" line numbers is elusive.
Correct according to whom?  And judged according to what agreed-upon
(HA) criteria?  Whether lines complete the meter and whether lines
complete the thought are matters about which intelligent minds can
reasonably disagree, as the many differences among editions of Macbeth
will amply demonstrate.

You probably offered your final suggestion tongue-in-cheek, but a
campaign to establish a "correct" version of Macbeth would undoubtedly
fail--and that's likely a good thing.  When I teach Macbeth, I show the
students multiple versions of the play: often a strategy which
precipitates lively and provocative discussion.

Cordially,
Dave Worster

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Best <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Jun 2003 16:20:20 -0700
Subject: 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1162 Re: Line Numbers, On-Line Sources

Thanks to Thomas Lahey for approving of the texts I offer with line
numbers conforming to the Signet Classic edition -- but there is an
entertaining irony behind the work I did putting those texts online.  I
did so when my online course required the Signet edition; since then,
however, the Signet has become expensive and somewhat dated, so my
students are using quite different texts. But I'm not about to go back
and change all the numbers. Lahey writes:

>I was dismayed/surprised that ALL
>line-numbered texts aren't identical.

and cites a problem with the lineation of verse in Macbeth. Editors
spend many hours puzzling over lineation in verse -- but prose is even
more a spoiler of neat line-numbering. Depending on the width of a print
column, and the font size of the text, prose will of course create
widely different numberings in different editions.

All this leads to an interesting problem with online texts, where verse
lines will be stable, but prose will wrap at different places depending
on the size of the viewer's monitor. And yes, we could fix the width of
a line of prose, but in so doing we would lose the unique flexibility of
the electronic medium. The solution we have chosen for the Internet
Shakespeare Editions is twofold. The basic way of finding passages is
through the stable TLN (Through Line Number) of the Norton Folio (though
this leads to some oddities in quarto texts). Readers are used to lines
re-starting with each scene, however, so the ISE texts will have line
numbers for each scene -- in which a prose speech, no matter how long,
will be considered a single line.

Cheers--
Michael Best
Coordinating Editor, Internet Shakespeare Editions
<http://www.uvic.ca/shakespeare>

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