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PlayShakespeare Editions 8 years 9 months ago #1584

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Proper Indentation

From the website's about the texts section:
"Additionally, PlayShakespeare.com is the only place to find Shakespeare's text with proper indentation. When reading and performing Shakespeare, it's important to see where characters have shared lines in order to preserve the rhythm of speech and the iambic pentameter."
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I suppose I could contact the staff directly, but before I do, I'm curious as to whether or not any members might know the answer to this question:

What's "proper indentation"?
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PlayShakespeare Editions 8 years 9 months ago #1586

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This is a thread to discuss questions/issues with the editions on this site.
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PlayShakespeare Editions 8 years 9 months ago #1587

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What we mean by "proper indentation" is to indent the lines in order to show they are "shared" lines. Often lines in electronic texts are broken by stage directions and the line should continue uninterrupted. Another classic example is King John III,3:

HUB.
And I'll keep him so,
That he shall not offend your Majesty.
K. JOHN.
Death.
HUB.
My lord?
K. JOHN.
A grave.
HUB.
He shall not live.
K. JOHN.
Enough.
I could be merry now. Hubert, I love thee.
Well, I'll not say what I intend for thee.

The forum here strips out extra spaces so you see how it would look without indentation. The proper indentation would look like thiis:

https://www.playshakespeare.com/king-john/scenes/778-act-iii-scene-3

The indentation preserves the pentameter by show that the line begins with Hubert's "My Lord?" and ends with John's "Enough." It also demonstrates to actors that the line should continuously spoken by the actors with no pauses. Same with the Lady Macbeth/Macbeth speech in II, 2.
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PlayShakespeare Editions 8 years 9 months ago #1588

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shakespeare wrote: What we mean by "proper indentation" is to indent the lines in order to show they are "shared" lines. Often lines in electronic texts are broken by stage directions and the line should continue uninterrupted. Another classic example is King John III,3:
Quote:

HUB.
And I'll keep him so,
That he shall not offend your Majesty.
K. JOHN.
Death.
HUB.
My lord?
K. JOHN.
A grave.
HUB.
He shall not live.
K. JOHN.
Enough.
I could be merry now. Hubert, I love thee.
Well, I'll not say what I intend for thee.
_______________________________________

The stripped-down version's lineation bears a remarkable resemblance to the lineation in F-1-- the only exception being that the character's name sits above the line (in the Folio it's indented from the margin and directly precedes the line).

I guess the question I should be asking is: With all of the different opinions over the ages as to how to "properly" set up and present the plays textually, does anyone really know the answer to my initial question?
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PlayShakespeare Editions 8 years 9 months ago #1590

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In the example above, (starting with Hubert's "My Lord?" and ending with John's "Enough.") there are 10 beats in the "combined" line. "Proper" meaning to preserve the iambic pentameter.

There is a school of thought (popularized by the "Cambridge Mob") that lines of verse (even shared ones) were meant to be spoken continuously without interruption. Pauses, breaths, etc. were only to be taken at the end of a line even if a sentence ended with a mid-line full stop.

If that doesn't answer your question, then possibly rephrasing it might help.
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PlayShakespeare Editions 8 years 9 months ago #1591

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How does this preserve the iambic pentameter structure? The decision to leave John's "Death." hanging as an unwelcome feminine-ended addendum to Hubert's perfect iambic pentameter "That he shall not offend your Majesty." ( glaringly end-stopped) is exactly the kind of arbitrary decision-making that elicited my question in the first place.
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PlayShakespeare Editions 8 years 9 months ago #1592

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If you think "Death." is an "unwelcome feminine ending" what are you suggesting is a more appropriate solution? The line...

"That he shall not offend your Majesty."

...ends on a stressed syllable. It's perfectly acceptable verse to have a feminine ending, especially if the speaker is countering "he" and "your".

See posting below...
Last Edit: 8 years 9 months ago by William Shakespeare.
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PlayShakespeare Editions 8 years 9 months ago #1594

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shakespeare wrote:
If you think "Death." is an "unwelcome feminine ending" what are you suggesting is a more appropriate solution?

First of all, let me state that I'm not, by way of questioning a claim, attempting to, in any way, cast aspersions on the site-which I love; and many thanks to all who make it possible.



I'm also not pretending to know the answer to what "proper indentation" might be; but it seems as though there are many (as there always have been) ready to dictate what it is. I think this has been damaging, in the sense that it has set up something of a Draconian framework with schizophrenic overtones for the reader--"let's see, which indented trellis should I descend upon, Arden or Riverside--maybe Oxford?" For the actor---who really should be a conduit or element in the process of creating readers--it has been devastating. For both, the process of dictating , from the mainly "proper poetic practice" standpoint, how these characters are acting and what they're doing and thinking--qualities that can be affected by as little as the substitution of a question mark for a period--it has stifled the imagination.

For example--replace the (?) after "My lord" with a (.)
K. JOHN.
Death.
HUB.
My lord?
K. JOHN.
A grave.
HUB.
He shall not live


Now 'interpret', from this altogether different vantage point, what might be in the mind of Hubert, and how that affects not only the actor's ability to play facets, but how the rest of the exchange will develop, and also how the reader might be given to think further as well.
a (?) is fairly definitive, although much less so than a (!)-the johnny-one-note of emotion for editors.

(I suppose you already know that it's a (.) in the Folio. :)
Editors have hog-tied readers and actors, while they have played fast and loose with this stuff for centuries.

If I were directing the play, the first place I'd look is at John's "Enough" , Where are they-where must they move to, who might overhear , who might be coming, how much does John believe in what Hubert's saying?-(back to the (?) we go)...etc. Since Hubert's "perfect" "That he shall not..." iambic ( "perfect" according to the academicians--not me--I think the possibility of a reversed front foot might add scads of interest to the actor's portrayal) stands by itself--10 BEATS it is and that won't change. What's been ignored for so long is that Shakespeare provided for Silent Beats, reactions, and business. But building the trellises will never take that into account. If the stichomythic exchange begins with "Death", then the 2nd & last syllable of "Enough" is...forgive me...too much. It too makes 11. Shakespeare wrote plenty of non-pentameter lines for actings sake, what can be done with 9 beats that move as quickly as we speak--even if WE don't? What's the "proper" solution?...I don't know--but a Kingdom for a Stage right about now.

Maybe I will attempt to define "proper indentation": That which leaves an opening for invention, diversity, interaction, and most of all, Imagination.
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PlayShakespeare Editions 8 years 9 months ago #1595

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I actually just remembered that this particular bit was used as an example in Playing Shakespeare and a quick search on YouTube turned up the precise clip I was thinking of:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=9iLm3BjrG4Y

All that being said, the online editions are an "editorial interpretation", like any edition of the works. That's why we're in the process of putting the FF and Quartos (where applicable) online as well for precisely such comparison and debate.
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PlayShakespeare Editions 8 years 9 months ago #1600

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Willshill wrote:

What's been ignored for so long is that Shakespeare provided for Silent Beats, reactions, and business. But building the trellises will never take that into account.

This aspect has been very much taken into account when putting together the online texts; the majority of us being very active theatre professionals. In fact, I'd dare say that at points where there was a judgement call to make, that aspect has taken precedence over other possibly more "scholarly" options. The justification is as simple as that the plays were meant to be performed, not just ogled at. Also, this is PlayShakespeare.com not AnalyzeShakespeare.com. :)
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