Approaches to Encoding Early Modern Stage Directions




Galliford, Mahayla

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The original placement of stage directions in the marginal space of quartos and octavos provides evidence that stage directions are paratextual material. When the folio format emerged, stage directions were forced from the margin into the text block. Through encoding early modern playbooks, we can honour the original placement of stage directions in the marginal space. Our objective was to create a new LEMDO (Linked Early Modern Drama Online) taxonomy for stage directions using the @ana attribute. Our rationale was that the default values in the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines were not specific enough for encoding early modern drama and that @type should not bear multiple values separated by white space. Our conclusion is that the @type attribute is sufficient for our encoding needs. While it seems like not much has changed, we have a more nuanced understanding of how we encode stage directions and a rationale for our practice, which grounds our work and supports our encoding decisions. My proposed system for numbering stage directions acknowledges that, while a stage direction is paratextual, it is paratext that belongs to a particular scene in the modern text but is not fixed by mise-en-page to the adjacent speech(es).



modern text, semi-diplomatic transcription, XML, TEI, margin, paratextual material, paratext, Shakespeare, stage directions, early modern, encoding