[XeTeX] index' proofmode and ledmac (OT)

John Was john.was at ntlworld.com
Sun Jul 5 20:53:03 CEST 2009

Hello Florian

Well I rather think that if an author - even a long-dead and not necessarily 
very competent or interesting one - took the trouble to write  a text, then 
the first duty of hrs modern readers is to attempt to replicate the 
experience of the intended original audience by reading it continuously, and 
that basic task should be facilitated rather than obstructed by the edition, 
whatever further critical duties are imposed on it.

Some time ago I had a brief look at ledmac and ledpar though as I recall 
these are intended for LaTeX users, and I have always adhered to 'plain' 
TeX.  I think manual page breaks are inevitable in a parallel edition of a 
prose text in any case because one has to intervene manually in order to 
find the best possible point at which to make the breaks so that, as far as 
possible, the reader (in either the original or the  translation) can glance 
across the page to see what the original/translation has at that point, so 
one doesn't want the texts getting out of sync except for a few words.  This 
can't be handled by a computer, I think.  I spent a lot of time gazing up at 
the ceiling trying to imagine how one might get TeX to treat the page-spread 
rather than a single page as its unit for gathering together and 
distributing the annotation, but I couldn't conceptualize what is required 
in a way that one could then convert to TeX macros to do the job 
automatically (particularly if one then wants to separate the two halves of 
the facing page, complete with cropmarks, for production of the final PDF). 
It's even harder if one wants to insist (as is usually the case) that the 
apparatus criticus is on the left-hand page only while any editorial 
annnotation is allowed to be distributed between the left- and right-hand 
pages.  And then, of course, one wants to have arabic note-cues in the 
translation as well as in the original, so that those following the text in 
translation can at least have easy access to the editorial notes with cues 
placed at the right point in the translation.  And one wants to allow the 
\baselineskip to be flexible on the translation page so that it can squeeze 
up or space out to achieve an even page-depth, depending on how well the 
translation is keeping up with the original .  It all seems too complex to 
stand any chance of getting TeX to do the job by itself, however much coding 
one was prepared to introduce.  (But I spell it out here in case anybody is 
up to the challenge!)

Perhaps at least my idea of introducing small-type sequences into the main 
text might bear a little fruit?  You could state at the start that readers 
who want to read the base text (however you have chosen to define that) can 
read through the large-type text ignoring the small-type passages; those 
interested in variant or substituted versions will of course want to read 
the small-type passages also, but I take it that they would not then have a 
smooth grammatical or contextual ride since these passages would disrupt the 
flow.  But if they are clearly down-sized that should not be too 
problematic, and it would at least be a physically more comfortable 
experience than casting the eye up and down between text and apparatus.  If 
there are different categories of small-type sections, you could expand the 
use of double brackets - e.g. [[ ]] for one category, << >> for another (NB 
prefer tall angle brackets to mathematical acute-angled ones!), perhaps \\ 
// for inserts above the line, // \\ for those below (the latter are pinched 
from the British Library medieval library catalogue series conventions), and 
so on.  A list of sigla just before the text itself would allow readers 
quickly to refresh their memory when consulting the edition (rather than 
reading it continuously).

If all else fails, take the editor to the pub and ask hrm to demonstrate how 
s/he would go about getting a quart of liquid into a pint-pot.  When s/he 
fails, tell hrm that this is the task s/he is expecting you to perform......


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Florian Grammel" <grammel at gmx.net>
To: "Unicode-based TeX for Mac OS X and other platforms" <xetex at tug.org>
Sent: Sunday, July 05, 2009 7:09 PM
Subject: Re: [XeTeX] index' proofmode and ledmac (OT)

> Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences, John!
>> I haven't been following this thread, but if you are reporting a 
>> manuscript which regularly has extended passages which for some  reason 
>> you don't want to be seen as part of the main text, one  option which 
>> sometimes works is to put these extended sequences in  the text after 
>> all, but in smaller type, possibly surrounded by  double square brackets 
>> [[ ]] (these should be a single character,  not the two brackets I have 
>> typed here).  The textual note would  just be e.g.:
>> Haec . . . fuerunt _only in B_
>> (Or if this is a frequent occurrence, just state in the preamble to  the 
>> edition that small-type passages are found only in MS B.)   TeX  copes 
>> well with the oscillation between say 10/12pt and 9/11pt text  and 
>> readers interested only in the 'main' text can simply skip over 
>> small-type sequences.
> The occurrence of the extended passages is unfortunately neither  regular 
> nor always in the same manuscript, but maybe we should  consider your idea 
> for some of them. My main problem though, are  passages where a rather 
> long passage is *replaced* by a completely  different text (rewritten or 
> from another unknown source).
>> I don't know if this would work in your case, but certainly all  options 
>> should be tried before deciding that you have no choice but  to inflict 
>> page-long footnotes on the long-suffering reader!  That  is not making 
>> the information easiliy available but rather  _awkwardly_ available. 
>> I've often typeset books with giant  footnotes leaving just one or two 
>> lines of main text (a disease that  afflicts philosophers in particular), 
>> but it's not a pretty sight  and the reader's patience must often be 
>> sorely tried.
> I suppose, that all readers of such an edition will have to bring a 
> more-than-usual amount of patience anyway ;)
> Honestly: This type of text is more aimed at being not so much read,  but 
> consulted, don't you think?
>>  In the case of app. crit. I think an editor can give hrself the  amount 
>> of laxity that is appropriate to the job in hand - if you  have 
>> formulated a principle of presenting the textual evidence and  you find 
>> that that leads to visually awkward results, then you have  the option of 
>> coming up with a different principle that works for  the particular text 
>> that you are editing.  (Hope this doesn't sound  too much like Groucho 
>> Marx...)
> I've tried to talk to the editor about this without too much success...
>> If giant notes are absolutely unavoidable it may be necessary to  abandon 
>> the convenience (which lies at the heart of TeX) of throwing  all the 
>> information at the program and leaving it to get on with  pagination. 
>> You would then have to decide where the page-break  would work, force the 
>> pagination at that point (\eject), and give  the second part of the rogue 
>> footnote manually as a separate  footnote on the next page: for this you 
>> would need to invent a new  category of uncued footnote that doesn't 
>> advance numbered (or  lettered) cues but just appears at the start of the 
>> footnote area on  the page, just like a run-over note in any ordinary 
>> text.   I've  been forced to do that with facing-page editions where I 
>> have to  distribute the annotation manually between the left-hand text 
>> and  right-hand translation pages, but it's a slow and tedious operation 
>> (try it with a thousand pages of medieval theology - I have!), and  if 
>> you alter anything earlier in the text it could completely mess  up your 
>> manual page-breaks.  So very much a last resort, I would say.
> This is more or less this tedious manual work I'd love to have hints  on 
> avoiding or doing more smoothly:
> Ledmac does handle a lot of the special requirements of critical 
> apparatuses automatically (and actually it's brother ledpar does a  fine 
> job on bilingual editions -- you might want to give it a try when  you 
> have job like this again), but it has the downside of disabling  many 
> standard ways to do things. \eject and others don't work as  expected and 
> make manual page-breaks even more of a hassle.
> Kind regards
> Florian.

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