Symbols and Editing
‹ › = deleted text
« » = interlined text
BOLD = text added
Editing Darwin Manuscripts
We lavish attention on our Full Text transcriptions of Darwin's scientific manuscripts because we're trying to capture Darwin's texts as he composed and revised them. He often later added to his texts as he sorted and reused them for new purposes. 'Later' could mean very close to the original time of composition or it may have been years afterwards. In some cases he evidently wrote with a contrasting marking crayon, pencil, or pen immediately at hand. So the essence of transcribing Darwin—beyond just reading his handwriting—is to clearly record the layers of his writing and his streams of consciousness.
The two most important revisions found in the base layer—that is, in the original composition layer, are deletion and interlineation. We record these revisions by using twin symbols in the running line of text:
‹deleted text› and «interlined text». (Interlining is explained below.) Any portion of text that we have good evidence was a new or added inscription, is transcribed in bold. This is a very simple and unobtrusive way of recording the basic revision process. But besides these three fundamental actions: deleting, interlining, and adding, there are usually other textual features or physical characteristics to record. We do this by means of textual notes: t1, t2 give editorial comments on a text's details and revisions.
Full Text uses a number of defined terms.
Text to be dropped, cancelled
New text introduced, typically by means of a caret (^)
Typically interlined means placed above, and sometimes below, the writing line. But this should not be taken literally, as CD's writing can trail off down the edge of a page and he can 'interline' in the margin. Also he does not always use a caret to interline. The interlining symbol « » captures all the foregoing cases. Darwin sometimes writes a caret without interlining anything. This is the only case where the caret is transcribed.
Represented by bold face text and used for text thought to be additional to an initial passage.
Best used where the writing material changes (ink, pencil, brown crayon), rather than just the size or direction of the handwriting. Added text is frequently interlined: «text». It can of course include deletions.
Block of text inserted, usually by letters or numbers such as (AA) (1), from a verso, another sheet, or loose slip.
Block of text transposed within a single page, usually by bubbles, lines, and carets
After CD used, or else wanted to reject, a passage or a page, he would draw one or more straight or wavy lines through it. No meaning is ascribed to the number or geometry of crossings.
Passage marked off by one or more vertical lines, usually in the margin.
All you need to know to follow the descriptions of a Darwin manuscript is on the following list.
Ms, Mss, MS, MSS
Ms p 1A
Page numbered (1 by CD
One side of a piece of paper
sheet, leaf, folio
Synonyms for a piece of paper
recto (r), verso (v)
Top and bottom sides of a sheet
modified image (-mod)
Designates an image that has been rotated or inverted
e.g. DAR 1: 1-mod
Brown ink is the silent default
Marks line break in a list
(uprights used for page breaks are being removed)