Ricorso Housestyle

The following remarks are offered as a rough guide to editing and formats in the Authors A-Z region of the Ricorso website.

Practice & Principle
Authors A-Z: Syntax
Authors A-Z: Grammar
Bibliography: Citations
Bibliography: Pagination
Headword Formats
Special Characters
Sample Pages*
Brendan Behan
Brian Coffey

Dermot Bolger
William Carleton
Edward Dowden

Seamus Heaney
Paul Henry
Thomas Lyster
Derek Mahon
James Shirley

Note: These samples will appear as full screen documents without a usual Ricorso navigation frame. Please click X at the top right to close each document after examination.

In principle the Ricorso website adheres throughout to a distinctive and consistent set of rules for the presentation of biographical and bibliographical information, along with commentary and quotation, all based on a simple grammatical and diacritical formula. That formula arises from the need to present information in single text-blocks with adequate distinction between successive items, levels of quotation included in them, and and editorial remarks upon them.

How this formula works out in practice is a matter of some flexibility, though established practice brings with it a certain range of options which are indicated in the following sections. This page embodies our experience of editing the materials of the website both in word-processors and web-editors over ten years past. As such, it is tantamount to a statement of the Ricorso Housestyle. It is not, however, writ in stone, and any useful suggestions and real improvements discovered or developed by members of the Ricorso Team are sure to be adopted.

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Authors A-Z: Syntax
Records in this region of the Website are invariably displayed in the form of unified text-blocks organised under various headings according to the type of information (i.e., biographical records, bibliographical listings, summary, quotation, and so on), each of which can be reached through the corresponding button in the navigation bar that appears on each page of “Author AZ” files.

The attempt is made to develop an appropriate syntax for each section while striving to condense the records to the briefest form consistent with accuracy and accessibility. In compiling them, much reliance is placed on the semi-colon as a means of presenting data, commentary and quotation in a condensed form. In the leading instance, biographical ‘facts’ placed in the Life record are recorded in a form shared with The Shorter Dictionary of National Biography (UK). Only details such as names, events and matters of chronology are dealt with here, leaving the interpretation of cause and effect, motive and response, largely to the reader to determine.

William Camden
1551-1623; ed. Oxford, but not awarded a degree; became a schoolmaster, Westminster School, 1575; travelled through Britain to pursue his antiquarian interests; learned Welsh and Anglo-Saxon; Britannia sive florentissimorum regnorum, Angliae, Scotiae, Hiberniae, chorographica descriptio (1586), with two further editions up to 1590; also a de luxe folio edition in the translation of Edmund Gibson (1695), published by himself; issued a Greek grammar for schools; became headmaster of Westminster, 1593; Clarenceux king-at-arms, 1597, an appt. that caused some bad feeling; attacked by Ralph Brooke for plagiarism and genealogyical inaccuracy in Britannia, replying in appendix to 5th edn., 1600; issued enlarged edn. 1607; published Giraldus’s Topographia and Expugnatio in 1602; also Annales rerum anglicarum et Hibernicarum regnante Elizabetha ... ad annum 1589 (1615), said to reflect an account of the reign of Mary altered to please James I and at variance with his account given to Jacques de Thou; founded chair of ancient history at Oxford, 1622; also issued Actio in Henricum Garnetum, Societatis Jesuiticae in Anglia superiorem in caeteros, an official account of trial of Gunpowder Plot conspirators; d.Chislehurst, 9 Nov.; friend of Ussher, Cotton, and other notables; Britannia first trans. into English by Philemon Holland (1610); other translators incl. Richard Gough, 3 vols. 1789 (4 vols. 1816); Annales ed. Thomas Hearne, 1717; French and English trans. 1635, 1675, and 1688. DNB FDA

Abbreviations in use are generally commonsensical, or at least self explanatory: b.=born; ed.=educated; grad.=graduated; m.=married; publ.=published; trans.=translated; ed.=edited; d.=died; bur.=buried, and so forth. The very longest biographical entries in Ricorso tend to resort to the present indicative tense rather than the past preterite since this better suits close narrative. For examples of this manner of summation, see files on James Joyce and W. B. Yeats.

In cases where there is pseudonymic information or variant spellings and signatures associated with an author, all such information should be supplied in square brackets after the bio-dates and before the semi-colon, thus:

Andrew E. Malone
1888-1939 [pseud. of Laurence Patrick Byrne]; b. Dublin; critic of Irish literary drama; author of the first history of Irish theatre during the period of the literary revival, and semi-official historian of the Abbey in his day; published The Irish Drama 1896-1928 (1914; rev. edn. 1929); drama critic for The Irish Times up to his death; contrib. The Bookman, et al.; d. 13 April in Dublin. DIL2

This example offers a second point of interest in that the author cited is known exclusively in the literature by his pseudonym and therefore appears under it in Ricorso. If, however, information is added to “Authors AZ” indicating that the writer left a significant trace of literary or social memory under his proper name, such a link would be warranted; and if the preponderant point of interest were proved to be connected with that name, then the entire fire would have to be recast and entered in the "B" folder of the dataset. Outside of those conditions the alternative form of entry -

Laurence Patrick Byrne
1888-1939; b. Dublin; critic of Irish literary drama; wrote as Andrew E. Malone [pseud.]; author of the first history of Irish theatre during the period of the literary revival, and semi-official historian of the Abbey in his day; published The Irish Drama 1896-1928 (1914; rev. edn. 1929); drama critic for The Irish Times up to his death; contrib. The Bookman, et al.; d. 13 April in Dublin. DIL2

- is erroneous on two counts: firstly, the author is entered in “Authors AZ” under the less appropriate of the names available; secondly, the pseudonym is not properly packaged in initial square brackets (as in the example above). As a result of the former error, a link must be provided from ‘Malone, Andrew E.’, in the "M" index - in the circumstances a redundant measure since no one is likely to look elsewhere than under "M" for information on this invariably pseudonymic writer.

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Works, Criticism, &c.
In the Works and Criticism sections, the semi-colon is likewise used as a separator in bibliographical listings, though it also serves also to indicate parallel elements when placed within the publishing-details bracket of an individual citation. Supplementary information is occasionally supplied in square brackets, including brief notes on the contents, series-name and number, or previous publication dates, &c. E.g., under Flann O’Brien, Criticism:

Kate O’Brien, ‘Fiction’ [review of At Swim-Two-Birds], in The Spectator (14 April 1939), pp.645-46; Anthony West, ‘New Novels’, in New Statesman (17 June 1939), pp.940, 942 [incl. review of At Swim; rep. as ‘Inspired Nonsense’ in Rüdiger Imhof, Alive-alive O!, 1985]; Nigel Heseltine, ‘At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien’, in Wales (1939), pp.308-09; Thomas Hogan [pseudonym of Thomas Wood, of the Dept. of External Affairs; aka ‘Thersites’ of The Irish Times], ‘Myles na gCopaleen’, in The Bell, XIII, 2 (1946), pp.126-40 [a witty ad hominem attack]; John Jordan, ‘The Saddest Book Ever to Come Out of Ireland’, in Hibernia, 24, 46(5 Aug. 1960), p.5 [review of At Swim]; Vivian Mercier, The Irish Comic Tradition, Chap. 2, ‘Fantasy, Humour and Ribaldry’ (London: Souvenir Press 1962), pp.11-46; Risteárd Ó Glaisne, ‘Scríbhneoireach Ghaeilge Myles na gCopaleen’, in Comhar, 21, 4 (Aibréan 1962), pp.16-19; Vivian Mercier, The Irish Comic Tradition, Chap. 2, ‘Fantasy, Humour and Ribaldry’ (London: Souvenir Press 1962), pp.11-46; [...].

Elsewhere in the Website, a comparable text-block method is employed. E.g., Bibliography/Journals, where the Table of Contents of a given issue of the Irish University Review is listed in this way:

Christopher Murray, ed., Irish University Review, 27, 1 [‘Literature, Criticism & Theory’] (Spring/Summer 1997). CONTENTS: Murray, ‘Introduction: Stirring the Pot Withershins’ [1]; Luke Gibbons, ‘“Some Hysterical Hatred: History, Hysteria and the Literary Revival’ [7]; Eibhear Walshe, ‘“Angels of Death: Wilde’s Salome and Shaw’s Saint Joan’ [24]; Patricia Lynch, ‘A Stylistic Approach to Irish Writing’ [33]; Shaun Richards, ‘Placed Identities for Placeless Times: Brian Friel and Post-Colonial Criticism’ [55]; Ciaran Benson, ‘The Artist and Society: Krino, 1986-1996’ [69]; Anne McCartney, ‘“Transported into the Company of Women”: A Feminist Critique of Francis Stuart’ [74]; S. J. Caterson Joyce, ‘The Kunstlerroman and Minor Literature: Francis Stuart’s Black List, Section H’ [87] [...]

It is worth nothing that each item listed here will have been transported into “Authors AZ” in an modified bibliographical format to supply the contents of the Criticism section. Commentary and Quotations will have been augmented likewise through a scrutiny of the actual contents, while Life and Works may be similarly amplified or emended on the basis of information given in those articles and their footnotes. All of this is part of the ‘updating’ practice of the Project in regard to nominated sources. In addition, the intellectual thrust of each article will be summarised as a Descriptive Bibliography in the course of a separately commissioned process.

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Authors AZ: Grammar
The attempt is made to furnish all records in “Authors AZ” with true grammar as far as possible. Given the syntactical features described above [see Authors AZ: Syntax], this is by no means easy - particularily when the text treated includes further summaries and excerpts from primary and secondary texts, one nesting inside another. The simplest way of doing this is to arrange the nested material within a corresponding framework of punctuation using single and double-quotation marks or round and square brackets to indicate different levels of discourse. Special care should be taken to avoid ambiguity or confusion arising from the failure to supply closure for any item.

In paraphrasing critical reviews, articles and monographs terms such as ‘writes that’ and ‘remarks that’ or even ‘maintains that’ serve well to introduce sentences summarised or reproduced. This grammar may be taken as a signal that the whole is a report on rather than a copy of the source treated. The treatment of sources by such means itself constitutes a worthwhile form of analysis, though the risk of misrepresentation is real enough. However interesting to the individual editor a given comment or quotation may be, therefore, the overall sense of the source should remain paramount in any record of it.

If many sources can be dealt with in a single sentence using semi-colons to mark successive items (comment, quotations, bibliographical reference), others invite more lengthy treatment and seem to call definite pauses. In such cases, the terms ‘Further’ and ‘Also’ suggests that comments quoted follow on more-or-less directly or arise at a somewhat later moment in the text if not in a different writing by the same critic. Hence, under Sir Richard Musgrave:

Kevin Whelan, The Tree of Liberty: Radicalism, Catholicism, and the construction of Irish Identity, 1760-1830 [Field Day] (Cork UP 1996), describes Musgrave’s memoir as ‘the matrix of memory’, portraying 1798 ‘as the result of a deep-seated popish plot […]. It sought to establish parallels between 1641 and 1798, to depoliticise the 1790s, and to establish disreputable sectarian motives as the sole grounds of state, and especially to argue th case against Catholic Emancipation being part of the Union settlement’. (p.135; cited by Mary C. King, Hewitt Summer School, 1998 [as infra].) Further, Musgrave’s material was ‘written down from oral examination of the deponents’, while informants were ‘personally paid by him for transport and accommodation costs in Dublin (allegedly from fears of swearing affadavits in their own counties).’ (Whelan, p.136; King, op. cit.). See also Kevin Whelan, ‘Origins of the Orange Order’, in Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal, 2, 2 (Spring/Summer 1996), p.28, noting his role in the encouragement of the Orange Order.

The Referencesection of the Author files in “Authors AZ” cites many works listed or excerpted in a given anthology, reference work or bookseller’s catalogue. Here the aim is once again to cast the information in the form of a report. To this end the verbs ‘lists’, ‘selects’ and ‘gives’ provide a suitable means of introduction. In this context, selections from the matter quoted in reference works may inserted using square brackets. Thus Charles Kickham: Reference:

Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: University of America 1904), gives extracts from Knocknagow and Sally Cavanagh; also verse, "Rory of the Hill" [‘That rake up near the rafters. / Why leave it there so long?’], "Patrick Sheehan" [‘My father died; I closed his eyes / Outside the cabin door; / The landlord and the sherriff too / Were there the day before’.] (See further in Quotations, supra.)

Editorial comments on the part of the Ricorso compilers are usually signified by square brackets but in cases where these are already in use in the immediate context (i.e., adjacently or in nesting-form), round brackets may be used instead to signal variation in the level of comment. In the above case, the square bracket is used to mark off a specimen of the poem cited, and the round bracket to signify an editorial intervention. Square brackets are commonly used to indicate a variant or error, as in:

Morgan Kavanagh
1800-1874 [var. 1802; Morgan Peter Kavanagh; M. P. Kavanagh]; b. Tipperary [or Dublin]; prob. self-educated; visited London on literary business, 1823, and lived chiefly in London therafter; issued The Wanderings of Lucan and Dinah (1824) [...]

In bibliographical entries, the square bracket signifies that the date and/or other details give inside it are conjectural. This may be emphasised by resorting to a question mark - e.g., [?1802] or by adding the term for "query" in square brackets, thus: [Qry]. The terms [chk] for "check" has similar connotations. If the reading of a word is conjectural or open to suspicion of miscopying, it should be marked in one of these ways both to warn the website user and to notify the compiler of the necessity for checking. In general, such marks of editorial uncertainty are considered an intrinsic part of Ricorso and not a trait to be disguised: better issue a clear caveat that purvey false information.

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Bibliography: Citations
The basic for of bibliographical citation in all parts of the Ricorso Website follows the MHRA Style-sheet, with some modifications arrived at through practice. In all sections of the Bibliography region of the Website, surname is followed by first name in the alphabetical listing. Where more than one author/editor is concerned, the first name only is inverted into the surname/first name order. (Et al. can also be used for multiple editors.) In the Works and Criticism sections of “Authors AZ”, the order of citation is strictly chronological - though order of publication within a given year is not necessarily indicated - and the author’s is given in the natural order (first name/surname).

In broad contrast to the ‘text-block’ method of display used throughout “Authors AZ”, the Bibliography region of the Website typically employs down-the-page listings. The wide spacing imposed by web browsers in response to paragraph marks <p> can be obviated by using a ‘soft break’, but in view of the inability of web browsers to display hanging indents, each item in such lists is prefaced by the bullet point produced by the line-break code <li> instead. The resultant record reads as follows:
  • Brown, Malcolm, The Politics of Irish Literature: From Thomas Davis to W. B. Yeats (Seattle: Washington UP; London: Allen & Unwin 1972), 431pp.
  • Bibliographical listings in the Works & Criticism sections of “Authors AZ” are subject to much variation according as different levels of detail are included. The following information might be given in a critical listing for Flann O'Brien in 1985:

    Charles Kemnitz, ‘Beyond the Zone of the Middle Dimensions, a Relativistic Reading of The Third Policeman’, in Irish University Review, 15, 2 (Spring 1985), pp.56-72; Rüdiger Imhof , ed., Alive-alive O!: Flann O’Brien’s ‘At Swim-Two-Birds’ (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1985, 1993) [contribs. incl. Graham Greene, Anthony West, Thomas Hogan, Anthony Cronin]; Augustine Martin, ‘Fable and Fantasy’, in Martin, ed., The Genius of Irish Prose (Cork: Mercier 1985), pp.110-20; [...]

    In a further editing session bibliographical details of the collection edited by Imhof might be specified in this form:

    Rüdiger Imhof, ed., Alive-alive O!: Flann O’Brien’s ‘At Swim-Two-Birds’ (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1985; 1993), incl. early pieces by Graham Greene (‘A Book in a Thousand’, p.42), V. S. Pritchett (‘Death of Finn’, p.55), Antony West (‘Inspired Nonsense’, p.55), Niall Sheridan (‘Brian, Flann and Myles’, p.74); J. C. C. Mays (‘Literalist of the Imagination’, p.83), Anthony Cronin (‘After Swim’, p.112), Rüdiger Imhof (‘Two Meta-Novelists: Sternesque Elements in Novels by Flann O’Brien’, p.162)’, John Coleman, ‘The Use of Joyce’, et al., incl. Thomas Hogan [pseudonym of Thomas Wood, of the Dept. of External Affairs; also wrote as ‘Thersites’ in Irish Times], ‘Myles na gCopaleen’, in The Bell, XIII, 2 (1946), pp.126-40 [a witty ad hominem attack].

    In which case, the earlier reference changes to a bookmark:

    [...] Rüdiger Imhof, ed., Alive-alive O!: Flann O’Brien’s ‘At Swim-Two-Birds’ (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1985, 1993) [...]

    Likewise, the earlier reference to Clune and Hurson could be expanded in a separate record to read:

    Anne Clune & Tess Hurson, eds., Conjuring Complexities: Essays on Flann O’Brien (Belfast: IIS/QUB 1997), 233pp. CONTENTS: Acknowledgements and Abbreviations [vii]; Tess Hurston, ‘Suspension of Disbelief’ [viii]; Anne Clune, Introduction [xi]; Daniel Jacquin, ‘Flann’s Savage Mirth’ [1]; Caoimhghin Ó Braolchain, ‘Comparatively Untapped Sources’ [9]; Cathal Ó Hainle, ‘Fionn and Suibhne in At Swim-Two-Birds’ [17]; Anthony Cronin, ‘Squalid Exegesis: Biographical Reminiscence, Part the First’ [37]; Michael Cronin, ‘Mental Ludo - Ludic Elements in At Swim-Two-Birds’ [47]; Sue Ashbee, ‘At Swim-Two-Birds: Readers and Literary Reference’ [53]; David Cohen, ‘Arranged by Wise Hands: Flann O’Brien’s Metafictions [57]; Hugh Kenner, ‘The Fourth Policeman’ [61]; Paul Simpson, ‘The Interactive World of The Third Policeman’[73]; Alf Mac Lochlainn, ‘The Outside Skin of Light Yellow: Flann O’Brien’s Tribute to Berkeley’ [83]; Jane Farnon, ‘Motifs of Gaelic Lore and Literature in An Beal Bocht’ [89]; Steven Young, ‘Fact/Fiction: Cruiskeen Lawn’ [111]; Hurson, ‘Conspicuous Absences: The Hard Life’ [119]; Chris Morash, ‘Augustine ... O’Brien ... Vico .... Joyce’ [133]; Jose Lanters, ‘"Unless I am a Dutchman by Profession and Nationality": The Problems of Translating Flann O’Brien into Dutch’ [143]; Rüdiger Imhof, ‘The Presence of Flann O’Brien in Contemporary Fiction’ [151]. Notes [165]; Primary Bibliography by John Wyse Jackson [185]; Secondary Bibliography by Anne Clune [187; containing listings of critical studies, reviews of works and critical studies, newspaper notices (per journal), dissertations, &c.]; Contributors [231] ISBN 0 9853890 675 5 pb. [x hb].

    - this being the product of a scanning and/or copying operation based upon an examination of the book in question. As a rule, the Research Officer is encourage to scan TOCs and record specimen contents of all works, primary or secondary, that come to notice, while the Informatics Assistant will be charged with specific scanning taskings in regard to nominated journal series in each Project session.

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    Bibliography: Pagination
    Throughout the Website the attempt is made to register full pagination details for all publications when citing them in the relevant kinds of record (e.g., Works or Criticism in “Authors AZ” or Select Annual Bibliography). Where monographs are concerned, the total page-number is at issue; for articles, the first and last pages; for chapters in collections, ditto. Differences between pagination in journal sources and chapter-form reprints can also be noted, as in the Heaney instance cited above. Specific page references should be used for any textual material quoted.

    The usages p./pp. and p/.pp. are used respectively for page numbers and the number of pages. Queries may be registered by means of the usages Q.p/q.pp. where the precise page or pages of an article or reference are unknown, while c.p./c.pp. offers approximation given based on a one-page citation (viz., circa). Conjectural page-numbers and variants may be indicated using square brackets (e.g, pp.19[-20]) while a question mark indicates that the page-reference is in uncertain (e.g., pp.19[-?22]). or that the record is irrational (e.g., pp.29-22[?]). The terms [q.p.] or [q.pp.] serves to indicate that the page(s) are unknown. The term [qry] can be introduced as a reminder to examine the original or another reference source.

    In extended quotations the reference can be marked effectively by placing the page number in square brackets precisely where the sentence is broken by the turn of page. This method is well-suited to copying practices since the number is easily and securely recorded in progress. It only then remains to add to infer the standard round-bracket citation and add this to the final record on the Website. E.g., from Francis Hackett:

    Henry the Eighth
    (1929), ‘[...] if Henry was anointed with holier oil than Rockerfeller-Morgan or an Inchcape-Leverhulme, he pursued power in a manner no less typical and no less instinctive. He was [12] a magnate before he was a king.’ (p.12); Further, ‘Such men are as necessary as door-knobs are to doors. They must [225] be sauve, smooth, hard and solid. They must fit the palm of their master. A soul in such a man would be needed if he had to mould policies, but for one who is essentially a subaltern it would be incongruous.’ [226] (Ibid., pp.225-26.)

    Quotations and citations should not be removed from the Website during editing because of uncertainty about page-references but that uncertainty should be either resolved or marked with appropriate punctuation.

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    Headword Formats
    Boldface type is applied to the first phrase of text-blocks in certain “Authors AZ” record types (i.e., Commentary, Quotations, References, Notes) as providing a clearly visible headword in the monitor display. This also serves as a title and may be reflected in the Table of Contents. Where the record in question does not front a suitable phrase, this can be added editorial before the opening quotation marks. Some editorial discretion may be used in selecting a pertinent brief phrase, preferably with some eye-catching quality and a certain levity if not unsuitable.

    In Reference sections of the “Authors AZ”, the name of author, compiler, or editor(s) of reference works, anthologies and so forth generally forms the first element in the record. As front-element, it is the author whose name is emboldened to form the heading of the text-block. E.g.,

    Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day Company 1991), Vol. 1, selects [...]

    rather than

    The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, ed. Seamus Deane, et al.(Derry: Field Day Company 1991)


    Seamus Deane [et al.], eds., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day Company 1991)

    Similarly in Quotations sections the title of the work quoted should be emboldened if this is placed as headword of the text-block. However, numerous quotations on the Website have been posted less as examples of literary writing than as instances of the author’s outlook. In such cases the opening phrase may serve as headword and should therefore be emboldened. If not, a summary phrase can be prefixed to the quotation and the bibliographical details deferred to the end of the passage. Examples may be found in the file on Sir Richard Musgrave:

    ‘[T]he great antipathy which ever existed between these sects [viz., Catholicism and Presbyterianism]. I am much at a loss to know how they could ever be made to unite. I have been assured that the Presbyterians quitted the papists as soon as they discovered that they were imprelled by the sanguinary spirit which was ever peculiar to their religion.’ (quoted in Whelan, op. cit., p.137; cited in King, supra).

    How United?: ‘The only point in which the papists and the Presbyterians cordially united was, Revolution; but their views and expectations from it were widely different. The former considered it as the only means of recovering their ancient estates,a ndof acquireing a complete ascendancy; whereas, the establishment of a republican goverment was the chief object of the latter.’ (1995 Edn., p.161; cited by Nancy Curtin, review of Steven W. Myers & Dolores E. McKnight, eds., Memoirs of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, 1995 Edn.; as supra.)

    Under Notes, the subject of the annotation should appear in boldface in the front position. If the involved does not supply a suitable head-phrase, this can be often be supplied by editorial revision of the sentence; otherwise, a summary phrase can be inserted invented to suggest the pertinence of the record. Again, it is permissible to introduce some humour suggesting avenues of thought or research. In this context, a question mark might suggest an unresolved issues raised by the information cited, or else a measured scepticism on the part of the editor. The following is from the Notes record on Elizabeth Bowen:

    Lunchtime express: Elizabeth Bowen is identified to as a reader for the publisher to whom Briony sends her manuscript in Ian MacEwan’s shortlisted Booker novel Atonement (Jonathan Cape 2001): ‘Simply put, you need the backbone of the story. It may interest you to know that one of your avid readers was Mrs Elizabeth Bowen. She picked up the bundle of typescript in an idle moment while passing through this office on her way to luncheon, asked to take it home to read, and finished it that afternoon. Initially, she thought the prose "too full, too cloying", but with "redeeming shades of Dusty Answer" (which I wouldn’t have thought of at all). Then she was "hooked for a while" and finally she gave us some notes, which are, as it were, mulched into the above.’ (p.314.)

    When listing details of booksellers’ and library catalogues in the Reference section, the proprietor or institution should be fronted and emboldened,E.g.,

    Hyland Catalogue (Oct. 1995) lists Correspondence respecting the Scale for the Ordnance Survey & upon Contouring & Hill Delineation (1854), 373pp., incl. letters of Larcom, Colby, Griffith, et al.

    Listings from Library and Booksellers’ catalogues copied in the Reference section do not italicise the titles as in the Works & Criticism sections of “Authors AZ”, or in the Bibliography region of the Website. This difference arises from the variable practice in such sources as well as from the fact that listings acquired from online catalogues commonly lose their formatting in transit since MS Notepad, the most efficient tool for this process, is confined to ASCII characters and disregards tables and related formats.

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    Ricorso punctuation generally adheres to the rules of standard English; however, punctuation also serves specific purposes on the Website as regards the creation of unified text-blocks reflecting discrete sources of information. These procedures might be called respectively analogue punctuation and digital (or website) punctuation. Ricorso observes the former practice in regard to the actual text quoted and any comments on it but resort to the latter in effecting the concatenation of such items within a single web-page paragraph.

    Again, the punctuation marks in Ricorso are commonly embedded in material quoted or else arise in the course or summarising it in the ordinary way of reportage (viz., direct and indirect quotation). In other instances, however, the punctuation serves to mark the termination of a given citation or record and the beginning of the next within a wider summary or series of quotations of a given source (primary or secondary). For these purposes the semi-colon is the best suited diacritical without resorting to such relatively arcane symbols as <> - which would, in any case, cause problems in relation to the underlying html source-document.

    The worst effect of the mixed punctuation agendas reflected on the Ricorso website is the occasional occurrence of irrational series such as < .’; > or even < ’).; >. These are barbarisms, and it remains to be seen if such barbarity will be tolerated for the benefit of delivering and receiving extensive amounts of mixed information on a single contents page.

    In the main, the comma and full-stop are used to demarcate the beginning and end of phrases, clauses and sentences just as in standard grammatical practice (presumed to be based on sensible and expressive speaking habits). Likewise, the colon normally denotes a list of items or events corresponding to nature of condition stated in the preceding clause when it figures on a Contents page in Ricorso, as it does in almost every Index title.

    By contrast, however, the semi-colon is very widely used in Ricorso to mark a between items whether biographical facts or units of paraphrase and quotation. Square brackets signify editorial intrusion and sometimes relatedly the insertion of material at a different level of record such as brief summary of a given text or keynote phrases, or else bibliographical information added from a secondary source.

    While nested punctuation is a necessity of “Authors AZ” in many places, redundant punctuation is to be avoided. Punctuation such as the following is unnecessary and irrational:

    D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland, (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis 1912)

    Here the comma before the bracket is clearly superfluous. This should read:

    D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis 1912)

    On the same principle, the first semi-colon is redundant here:

     John Lloyd
    1741-1786; [also Seán Luid]; b. Co. Limerick, a wandering schoolteacher; [...]

    In a similar way, unnecessary nesting can be avoided by substituting commas for brackets in a complex bibliographical citation, as in the following example from Criticism section of the “Authors AZ” record on Patrick Kavanagh:
    Seamus Heaney, ‘The Poetry of Patrick Kavanagh: From Monaghan to the Grand Canal’, in Douglas Dunn, ed., Two Decades of Irish Writing (Cheshire: Carcanet Press 1975), pp.105-17 [rep. in Preoccupations, 1980, p.115ff.]bb

    This, when cited in the adjacent Commentary section, where it serves to attribute a remark that Seamus Heaney has made about Kavanagh, takes the following modified form:

    Seamus Heaney: ‘Kavanagh’s technical achievement here is to find an Irish note that is not dependent on backward looks towards the Irish tradition’. (‘The Poetry of Patrick Kavanagh [... &c.]’, in Douglas Dunn, ed., Two Decades of Irish Writing, Carcanet Press 1975, p.108.)

    It is also possible to produce the same citation placing a the full-stop at the end of the editorial sentence, thus leaving it open whether sentence quoted, thus reflecting the grammar of the original. In this instance, the citation might come from the Quotations section of the Heaney folder, instancing his opinion of Patrick Kavanagh. Viz.,

    Patrick Kavanagh: ‘Kavanagh’s technical achievement [...] is [...] not dependent [...] on backward looks ’ ( ‘The Poetry of Patrick Kavanagh’, Douglas Dunn, ed., Two Decades of Irish Writing, Carcanet 1975, p.108).

    Finally, the whole might be produced in a form that indicates precisely where the full-stop comes or doesn't come:

    ‘Kavanagh’s technical achievement here is to find an Irish note that is not dependent on backward looks towards the Irish tradition [...]’. (Seamus Heaney, ‘The Poetry of Patrick Kavanagh [... &c.]’, in Douglas Dunn, ed., Two Decades of Irish Writing, Carcanet Press 1975, p.108.)

    These examples also illustrate the wide-spread use of square-brackets to designate editorial lacunae. Where an ellipsis is given without these brackets, the presumption is that they belong to the original, or else to the intermediate source of the quotation.

    Note, in passing, the use of ampersand (&) in &c. (et cetera; &c.), which is standard throughout Ricorso. Likewise, ampersand is preferred in cases where two authors/editors or two publishing names are cited - e.g., ‘Brian Cleeve & Ann Brady’ or ‘Faber & Faber’. Allowing for general principles, therefore, flexibility and good sense are clearly needed in the application and use interpretation of variable forms of punctuation.

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    Special Characters
    Special Characters not usually available at the keyboard can be inserted in word-processed documents using the Insert Special Character Command in MS Word or else by copying from the Character Set Menu in Windows. (The keyboard combination CTRL + Numeric Keypad can be used to print the ASCII characters if the numeric code is known.) Dreamweaver does not support a range of characters used by Ricorso, among these chiefly the Irish-language and European accented vowels. Other useful symbols include the so-called ‘smart quotes’ version of apostrophes and inverted single commas and these should be added to Website documents whenever possible.

    Wherever possible, special characters should be added to the original text before installation on the Ricorso Website. When saved as HTML in MS Word, these appear in their correct form. Otherwise they can be added to the document by entering the ASCII code into the Source Document or - more simply - by copying from the following table:
    ‘ ’
    ‘‘ ’’

    It should be noted that double-inverted commas are widely used in the Website to denote the title of a story or a poem, and that these are displayed in the Internet browser as ‘flat’ punctuation (viz., " ") unless the smart version is deliberately inserted. [Versions of the above chart can be found on ‘model’ pages placed at

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    The Ricorso House-style, though provisional and subject to correction, reflects a fairly stable method of record and manner of reportage based on ten year’s logging of a wide variety of sources. Innovations, though always welcome, will be made the subject of rigorous discussion in Project Meetings before approval - though this is not to say that they should not be ventured. Once approved, they will be added to the current Web Page, which itself is subject to emendation and improvement in style and substance. Ricorso Team-members and Website Visitors are equally invited to offer criticisms and make suggestions.

    Besides the issue of formatting conventions, what the discussion of punctuation on the Ricorso site raises is the question of editorial techniques as regards web-editing methods. Although these differ somewhat from those developed by even the most adept word-processor users, they nevertheless involve a good deal of clever mouse action, cutting and pasting, and artful use of global replacement. Much of the technique involved being digital in a very literal sense, it is pointless to talk about it at any extent in such a context as this.

    The Ricorso Project makes provision for hands-on editing sessions when the techniques espoused by each team-member are displayed using a digital projector. The result of this is to develop a kind of editorial cultural within the Ricorso team, and this has proven the most effective way of addressing all questions of methodological consensus.

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