Line breaks: general [072]


Line breaks in general are encoded with <lb>, with the exception of verse lines.


The WWP encodes line breaks within elements using <lb/>. By convention, as with the <pb/> and <cb/> elements, the <pb/> element is understood to mark the beginning of a new line.

Line breaks between elements (that is, the fact that an element begins on a new line) are encoded using the renditional attribute: rend=“break(yes|no)”. Wherever possible, this information should be encoded as part of the default rendition for each element. Defaults will be set globally (i.e. outside the individual document) for certain elements which seem especially predictable, and for these the encoder only needs to specify a default if the text differs from the normal pattern. In general, these global defaults are completely intuitive (for instance, the default for <persname> is “no” and for <head> is “yes”). For lists showing how these global defaults have been set, see 164.

Lines of poetry are handled differently, since a poetic line is typically a metrically rather than typographically defined unit. Lines of poetry are encoded using <l>, which encloses the entire line rather than simply marking its beginning. For detailed information on encoding poetry, see the entries on encoding line groups. Within a line of poetry, any additional (typographical) line breaks are encoded with <lb/>. If the portion of the line following the line break shares a line with the metrical line above or below it, we indicate the position of the turned fragment using the renditional attribute: <lb rend="pos(up|down)"/>. For more detail, see 163 on line breaks in verse.

Poetic lines are sometimes broken purposefully, either to indicate a paragraph break within the poetic narrative (which may fall in the middle of a poetic line) or to indicate a shift of speaker (as in dramatic verse). In these cases, each segment of the poetic line should be encoded with <l>, and the part= attribute should be used to indicate that the line is broken. Possible values for this attribute are “I”, “M”, and “F”, for the initial, medial, and final portions of the line. A line must have an initial and a final part, and it may have zero or more medial parts. For more detail, see 203 on overlapping structures.


Example 1. Line breaks in prose
<p>However much I tried, I could not
<lb/>reconcile myself to this course, which
<lb/>seemed both reckless and ill-considered.</p>

Example 2. Lines and line breaks in poetry
<lg type="stanza">
<l>The birds are late returning to their nest.</l>
<l>They really can’t be counted on to know
<lb/>what’s best.</l>

Example 3. Part lines in poetry
<lg type="para">
<l>He solitary wandered, while the maid</l>
<l>Whose peerless beauty won his yielding heart</l>
<l>Condemn’d by lordly, needy persecution</l>
<l part="I">Pined in monastic horrors!</l></lg>
<lg type="para"><l part="F">Near his sill</l>
<l>A little cross he reared; where prostrate he</l>...

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