Emphasis Within Emphasis

Style guides are notoriously negligent when it comes to real specifics. Take, for instance, the case of emphasis within an emphasised environment (roughly ‘italics within italics’).

MHRA are thoughtful enough to prescribe a guideline for such situations:

Do not follow the practice of substituting roman for italics in titles within italicized titles (e.g. Understanding Les Fleurs du mal: Critical Readings); in such cases, quotation marks should be used even if they do not figure in the original, e.g. Understanding ‘Les Fleurs du mal’: Critical Readings.

[MHRA Style Guide, 2nd edn, §5.5]

However, that is all the help you’ll get. No word on what to do in the following circumstances:

In my dissertation, I have decided to treat each element within the title (i.e. title, subtitle, and subsubtitle) independently: if the entirety of one such element is a title or other phrase requiring emphasis, I will contain the entire titular element in an \emph{} tag. That definition cleverly leaves out punctuation: if a title or subtitle consists of multiple titles separated only by commas and spaces, the editors have themselves to blame and I will italicise the entire lead title or subtitle. Another exception is titles consisting of an original author’s name followed by a colon and the name of the work here edited; in these, I enclose the name of the work in single quotes. After all, the author here is not a title per se, and the colon is usually my own addition.

Wanke, Karl (ed.). 1925. \emph{Die ‘Lais’ der Marie de France}, Bibliotheca normannica, 3 (Halle: Niemeyer)

Chambers, R.K. 1912. \emph{Widsith: A Study in Old English Heroic Legend} (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)

Brooks, Kenneth R. 1961. \emph{‘Andreas’ and ‘The Fates of the Apostles’} (Oxford: Clarendon)

Lagerholm, Åke (ed.). 1927. \emph{Drei ‘lygisǫgur’: Egils saga einhenda ok Ásmundar berserkjabana, Ála flekks saga, Flóres saga konungs ok sona hans} (Halle: Niemeyer)

Moreschini, Claudio (ed.). 2005. \emph{Boethius: ‘De consolatione Philosophiae’, Opuscula theologica,} 2nd edn (Munich and Leipzig: Saur)

Leslie, R.F. (ed.). 1961. \emph{Three Old Englies Elegies: The Wife’s Lament, The Husband’s Message, The Ruin} (Manchester: Manchester University Press)

Lacy, Norris J. (ed. and trans.). 1989. \emph{Béroul: ‘The Romance of Tristan’}, Garland Library of Medieval Literature, A36 (New York and London: Garland)

Fontaine, Jacques (ed.). 1960. \emph{Isidore de Seville: ‘Traité de la nature’}, Bibliothèque de l’École des hautes études Hispaniques, 28 (Bordeaux: Féret)

Hamilton, Hans Claude (ed.). 1856. \emph{‘Historia rerum Anglicarum’ Willelmi Parvi, Ordinis Sancti Augustini canonici regularis in Cœnobio beatæ Mariæ de Newburgh in agro Eboracensi}, 2 vols (London: [English Historical] Society)

Jiroušková, Lenka. 2006. \emph{Die ‘Visio Pauli’: Wege und Wandlungen einer orientalischen Apokryphe im lateinischen Mittelalter}, ed. by Paul Gerhard Schmidt, Mittellateinische Studien und Texte, 34 (Leiden and Boston: Brill)

Wyatt, A.J., and R.W. Chambers (eds). 1915. \emph{Beowulf: With the ‘Finnsburg Fragment’} (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)

An odd case is Fulk, Bjork, and Niles’s revision of Klaeber’s edition of Beowulf, since even the original work had two titles within its title: ‘Beowulf’ and ‘The Fight at Finnsburg’. Since that enumeration of titles has now become a title in its own right, absolute consistency demands

Fulk, R.D., Robert E. Bjork, and John D. Niles (eds). 2008. \emph{Klaeber’s ‘\,‘Beowulf’ and ‘The Fight at Finnsburg’\,’}, 4th edn (Toronto, ON, Buffalo, NY, and London: University of Toronto Press)

(‘\,’ denotes a narrow space.)

posted by paul on 28 jan mmxii at 20:00 EST
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