Transcription Notes

The Attic Chest contributions exhibit marked irregularity of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Any attempt to reproduce these and other inconsistencies would render the transcriptions unreadable. The following guidelines have been adopted.

Spelling: Wherever practical, variant spellings have been replaced with modern equivalents, even where authors have shown a preference for spellings that emphasize rhyme, e.g., ‘soul → controul’ or ‘loud → croud’. Spelling now considered American (e.g. ‘favorite’, ‘humor’) has been preserved.

Capitalization: Attic Chest contributors were prolific but erratic in their capitalization. The same word can be found capitalized in one line and not in another. Where consistent capitalization is used for emphasis, this has been retained. Otherwise, capitalization has been modified to reflect modern usage.

Punctuation: Logical punctuation was of minor concern to most Attic Chest contributors, as evinced by the plethora of redundant commas and dashes. Quotation marks are often used to indicate direct speech, but in a manner unfamiliar to a modern reader. An attempt has been made to standardize such punctuation in accordance with modern practice.

Abbreviation: Contributors were consistent in their preference for tho’ and thro’ as abbreviations that, presumably, facilitated speedy writing. The reasons for wide adoption of abbreviations such as glanc’d or gaz’d are less clear. It is possible that this use was intended to remove ambiguity in the scansion of poetry but, without a closer study of reading conventions of the period, it is difficult to reach a conclusion. Consequently these abbreviations have been preserved.

Annotations: Some contributions are annotated in pencil, usually in William Porden’s hand. Examples of such annotations are sequential numbering and provisional titles. Notes that add significant information have been formatted in an orange sans-serif typeface, thus:

Letter to the Editor

Corrections: In earlier seasons William Porden often made corrections to submissions, invariably improving on the original. On the assumption that the edited versions were those read out at meetings, these are indicated in green, with the original visible by hovering over the relevant text:

This is an example of a textual correction. Hover over the green text to see the original.

Lacunae: Not all DRO scans are complete. Minor lacunae such as missing words or phrases are indicated by red ellipses, with a mouse-hover comment indicating the problem. Major lacunae such as missing pages are identified with a grey button.

This is an example of missing text. Hover over [ . . . ] to see comment.

This is an example of missing pages. MISSING

Contributions not preserved in the Gell Collection are coloured grey in the list of authors:

Sonnet to a Friend → Mrs Maxwell

Illegibility: The editors of the Attic Chest were often troubled by illegibility, as noted by William Porden’s editorial comment at the 28 April 1813 meeting:

We recommend it to some of our correspondents to be a little less sparing of their paper, and to lay in a fresh stock of pens and ink as the latter appears to have been too often watered already and their writing requires a microscope. Our friends must be sensible how much the spirit of their effusions must evaporate and the sense be lost while the reader is blundering over the hand, and endeavouring to make out the words.

Fading ink and the passage of centuries have compounded such problems. Every effort has been made to extrapolate illegible text. Where this has proved impossible, such text has been indicated thus:

Illegible text is indicated by question marks. Hover over [???] to see comment.

Authorship: At the conclusion of each season the editors of the Attic Chest invited contributors to acknowledge their anonymous works, and such acknowledgements were compiled into lists of contributions. Unfortunately these lists exhibit major inconsistencies. For example, Eleanor Anne Porden is often identified as the author of pieces written in a recognisably different hand. The names of acknowledged authors have been added as they appear in the Gell Collection.

Fidelity to Original: Some Attic Chest members formatted their contributions to imitate printed text or scribbled notes, or to disguise their handwriting; others added illustrations. With a few exceptions, no attempt has been made to reproduce such embellishments.

Collation: Comments encouraging the use of standard paper sizes to facilitate sewing of contributions into fascicles indicate that the Pordens collated the contributions soon after each meeting, to be placed ‘on the table’ for perusal by attending members. However, the ordering of such collations is often at variance with both the introductory comments and the end-of-season acknowledgements. Some lists of acknowledgements are missing from the Gell Collection, as are many of the longer serialized poems and lectures.

In the absence of author lists, contributions have been sorted on the basis of incomplete internal evidence, and may need to be revised after closer in situ examination of the Gell Collection.