William Shakespeare/Talk

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I'm not sure I like having two separate pages for each play, one for the text and one for commentary. I'm experiementing with a different approach. Take a look at Macbeth and let me know what you think. -- STG

I just wanted to thank the folks who have undertaken to post Shakespeare's works on Wikipedia. Very cool. I didn't find any commentary for Hamlet, but I can see where the single-page format used by Midsummer Night's Dream could be more convenient for many readers. Maybe a good thing would be a Perl script that follows the links from a Wiki page out to a maximum depth, and puts the result into a single text file? Maybe this could also be done in CGI, as an additional Wiki feature. -- WillWare

In reading the Christopher Marlowe talk page, and seeing yet another "who really wrote Shakespeare's plays" theory, I was wondering whether there's a good book on the subject. I've heard Francis Bacon and Ben Jonson credited as well. Would welcome suggestions for further reading. --RjLesch

I would not expect to find the complete text of a literary work in an encyclopedia. Would it not be better to link to an external source? The task of making public domain text available online rests with Project Gutenberg. -- Bob Waller

You wouldn't find it in an encyclopedia because they're generally printed on paper -- space considerations apply. "Wikipedia is not paper". I'd say keep the texts in. --Paul Drye

I say keep them too (especially since I spend a lot of time on Macbeth), but I won't be adding any more in the near future. Until our software evolves to make better use of primary text, I think importing primary sources isn't particularly useful. -- STG

Actually, now that I notice that there are all these plays in here, I'm rather strongly opposed to keeping them inside Wikipedia itself. I know Wikipedia isn't paper, but still, the complete works of Shakespeare would be how many megabytes? And if Shakespeare's stuff gets to be in here, we'd have to let Chaucer and Dickens and all the rest of his classical-literature public domain buddies in as well. This way lies madness; Wikipedia is not Project Gutenberg! When I click a link to an encyclopedia article about Midsummer Night's Dream (to pick a random example), I want to find historical context and literary analyses and other such information. I don't need yet another unannotated copy of the plain text. - Bryan Derksen
Yep. This is a fairly old discussion, and I've since come to the same opinion as you, Bryan. Storage space isn't a serious consideration (according to Jimbo, who provides it), but there's really no advantage to importing all the classics when a simple link to PG would do. --STG
My own opinion has softened slightly too, after looking around a bit more. Entries like Macbeth look quite nicely done, in fact; something like that is not unweildly to navigate and should lend itself well to annotations. I've got no problem with full texts being included in that manner, on the understanding that there should eventually be more encyclopedic annotations added to it over time. However, I've still followed through on my threat to delete Midsummer Night's Dream, since that was just an ugly unformatted text dump and had a copyright restriction placed on it besides (still don't know if scanning a public domain book is enough of a change to make it a freshly copyrightable "derivative work," though). Hope this isn't being too bold even for Wikipedia. :) -BD

Oh, I forgot to mention, even though storage space is not an issue, there's still the matter of people on slow or by-the-byte metered internet access clicking on a link to what they think will be a three or four page article and instead getting 200K of text coming down the line. I know broadband is becoming ever more popular, but there could be users browsing on a wireless connection or PDA or something like that who would be put off by such a surprise. Just another angle to the issue which came to mind. -BD


I'm not so happy about every king having a note tacked on about the Shakespearean play of the same name though. Perhaps people who want to add articles on these plays could call them Henry I by Shakespeare, Macbeth by Shakespeare,etc. -- Derek Ross

I'm fine by that, the only reason I added those notes was because the links already existed on the Shakespeare page. Feel free to remove them and change the links. -BD