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Examples for Module 6: Primary sources

2. Walt Whitman: After the Argument

This manuscript, featuring an early version of the poem After the Argument, was likely written in 1890 or early 1891, shortly before the poem's publication.
This example clearly illustrates how the TEI transcr module can be applied to verse texts as well. The entire poem is encoded inside <lg type="poem">, containing a heading (<head>) and two verse lines (<l>). In order to reflect the (typographic) segments of these lines, they are further divided into <seg> elements. As will be clear from the facsimile, this short manuscript features some complex editorial traces. Sequential deletions (<del>) and additions (<add>) are grouped into substitutions (<subst>). Moreover, inside the substitutions, the exact order of the editing interventions is specified by means of a sequence number in a @seq attribute, making explicit that the deletions occurred before the additions.


The @seq attribute is a more advanced concept documented in the TEI Guidelines, 11. Representation of Primary Sources. Note how this explicit sequence number is not strictly needed here, as deletions logically precede additions, and only one deletion is involved.
This example illustrates nicely how additions and deletions can nest. In both cases in the example, an addition contains further deletions. The deletions are characterised as overstrike and overwrite in the respective @type attributes. The additions are characterised as insertion, overwrite, or unmarked; their @place attributes recording that they occurred supralinear, over existing text, or inline.
<pb xml:id="leaf01r" type="recto"/>
<lg type="poem">
<head rend="underline" type="main-authorial">After <subst>
<del type="overstrike" seq="1">an</del>
<add place="supralinear" type="insertion" seq="2">the <del type="overstrike">unsolv'd</del> </add>
</subst> argument</head>
<del type="overstrike">The</del>
<add place="supralinear" type="insertion">
<del type="overstrike">Coming in,</del>
<del type="overwrite" seq="1">a</del>
<add place="over" type="overwrite" seq="2">A </add>
group of </add>
little children, and their</seg>
<seg>ways and chatter, flow
<add place="inline" type="unmarked">in, </add>
<del type="overstrike">
<add place="supralinear" type="unmarked">upon me</add>
<seg>Like <add place="supralinear" type="insertion">welcome </add> rippling water o'er my </seg>
<seg>heated <add place="supralinear" type="insertion">nerves and </add> flesh.</seg>
<signed>Walt Whitman</signed>


[1] Encoding of Manuscripts of Jeremy Bentham, University College London Library: JB/088/179, a manuscript encoded and made available by the Bentham Project of University College London (
[2] Based on a TEI P4 XML encoding of Whitman, Walt, After the Argument, a manuscript encoded and made available by the Walt Whitman Archive at
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