On constructing an editorial apparatus

How do we go about constructing a thematic editorial apparatus in TEI? The challenge is generating a thematic schema that is flexible and useful but  not overly directive or misleading. I’ve been meditating on how to mark up thematic elements in a small (but growing!) collection of primary source materials for the study and, primarily, teaching of the 18c novel–Johnson’s Rambler N0. 4, Hay’s preface to Memoirs of Emma Courtney, More’s Strictures, Barbauld and Aiken’s “On Romance,” and so on. Initially, the markup grew organically as I reread and transcribed:

<interp xml:id=”thesis”>a statement suggesting the central claim or thesis of the text</interp>
<interp xml:id=”valueClaim”>author is making a value claim about fiction</interp> <!– can there be a “type” associated with a valueclaim that can be positive or negative? so that those types can be applied to other interpretive claims, as well? –>
<interp xml:id=”support”>support marshalled in support of a claim</interp>
<interp xml:id=”positive”>a positive statement about fiction</interp>
<interp xml:id=”negative”>a negative statement about fiction</interp>
<interp xml:id=”affect”>a statement drawing on images of affect</interp>
<interp xml:id=”realism”>a statement about the role of realism, the detail, or the individual in fiction</interp>
<interp xml:id=”imitation”>a statement about the power, nature, or role of imitation, of imitating an action or an observation</interp>
<interp xml:id=”idealism”>a statement about the role of the ideal or the nouminal in fiction</interp>
<interp xml:id=”purpose”>the author is making a statement of purpose</interp>
<interp xml:id=”religion”>themes or images of religiosity</interp>
<interp xml:id=”experience”>themes or images of experience and empirical evidence</interp>
<interp xml:id=”romance”>themes or images drawing on romance conventions</interp>
<interp xml:id=”gothic”>themes, images, or references to gothic fiction</interp>
<interp xml:id=”term”>a statement giving specific terminology to the novel</interp>
<interp xml:id=”genre”>a statement or exmamination of the generic features of the novel</interp>
<interp xml:id=”youth”>themes, images, or references to youth culture</interp>
<interp xml:id=”reference”>a statement including a reference to a quote, rather than a direct quote</interp>
<interp xml:id=”quote”>a direct quote</interp>
<interp xml:id=”reason”>reason, judgment, selection, pattern-recognition</interp>
<interp xml:id=”probability”>a statement about the role of probability in assessing fiction</interp>
<interp xml:id=”metaphor”>an interesting explanation via metaphor or simile</interp>
<interp xml:id=”character”>a statment or discussion of characterization</interp>
<interp xml:id=”science”>a statement or image of scientific quality; sometimes connected to discussions of experience</interp>
<interp xml:id=”reader”>an address or reference to the reader</interp>
<interp xml:id=”connection”>a discussion of logical connection; sometimes tied to discussions of probability</interp>
<interp xml:id=”education”>a statement or discussion of education or instruction</interp>
<interp xml:id=”distinction”>a statement concerning selection or distinguishing between many options; also refers to the lack of distinction, or intellectual promiscuity</interp>
<interp xml:id=”gender”>a discussion that visibly invokes gender</interp>
<interp xml:id=”imagination”>a statement, image, or discussion of imagination and fancy</interp>
<interp xml:id=”writing”>a discussion of writing as a profession</interp>
<interp xml:id=”economy”>a discussion of or imagery relating to economic concerns</interp>
<interp xml:id=”sociability”/>
<interp xml:id=”ease”/>

As I continued, however, I noted that a “type=” sub-attribute would be useful; what to incorporate? Adjectival details like “positive, negative, neutral”? Descriptors of tone or use of metaphor, like “ironic, Shakespearean, biblical, alimentary”? The description could easily spiral out of control–but then again, is that perhaps the point? How, that is, do we account for the individuality of a piece, given that our desire to place it in a category is already somewhat predetermined? I then began thinking about incorporating adjectival descriptors along a binary system like this:

order/disorder instead of distinction?
logic/illogic ?? connection/dissociation
masculinity/femininity ?? gender type=”masculine, feminine, queer, normed”

Of course, we can see the problems with a binary schema, too, despite the descriptors, which nonetheless suggest a normative base. I like the last option right now; in lieu of the gender binary, something like <span ana=”gender” type=”queer, normed, feminine, masculine”>. One still notes the binary schema underlying the sub-attributes, though. Solutions?

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