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Old 11-17-2013, 03:22 PM   #61
Jellby
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Originally Posted by GibbinR View Post
Most Gutenberg texts have outer double quotes, and related punctuation inside fragment quotes. I am increasingly suspecting that it would be more authentic (for English authors) to invert this to outer single quotes and related punctuation outside fragment quotes?
Yes, it is a typesetting tradition that British publishers use single quotes (at first level), and American publishers use double quotes. I guess there are other differences, as in whether a comma comes necessarily inside the quote or it depens on the context. But this could be publisher-dependent too.

Project Gutenberg contributors may have decided to change single quotes to double quotes, or vice-versa.

I always try to get the "original" spelling and punctuation, at least regarding the British/American differences. For this, I try to locate a scanned copy from the right side of the pond, and check the differences, if any, from the source text. Then I make the appropriate changes... but I apply my own tastes and preferences too
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Old 11-17-2013, 04:37 PM   #62
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It is the USA practice to use double quotes and within these if a further quotation is needed to use single quotes. I do believe that England may use the opposite convention.

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Old 11-18-2013, 12:48 AM   #63
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In line with Jellby's comment above, a great resource for original book scans is archive.org (The Internet Archive, famous for its "Wayback Machine" with old archived web pages). The majority of their book scans do seem to be of American editions, but there are many many British, Canadian, and European editions as well.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:01 AM   #64
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I have used them as a starting point for some books but they are not proofed and have lots of errors OCR problems. It is a lot of work to make a book from them, particularly if you don't have a hard copy to compare.

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Old 11-18-2013, 02:07 AM   #65
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@daleDe and to the OP --- I am sorry, I should have clarified. You need to look for the PDF scan of the book, not the epub or other text versions. The PDF scan is photographic in nature, so it is almost as good as having the hard copy of the book. Agreed, their raw OCR text is something hideous to behold, but twice I was obliged to use it because I could not find any other text source.
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Old 11-18-2013, 05:35 AM   #66
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At the risk of seeming to answer my own question, I've been following the advice of previous appends, and looking at some of the Internet Archive pdfs I had already downloaded.
Should have thought of this before, but sometimes forcing yourself to write down a problem so that other people might understand it helps to clarify it for yourself as well.
From a fairly quick look at scans of old (i.e. 19th century) books published by British publishers, it appears that at that time the 'double quote outside, punctuation inside' convention was observed by both English and US publishers. I shall have to look at this in more detail, but all of the Trollope novels I have downloaded, going back to 'The Macdermots of Ballycloran' published in 1847 are like this.
This appears to have changed in Britain, but not the USA, on or about the time of World War I.
There is an 1898 British edition of 'The Man of Property', the first volume of Galsworthy's 'Forsyte Saga' which has double quotes, etc. In 1922 Heinemann published a limited edition of the first 3 volumes of the Saga which has single quotes, punctuation inside etc.
The truth is probably even more complicated, and I shall have to look some more, but as a preliminary conclusion it appears that I don't have to contemplate major roadworks on most of the Trollope, James, etc novels I have contributed to the MobileRead library.
Strangely what I may have to do is contemplate changing the two Jane Austen novels I contributed back to double quotes, having carefully changed them to single quotes because I thought it more authentic!
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