Livingstone's 1871 Field Diary

A Multispectral Critical Edition

Livingstone’s Orthography
Although Livingstone writes with a very neat hand, the orthography of the 1871 Field Diary suggests that Livingstone’s primary concern was recording his experiences in a simple and concise manner rather than producing elaborate and refined diary entries. Long stretches of the texts contain few if any additions, deletions, or more extensive cancellations. In fact, Livingstone seems to have generally confined such editorial work to those pages designated as notes, which at times can present reading challenges because of the extensive revisions present.
Figure 1. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary, 297b/116, detail, spectral ratio. A heavily-revised passage: the exception not the rule in Livingstone's diary.
For reasons of simplicity, Livingstone also limits his punctuation primarily to n-dashes (which often shade into m-dashes or even longer dashes) and equal signs (=). He distinctly prefers n-dashes, but he uses these interchangeably with equal signs in places of such punctuation as commas, colons, semicolons, and periods as well as to mark simple pauses in the text. When Livingstone uses an n-dash to introduce or follow a quotation, he places the n-dash directly below the opening or closing quotation marks rather than next to them. Curiously, the abundances of these two forms of punctuation, n-dashes and equal signs, distinguishes the 1871 Field Diary from the much more polished 1872 Journal. In the latter, Livingstone continues to use n-dashes and equal signs as the primary form of punctuation, but simply uses less of each.
Figure 2. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary, 297c/133, detail, spectral ratio.
A representative portion of text where Livingstone appears to
use n-dashes and equal signs (=) interchangeably as his main
forms of punctuation. The passage ends with a long m-dash.
Livingstone does not consistently capitalize words when he should. For instance, he often begins sentences and even diary entries with lower-case letters, and he frequently fails to capitalize proper names. Moreover, in many instances, the reading of a given letter as upper- or lower-case can be rather subjective.
Livingstone often, but by no means always, indents new diary entries and paragraphs. Even on the same page the amount of such indentation can vary considerably. On occasion, Livingstone also indents the opening Roman numeral on a page. Likewise, Livingstone’s spacing between words can be erratic. In general, he places the equivalent of one space between words, but as occasion demands – for instance, to avoid obtrusive printed undertext, to fit in text added above or below a line, or to write around characters hanging down from a previous line – he spaces his words farther apart.
Livingstone emphasizes words by underlining or, much less frequently, double-underlining them. Livingstone’s reasons for using the latter over the former are not always clear. For example, when opening one diary entry he double-underlines the superscripted "nd" in the date "2nd July 1871." Livingstone often underlines African words, but rarely does so when using words from European languages.
Figure 3. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary, 297c/109, detail,
spectral ratio. An example of Livingstone's tendency
to draw the moon rather than write the word.
Livingstone uses both "and" and "&" to connect words and phrases, but he clearly prefers "and." He consistently misspells "receive" and "conceive" as "recieve" and "concieve," respectively. He is also less than punctilious in using an apostrophe with the possessive "s." On occasion, when noting the appearance of a new moon, he draws a crescent moon rather than write out the word "moon." Finally, when breaking up a word over two lines, Livingstone sometimes places a hyphen at the end of the first line, sometimes at the beginning of the second line, sometimes in both places, and sometimes does not use a hyphen at all.
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Manuscript Structure (cont)