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Tagging Havelok the Dane. Digital Humanities Summer Institute. The Wonders of TEI.

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the wonders of tei
The Wonders of TEI
  • Because the TEI Guidelines seek to provide a framework for encoding (in theory) any genre of text from any period in any language, the full TEI tag set is extremely rich, consisting of nearly 500 elements (by comparison, DocBook has around 400, XHTML 1.0 around 90). In practice, most TEI users routinely use a much smaller subset of the full language.
  • TEI Guidelines
  • Havelok the Dane
the problem of person place and thing
The Problem of Person, Place and Thing

Herkneth to me, gode men - Wives, maydnes, and alle men - Of a tale that ich you wile telle, Wo so it wile here and thertodwelle.The tale is of Havelok imaked:Whil he was litel, he yedeful naked.Havelok was a ful god gome - He was ful god in everitrome;He was the wicteste man at nedeThat thurteriden on anistede.That ye mowen now yhere,And the tale you mowenylere, At the biginnig of ure tale,Fil me a cuppe of ful god ale;And wile drinken, her I spelle,That Crist us shildealle fro helle.Krist late us hevere so for to doThat we motencomen Him to;And, witthat it mote ben so,Benedicamus Domino!

defining person and place
Defining Person and Place
  • Place
  • metaphysical places, i.e. Hell, heaven, etc.
  • there, here, are also marked as places
  • rooms in a house (line 157 “hall”) marked as <place> and <thing>
  • if we can find it on a medieval map it’s a place


  • narrator
  • groups of people
  • the general ‘us’
  • religious figures (Christ, etc)
  • reflexive and possessive pronouns not marked
  • all other pronouns marked with <ref> that lead back to the person’s first mention
  • occupations are defined as ‘people,’ not things
  • line 36: “holy kirke” marked as person because it refers to the body of Christ
  • animals capable of speech are <person>; otherwise they’re <thing>

That still leaves thing…

the first 20 lines again
The first 20 lines again

<div n="1"> <l n="1">Herkneth to <ref target="the narrator">me</ref>, gode <thing>men</thing> -</l>

<l n="2"><thing>Wives</thing>, <thing>maydnes</thing>, and <thing>alle men</thing> -</l>

<l n="3">Of a <thing>tale</thing> that <ref target="the narrator">ich</ref> <ref target="the audience">you</ref> wile telle,</l>

<l n="4">Wo so it wile <place>here</place> and <place>therto</place> dwelle.</l>

<l n="5">The <thing>tale</thing> is of <person>Havelok</person> imaked:</l>

<l n="6">Whil <ref target="Havelok">he</ref> was litel,<ref target="Havelok"> he</ref> yedeful naked.</l>

<l n="7"><person>Havelok</person> was a ful god <thing><person>gome</person></thing> - </l>

<l n="8"><ref target= "Havelok">He</ref> was ful god in everi <thing>trome</thing>;</l>

<l n="9"><ref target= "Havelok">He</ref> was the wicteste man at nede</l>

<l n="10">That thurteriden on ani <thing>stede</thing>.</l>

<l n="11">That <ref target="the audience">ye</ref> mowen now yhere,</l>

<l n="12">And the <thing>tale</thing> <person>you</person> mowenylere,</l>

<l n="13">At the biginnig of ure <thing>tale</thing>,</l>

<l n="14">Fil <ref target="the narrator">me</ref> a <thing>cuppe</thing> of ful god <thing>ale</thing>;</l>

<l n="15">And wile drinken, her<ref target="the narrator"> I</ref> spelle,</l>

<l n="16">That <person><thing>Crist</thing></person> <person>us</person> shildealle fro <place>helle</place>.</l> <l n="17"><person><thing>Krist</thing></person> late <person>us</person> hevere so for to do</l>

<l n="18">That we motencomen <ref target="Christ"><thing>Him</thing></ref> to;</l>

<l n="19">And, witthat it mote ben so,</l>

<l n="20">Benedicamus <person><thing>Domino</thing></person>!</l>