Quotes in non-fiction

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Post by Jazbees » December 14th, 2006, 8:23 pm

I'm about to embark on a rather lengthy journey in reading a non-fiction piece as my first solo endeavor (thread here), and I'm curious to hear how people doing such reading have handled lengthy quotes.

With fiction, there are a couple things that can easily indicate to the listener that a quote is being read. One is when the reader changes to a character voice, and the other is the inclusion of things like "he said," "she said," etc., either around or in the middle of a quoted passage. For non-fiction, I don't feel right slipping into another voice for quoted passages, and there aren't always the "he said" types of indicators in the work I'm doing.

The text still needs to flow smoothly, so I'm hesitant to surround every quoted portion with comments like "quote" and "end quote", even though it may be the most clear way to distinquish them. Aside from that, are there any other techniques that people have used when reading quoted sections in a non-fiction work, so that they stand out without interrupting the flow?
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Post by jimmowatt » December 14th, 2006, 11:24 pm

I do tend to slip into a slightly different voice - usually a kind of pompous speech giving voice for quotes.
Also slight pause before and after a quote.
Best way of doing it is to record that section a few times over and choose the one which sounds best to you.

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[url=http://librivox.org/newcatalog/people_public.php?peopleid=75]Jim Mowatt[/url] - [url=http://historyzine.com]Historyzine - The History Podcast[/url]

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Post by earthcalling » December 14th, 2006, 11:45 pm

I've taken a quick look at the text and found two different types of 'quotes':-

Firstly, a quotation from Edison's writing, which definitely needs a clear 'Quote.... Unquote' to mark it as such:-
Mr. Edison supplies an interesting reminiscence of the old man and his environment in those early Canadian days. "When I was five years old I was taken by my father and mother on a visit to Vienna. We were driven by carriage from Milan, Ohio, to a railroad, then to a port on Lake Erie, thence by a canal-boat in a tow of several to Port Burwell, in Canada, across the lake, and from there we drove to Vienna, a short distance away. I remember my grandfather perfectly as he appeared, at 102 years of age, when he died. In the middle of the day he sat under a large tree in front of the house facing a well-travelled road. His head was covered completely with a large quantity of very white hair, and he chewed tobacco incessantly, nodding to friends as they passed by. He used a very large cane, and walked from the chair to the house, resenting any assistance. I viewed him from a distance, and could never get very close to him. I remember some large pipes, and especially a molasses jug, a trunk, and several other things that came from Holland."
Then there are single words or short phrases, marked as if to say 'which they called...'. I would not say 'quote' here, but be sure to pronounce the words clearly, perhaps with a slight inflection.
One of Mr. Edison's most vivid recollections goes back to 1850, when as a child three of four years old he saw camped in front of his home six covered wagons, "prairie schooners," and witnessed their departure for California
The wood was imported in "bolts" or pieces three feet long.
No doubt there are other types. The rule of thumb I try to apply is: do what will help the listener's understanding; do not do anything that will get in the way of the text.

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Post by beckym » January 28th, 2007, 5:28 pm

You may want to consider having someone else record the long quoted passages, especially if they're usually in Edison's voice. That could be very effective, even in what is otherwise a solo work. Think how a PBS history show has a narrator, with voices of the characters interjected by others.

I recently excerpted over 20 pages of Daniel Deronda foreign language quotations, so I know it can be a pain. I marked them with highlighter in my main Daniel Word document, then went back and copied them out to a separate Word file, one for each language. You could do one for each character, if there are consistently repeated characters. Then, you post for someone to help you by recording them.

On the short quotes, I would just do a slight pause, then say the quote with emphasis, like you would for italics, and go on. That would seem the most disruptive to the listener.

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