The System of Title Citation for Works
Ruskinʼs practice of writing a given title in manuscript is explained in the “Title” section of each Works Apparatus Page and can be observed in the facsimile of the manuscript, if available (see The Plan of the Archive). But Ruskinʼs practices of entitling texts are so inconsistent that the reader would be confused by routine citation of literally transcribed titles. For example, because in some instances Ruskin capitalized important words in titles but in other instances did not, the latter would, when cited out of context, be indistinguishable from first‐line citations; and at the same time, first‐line citation is necessary for texts that otherwise have no titles. Therefore, for purposes of routine citation throughout the Early Ruskin Manuscripts, each text is assigned a regularized title according to the following set of conventions.
- Ruskinʼs own titles for poetry and prose are distinguished by quotation marks. First and important words are capitalized, and spelling regularized, regardless of Ruskinʼs own practice. Generally, Ruskinʼs complete titles are given, except when very long titles prove impractical for routine purposes of hyperlinking; and in those cases, some reasonable short form is substituted, such as “Harry and Lucy,” Vol. 1 replacing (were the rule being followed strictly) “Harry and Lucy Concluded, Being the Last Part of Early Lessons, in Four Volumes, Vol. 1, with Copper Plates, Printed and Composed by a Little Boy and Also Drawn”.
- Untitled poems are cited by their first lines, which are likewise placed in quotation marks, but with only the first word and proper nouns capitalized.
- When Ruskin assigned more than one and differing titles to witnesses of the same work, rule no. 1 applies, and the separate titles are joined by and, thus: “The Shipwreck” and “A Shipwreck”. Hyperlinks to such works are, however, for convenience, named by only one of these joined titles—the link taking the reader to the “Title” section of the Works Apparatus Page of the work in question, where the complexity is fully explained.
- When Ruskin assigned the same title to different works (e.g. there are more than one poem named “A Fragment”; more than one named “A Psalm”), rule no. 1 applies, and the titles (if of poems) are followed by first‐line citations in parentheses, following the conventions in rule no. 2.
- When rules 1–4 fail to establish clarity in particular instances, square brackets are used following the main title to supply
the necessary distinctions. For example:
- Titles that were invented by later editors (e.g., by W. G. Collingwood in Poems ) are cited inside square brackets following Ruskinʼs title, with quotation marks and with first and important words capitalized. The use of square brackets for this purpose was established by Collingwood (Poems [4o, 1891], 1: xxv; Poems [8o, 1891], 1: xii), and the editors of the Library Edition followed suit (Ruskin, Works, 2: xxxvi). Both editions, however, proved inconsistent in maintaining this practice.
- Works that share the same or similar titles but that cannot be distinguished by citation of a first line (e.g., because they are not poems) are given distinguishing information in square brackets. For example, prose works with similar titles, such as “A Sermon,” are followed by the opening words of the text in square brackets, thus: “A Sermon” [“beautiful allegory”]. Similarly, drawings with similar titles are expanded with distinguishing information in square brackets, thus: “Frontispiece” and [Plate] “1,” [“Harry and Lucy,” Vol. 1].
- A date in square brackets following the main title distinguishes between works that share a common title and a common first line, yet are not necessarily witnesses of the same work (e.g., “The Ship”  and “The Ship” [1828–29]).
- When Ruskin assigned no title but a first‐line citation is impractical or impossible—for example, in the case of a prose work, or in the case of a long poem that lacks a main title but that consists of multiple parts, each part carrying its own title or needing to be cited by the first line—these works are given titles without quotation marks, and with first and important words capitalized. For example: Account of a Tour of the Continent. Where possible, these descriptive titles are drawn from Ruskinʼs habitual way of referring to the works, albeit not on the manuscript itself (e.g., in his letters, Ruskin refers to the “Mineralogical Dictionary,” although no such title appears on the manuscript of that work). Another kind of example calling for this kind of descriptive title is a poem that has been all but obliterated, rendering illegible both Ruskinʼs own title (if any existed) along with the first line that might have served by rule no. 2. For example: Poem on Mr. Rowbotham.
- The preceding rules apply also to titles of groups.