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date: 20 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

That typography is a form of embodiment is obvious. Like writing, it offers material markers for sounds. On the early modern stage, punctuation marks were given personality, either adjectivally—as when Marston’s Antonio tells his beloved, ‘we’ll point [punctuate] our speech / With amorous kissing, kissing commas’—or physically, as when a character is named Dash in Lording Barry’s Ram Alley (Q 1611). For us today, etcetera is an abbreviation indicating the continuation of properties in a list. But in the early modern period etcetera embodied a variety of things: acoustic, physiological, temporal, rhetorical, grammatical. Only one of its multiple uses survives today: the abbreviation. This essay explores the complex history of this creatively used abbreviation.

Keywords: punctuation, abbreviation, rhetoric, typography, Elizabethan drama

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