I want different headers on every page, just like Charles Dickens
June 16, 2008 7:39 AM   Subscribe

My copy of "Our Mutual Friend" by Charles Dickens shows the chapter name on the head every left page, and a summary phrase of the spread's content on the head of every right page. Is there a name for that style? I'd love to know any history of it, why it's not done now, and how I could set it up in a word processor for use in my own docs. Thanks!
posted by largecorp to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think it might be called a "running header," but someone else around here will know better. Anyway, in OpenOffice writer it's possible to make a header (or footer) include the section heading on a page, which is cool. I can't see how to make it reference, say, a block of plain text that you choose (say, a topic sentence).
You could manually change the header for each page of course.
Or, come to think of it, in OO, you could define a "chapter" heading style that is the same as your text style, apply that style to the keywords in the text, and then in your header choose insert>fields>other and select "Chapter" and Name. This should insert the text selected. I've done this with long documents to make each page's running header display what section it's in.
posted by Mngo at 9:55 AM on June 16, 2008

Running header just means a header that appears on every page. I don't know if there is a specific name for these chapter intros, but the left page is called verso and the right page is called recto. You could set this up in a program like Quark or InDesign using master pages, but it would take more tinkering with Microsoft Word since it's not optimized for book page layout.
posted by mattbucher at 2:22 PM on June 16, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, this gives me some clues on what to look for. Boy, that must have been a pain back in the days of handsetting type...
posted by largecorp at 3:18 PM on June 16, 2008

In answer to the history part of your question, it may have something to do with the episodic form in which the novels were originally issued.
posted by hgws at 10:33 PM on June 16, 2008

Best answer: The prolix chapter outlines so favoured by Victorian novelists are, I think, called arguments. (Or, at least, that's what the Text Encoding Initiative Consortium calls them.)

According to Gaskell's New Introduction to Bibliography, headlines have been around since at least the 16th century. As for when the style you talk about went out of fashion, I'm not altogether sure it has, entirely. I've seen books published in the last 30 or 40 years that still use it.
Boy, that must have been a pain back in the days of handsetting type...
The hand-press era had all sorts of labour-saving methods. One of them was the use of skeleton formes. After a page of type had been printed off, the pieces of type in the body were redistributed, but the headlines were saved and re-used for subsequent pages as part of the skeleton forme. If you look carefully at the headlines in books printed in the hand-press period, you can sometimes see this for yourself, especially if there's broken type or other oddities involved.
Many books contain headlines—made up of such elements as running-titles, rules, chapter numbers, and the like—at the head of the text-block on each page; and when the bulk of their content remains the same from page to page, printers sensibly held them in standing type for reuse. A set of such headlines for a single forme (two for folio, four for quarto, and so on) and any other material to be repeated on each page (like box-rules), all ready for new type-pages to be combined with them, is called by bibliographers a "skeleton-forme." .... The pattern of skeleton-forme use is a basic fact about the printing of a book. If, for instance, the same set of headlines recurs in a number of consecutive formes (and if no other set is repeated), the book was printed with one skeleton; but if two different sets recur (as when one set is used for inner formes and another for outer), two-skeleton printing was employed. It is not difficult, in many pre-1700 books and some later ones, to recognize a particular setting of a running-title when it reappears, for each one may have identifying characteristics such as broken types, distinctive spacings (not only within the title but also between its ends and the left and right type-page margins), or type-styles and spellings that do not reappear in other running titles.
G. Thomas Tanselle, 'The Treatment of Typesetting and Presswork in Bibliographical Description', Studies in Bibliography 52 (1999): 18–19. (Freely available here.)

Setting this up in Microsoft Word is tedious, but entirely possible. In Header View, choose the option 'Different Odd and Even Pages' and use this to specify your choices for the recto and verso headers.
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:55 AM on June 17, 2008

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