[whatwg] <p> in <dialog>

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com
Thu Dec 21 14:04:37 PST 2006

Michel Fortin wrote:

> The current spec only allows <dt> and <dd> inside <dialog>, so the  
> markup for something like this would require closing <dialog> each  
> time an action paragraph is added and reopening it afterward.  
> Wouldn't it make more sense to allow regular paragraphs in <dialog>  
> for situational information and action descriptions?

Maybe. Or perhaps the narrator/stage descriptions should be part treated
as another interlocutor. Or perhaps we need an element (<action />,
<stage-direction />, <narration /> ?) for such descriptions; which
should be capable of being both block and inline. You can have short
stage descriptions actually intermixed with dialogue. Here's a good
example from Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan:

> MRS. ERLYNNE.  [With a note of irony in her voice.]  To bid good-bye
> to my dear daughter, of course.  [LORD WINDERMERE bites his under lip
> in anger.  MRS. ERLYNNE looks at him, and her voice and manner become
> serious.  In her accents at she talks there is a note of deep tragedy.
> For a moment she reveals herself.]  Oh, don’t imagine I am going to
> have a pathetic scene with her, weep on her neck and tell her who I
> am, and all that kind of thing.  I have no ambition to play the part
> of a mother.  Only once in my life like I known a mother’s feelings.
> That was last night.  They were terrible - they made me suffer - they
> made me suffer too much.  For twenty years, as you say, I have lived
> childless, - I want to live childless still.  [Hiding her feelings
> with a trivial laugh.]  Besides, my dear Windermere, how on earth
> could I pose as a mother with a grown-up daughter?  Margaret is
> twenty-one, and I have never admitted that I am more than twenty-nine,
> or thirty at the most.  Twenty-nine when there are pink shades, thirty
> when there are not.  So you see what difficulties it would involve.
> No, as far as I am concerned, let your wife cherish the memory of this
> dead, stainless mother.  Why should I interfere with her illusions?  I
> find it hard enough to keep my own.  I lost one illusion last night.
> I thought I had no heart.  I find I have, and a heart doesn’t suit me,
> Windermere.  Somehow it doesn’t go with modern dress.  It makes one
> look old.  [Takes up hand-mirror from table and looks into it.]  And
> it spoils one’s career at critical moments.


Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

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