Talk:William Inge

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In-paragraph list of titles that contain commas[edit]

The word 'his' is useful in the list 'Inge's Come Back, Little Sheba, his Bus Stop, and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.' Without it, it is difficult for the casual reader, who may not be familiar with Inge's works, to tell whether 'Come Back, Little Sheba, Bus Stop,' refers to two plays, or three.

Therefore I am reverting to include it. Tex

I found out the Really Correct way to separate items in a list like this, and I am changing the article to implement it. Tex 14:16, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

The proper grammar here is really quite simple: Each title is underlined, or put in quotations, (which is the way a title must be written in any case. The commas are inserted between them, viz: "Come Back, Little Sheba," "Bus Stop," and "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs." 23:26, 20 May 2006 (UTC) Allen Roth (with thanks for a good private school education).

This has been gone through before. Tex was concerned that some readers would not notice that the commas separating the titles were not italicized and not formatted as links. Commas are fine; semicolons are fine. Quotation marks (instead of italics), and putting the commas inside the quotation marks (or inside the italics), are contrary to Wikipedia style. President Lethe 04:45, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes, the use of underlining, never quotation marks, for the title of a book or play was taught back before italics were readily available to the student. In those days it was necessary to have material professionally typeset to use italics for a title. So students were taught to use underlining as a substitute. Now, of course, the real thing is widely available.

The use of quotation marks for titles was, and still is, for shorter published works like poems, short stories, song titles and even episodes of TV shows.

My reference to the use of semicolons in a complex list of items which themselves contain commas came from Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers, mysteriously published by Prentice-Hall in 1990. See part 25b. Given the apparent interest, I decided to check my old public junior high school grammar book, whose title I can't cite because the cover fell off long ago. Sure enough, it mentions this use of the semicolon as well. So it is as Tony Randall said, if you only learned everything you were supposed to know in high school, people would think you were very well educated. I think Tony went to public schools, though.

Other things they teach in public schools are that viz. means "namely" and not "for example", and that parentheses are used in pairs. I am certain that Inge would have known these facts, since he had a Kansas public school education. He probably wouldn't have been acquainted with the facts of evolution, though. Tex 14:20, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

While underscore is preferred for titles of longer works, the use of quotation marks is acceptable for any title at all. Italics are acceptable as well, but are in no way preferred to either quotation marks or underlining. Semicolons are never permissible in separating a list of items, even when there may be confusion engendered when some of those items have commas in them; semicolons are only to be used in separating complete sentences from each other. And, yes, one can obtain a good education in a public school; I never implied otherwise, but merely expressed affection for my school obliquely. In any event, grammar alone cannot save this mediocre article. I noticed a discussion of grammar on this Talk page, and corrected some mistakes. 06:57, 26 May 2006 (UTC) Allen Roth

Every time you bring this up, I check a different reference work. This time it's my wife's copy of the Chicago Manual of Style (14th edition). It agrees with my position on both the style of titles, and the use of semicolons in a list, in no uncertain terms. Perhaps I am too skeptical, but given that I have found that two major reference works agree on both topics, it is difficult for me to accept bald assertions to the contrary.
As for the article, if you find it mediocre, please edit and improve it. Tex 14:10, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Hello, All.
I hope that this won't degenerate into bickering.
But, regardless of styles elsewhere, we are writing at Wikipedia, where the style manual puts these play titles in italics.
"Semicolons are never permissible": it depends on who's granting or denying permission. :-) The three most populous cities in the U.S. are New York, New York; Los Angeles, California; and Chicago, Illinois—rather than New York, New York, Los Angeles, California, and Chicago, Illinois. The last three days of the month will be Monday, the 29th; Tuesday, the 30th; and Wednesday, the 31st. Capitals in the U.K. include London, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Cardiff, Wales; and Belfast, Northern Ireland.
There is a logical argument that semicolons are unnecessary in separating three titles like these, because, whether the titles are in quotation marks or underlined or italicized, the quotation marks or different type faces make it clear which commas belong to titles and which commas separate titles. This is consistent with Wikipedia's style guide.
Also logical and 'Wikipedia-O.K.' here is using semicolons.
President Lethe 19:20, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Sorry if I was waxing wroth. Your point is, as always, well taken. Here's a handy link to the Manual of Style whereof you speak. Tex 02:29, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm not the kind of person who will carry this sophistry on ad infinitum, so this will be my last comment; I don't feel that I have to have the last word. The above examples are punctuated incorrectly. In any list of items, they are separated by commas, even if some of the items on the list have commas between their words. If an ambiguity is created thereby (as in the list of Inge's plays in this article), it is dealt with accordingly (such as separating the items by quotation marks, when appropriate, or adding an appropriate word of explanation). The purpose of a semicolon is to separate two independent sentences which one wants to juxtapose because of their relation to each other, rather than simply writing them sequentially: e.g. "One can obtain a good education in a public school; I never implied otherwise." It is used to indicate a logical relation between two statements and, for stylistic reasons, to create a rhythm between them. Consequently, any phrase on either side of a semicolon must be a complete sentence, and gramatically correct. Style guides are not dispositive; there are as many style and grammar guides as there are people who write them. The MLA Style Manual was the one I studied, but one's own intuition and judgment should control. If you think about it logically, you will see that I am correct. The semicolon was invented for a reason, and that reason was not to clarify ambiguities in a list of items, by replacing a comma. That would not always work: Consider a list of plays with one play "Vengeance is Mine; I Shall Repay." Of what use would the semicolon be in such an instance? It would only lead to more confusion. Its purpose is primarily stylistic, for the reasons outlined above. This is the first time I have ever been involved in so pedantic a discussion in Wikipedia; I typically sigh when I come across an endless debate on a Talk Page (although I have frequently learned more about the topic than in the article itself), which this will clearly become if I reply again. My graduate degrees are in History of Physics and in Law, so I am acutely sensitive to issues of clarity and analysis. I enjoy Wikipedia as a resource, and I've contributed to articles such as Bloodhound, History of the Jews in Hungary and Vladimir Horowitz. And I must admit that I don't pay very close attention to my grammar when contributing, relying on habit. Poor Mister Inge! Little did I know in what bog I would descend when I accessed his Talk Page for more information. But I will tread very carefully here from now on in matters of style rather than of substance, as differences of opinion here are not capable of resolution, and quickly degenerate into sophistry, ad hominem attacks, etc. Consult other style guides, consider the reasoning behind the style book's rule and use your own judgment. 07:35, 27 May 2006 (UTC) Allen Roth P.S.: I would rewrite the sentence cited as follows: "The three most populous cities in the U.S. are New York, New York, Los Angeles, California and Chicago, Illinois." There is no comma between the penultimate member of a list and the last member. And I apologize to all for my sometimes arrogant style. I suffer from impatience occasionally.

Regardless of whether to include an Oxford comma, the comma after "California" is necessary because the commas around the states function as marks of parenthesis: this is clear in the rewritten form "New York (New York), Los Angeles (California)[,] and Chicago (Illinois)". Including only half a mark of parenthesis can be as confusing in English as it is in mathematics.
Semicolon usage: consult most 20th- and 21st-century English-language dictionaries, guides to English usage, and English-language style manuals for specific publications and publishing houses.
President Lethe 15:03, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
"Consult other style guides, consider the reasoning behind the style book's rule and use your own judgment." That's what I thought I did. I looked at first one and then another style guide, their reasoning seemed perfectly logical to me, my judgment was to accept their views. But it turns out I still got it wrong! I should have made up the rules as I went along, and justified it ex post facto. Certainly this procedure has advantages; they are the same as those of theft over honest toil.
But I digress. I meant to say that when I get a lawyer to complain about sophistry and pedantry, it is clear I have gone over the top. And all because I had difficulty telling a Roman comma from an italic comma. Oh, curse these poor, tired, old eyes! It even looks as if I see the legal jargon "dispositive" above, when "prescriptive" must be what it says. I ruined them, getting my lone miserable PhD in chemistry, which made me acutely sensitive to issues of beer-drinking, and girl-chasing.
Tex 02:11, 29 May 2006 (UTC)


Very good rewrite from Pepso! The additional information is to the point and well-written.

Tex 20:19, 31 May 2006 (UTC)\

Thanks, Tex. More to come when I have the opportunity. I was one of the few who saw Inge's memorable Natural Affection when ran on Broadway for only 36 performances. Quite powerful. I'm glad I was there. Pepso 20:32, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Picnic music[edit]

Copied by (John User:Jwy talk) 23:34, 25 April 2007 (UTC) from its misplaced location in the article:

In ACT II, the famous sensuous dance scene is written to have the music tunes coming from Ernie Higgins,a neighbor, who is rehearsing for the Labor Day dance. Though the movie version has its well known "Moonglow", "there is no official documentation" of Ernie's tunes according to IBTDB site. Surely, somebody who saw the original show might remember the tunes, especially a Broadway theater buff. What were the tunes that Ernie played in the original stage "Picnic" of 1953? 18:37, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

If the answer is found, its probably more appropriate if it were placed in Picnic (play). (John User:Jwy talk) 23:38, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Fair use[edit]

According to Wikipedia fair use policy, images of the covers of books can only be used "to illustrate an article discussing the book in question". Perhaps it might also be used in an article about the author of the book. But I don't think the use is a fair one on this article. GlassFET 15:09, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

All Fall Down[edit]

Those interested in Inge may wish to see the 1962 film All Fall Down, directed by John Frankenheimer and written by Inge from a novel by another. It still involves many themes characteristic of Inge, from single schoolteachers and repressed sexuality, to having a reference to someone named Willadean. It's upsetting that alcoholism and suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning are mentioned as well. One has to wonder whether he was already contemplating his own end ten years later.

The cast does well, Brandon de Wilde running away with the movie, but Eva Marie Saint, Warren Beatty, Karl Malden and Angela Lansbury turn in good performances as well. I didn't know this film was written by Inge; I only saw it because of my interest in Frankenheimer. I would like to read the novel and see how much rework was involved. My guess is that Inge changed quite a bit.

Tex 02:58, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Natural Affection[edit]

This paragraph (in Career) seems too much a summary of the play's plot. I think either that should be a separate article or should be way shorter. (Also needs citations). Henry chianski (talk) 19:08, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

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