The Waste Land

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The Triumph of Death

Saving copies of The Waste Land

What to do:

If you want to save a copy of The Waste Land that you can edit or view later, you will want to download the page that has the poem written in the format that you system uses and then use the browser's save features to save the page to disk.

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The reason why:

Each of the Unix, Macintosh and DOS/Windows operating systems has a standard way of saving text files. Briefly, each uses one or more special characters to signal the end of a line and the start of another. When editors on these systems see these characters they cause the next line to be displayed under the one just displayed.

The DOS/Windows text file format is perhaps the easiest to understand. At the end of each line are two special characters, a carriage return (CR) character and a linefeed (LF) character. Neither of these characters are acually displayed. When editors see the the CR character they position the cursor at the first position in a line. When they then see the LF character they position the cursor one line below the current position. The next string of text then gets displayed or printed directly below the first.

Unix text files end a line only with a LF character while Macintosh text files end lines only with a CR character. When the editors on these systems see the one character they perform the two actions that the DOS/Windows editors do, they move to the first position on the next line as if both the CR and LF characters were seen.

Browsers can display text from a number of different text file formats but when you save to your local disk the text file that the browser displays the browser may save the file in the same text file format that was sent by the server instead of the text file format that your operating system uses. When you then use a text editor on the saved file the editor may be confused by the format that it does not understand and thus display the file in strange ways.

For example, on a PC, the Notepad editor is expecting to see carriage return characters before each linefeed (end of line) character. A file in Unix text mode has only linefeed characters to signal a line's end. If Notepad is used to edit a file like this it will not see any carriage return characters and treat the file as if it had only one line in it.

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