Tables or other ways to achieve complex page layout

Posting it as a new question, also related to this question as well as maybe relevant in this context of table formatting... What about some things that, to my knowledge, no (other) word processor can achieve at all? I am desperately looking for a way to write a table (or what ever way is possible to achieve this layout) in LaTeX that contains 4 columns and 3 rows where the cells 1&2 of the first, cell 1 of the second and cells 1&2 of the third row are merged and 3&4 of the first, cell 4 of the second and cells 3&4 of the third row, too, are merged. the two cells in the middle also should be merged. Is there any way to implement this with any table environment in LaTeX? for a better idea of what I am trying to achieve, here is how it should roughly look like:

Anyone any idea how to achieve this? This is related to another question, which, too, hasn't lead to an answer yet...

• do you need text to flow automatically between these regions or is it three separate text flows, and does text need to flow on to another page? – David Carlisle Nov 5 '13 at 23:58
• Without a description about the contents of the page you described it seems impossible to help you. – Keks Dose Nov 6 '13 at 9:37
• A "table" is a float (which differs from "figure" only in its caption). A "tabular" is a table. (All nomenclature is confusing. Some are more confusing than others.) – John Kormylo Nov 6 '13 at 17:37
• You can merge cells horizontally using \multicolumn and vertically using \multirow, but not as you described. You might try 6 columns and only use 4 at a time. You can put tabulars inside tabulars. – John Kormylo Nov 6 '13 at 18:10
• Thanks for your comments and sorry that I was not very clear about it. Indeed all three boxes contain different texts, not one text flowing through three boxes. The main text in the middle - on the left &right commentaries. I know this is probably highly unusual & that might be the reason no word processor can do this, yet it has been a very important layout for texts such as the Talmud, for example and the layout is very old, dating back to the 16th century. – moritzklenk Nov 7 '13 at 19:52

I have often wondered whether it is possible to achieve such a layout with LaTeX, and somehow, I always thought the answer was "no, this is not possible". However, I recently learned that it is possible, and surprisingly convenient, with the pullquote package by Stephan Lehmke, advertised (for example) here.

The solution for your desired layout would then look somewhat like this:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[a4paper]{geometry}
\usepackage{lipsum}

\usepackage{pullquote}

\begin{document}
\lipsum[1-6]
\begin{pullquote}{object={\parbox{.4\textwidth}{\lipsum[1]}}}
\lipsum[1-5]
\end{pullquote}
\lipsum[1-6]
\end{document}