Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

theshoutfactory: thedissolve: This week marks the release of…





















theshoutfactory:

thedissolve:

This week marks the release of theshoutfactory's handsome Herzog: The Collection, a massive assemblage of 16 films. To help you grapple with the extensive output of this prolific, sometimes challenging filmmaker, we offer some handy charts and summaries breaking down the similarities and distinctions across Werner Herzog’s work. [Read more…]

I am not sure I could love this more. Herzog + Charts. Get to it people.

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installator: “An Andy Warhol work that has never been displayed…



installator:

"An Andy Warhol work that has never been displayed in public before, undergoes preparations in the Carnegie Museum here in Pittsburgh on January 22, 1990." (Ken Lig)

foiart: There is some risk in attempting to assign meaning to…



foiart:

There is some risk in attempting to assign meaning to images which have been so deliberately wiped of it. Unless, that is, the meaning is as readily provided and concisely stated as in this piece - “Enjoy the world.”

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theparisreview: “Handwritten, in blue ink that bled into the…



theparisreview:

“Handwritten, in blue ink that bled into the paper, were two names, with fat dots marking their sites: ‘Piaf’ and ‘Jim.’ … What about this ‘Jim,’ with his Anglo-Saxon name? I said it aloud: ‘Zheem.’ It rang no bells. ‘Zheem.’”

Ron Padgett, from “Monsieur Jim”

Photography: Alastair Philip Wiper.

1950sunlimited: The Sputnikburger, 1957 In November of 1957, an…



1950sunlimited:

The Sputnikburger, 1957

In November of 1957, an Atlanta restaurant tried to cash in on America’s fascination with the Russian satellite, Sputnik. Their "Sputnikburger" was garnished with Russian Dressing and Caviar… a large “Satellite Olive" was peirced with three toothpicks for "antennae." from: The Century, a Chronicle of the Twentieth Century

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itscolossal: Generic Plastic Bubble Wrap Transformed into Mini…



itscolossal:

Generic Plastic Bubble Wrap Transformed into Mini Goldfish Bowls by Daisuke Akiyama

August 1, 2014



August 1, 2014

My earliest memory is being in a crib, and facing my bedroom window.  In the darkness, the light outside the window was still on, but muted, or perhaps yellow, so it wasn’t bright.  Just enough to see outside the window if one needs to check something.  What I did see was a hand coming from the bottom of the window pane and grasping the side, as it slowly moves upward.  A face appeared as well, and it was bloody and distorted.  As a baby I screamed and either my father or mother heard me and they came in to comfort me.  There was a party at the time, taking place in the living room, and it seems the bloodstained face outside my bedroom window had a name.  Ramblin' Jack Elliot.

Jack was and remains a well-known folk singer, who somehow ended up at my parents’ party that night.  I think what happened was because he was drunk,  he fell down outside my bedroom window, and tried to either obtain his balance, or pick himself up by holding onto the window pane.  Nevertheless this is the first time image that I can remember.  To this day, I pretty much avoid sleeping facing a window.  Also it was the first time that I was introduced to fear.  Also being isolated from the noise I heard in the next room, made the experience even more terrifying to me.   But what child is not afraid of the dark and even more important what is outside their window.   I remember my mother telling me a story about her and my uncle, who is a couple of years older, and he was taking care of my mom at their family home, while the parents were out.  At the time, they were in the bedroom upstairs, and my uncle kept telling my mom that there is someone outside the window wanting to get in.  He was only trying to scare her, because that is what big brothers do to little sisters.  The window in question had a gigantic curtain, and my uncle kept teasing her that he will open the window to let in whoever is outside.  While my mom was petrified, and at the exact moment my uncle quickly clears the curtain.  As the curtain opened, it exposed a man attempting to break into their bedroom.  My uncle fainted, the man outside was surprised and he fell off the second floor window ledge, and my mom just stood there looking at my uncle on the floor and at the now-vacant window.

It wasn’t till many years later that I saw the film “Cape Fear” with Robert Mitchum playing Max Cady, that I re-lived the fear I had when I saw Ramblin’ Jack Elliot outside my window.   The presence of Cady just showing up as the family that he’s stalking, is having their low moments. It is just like if the spirit is down, then the evil spirit will come in.  I’m one of those people who can affect a room with my bad mood.  It seems to come out of my pours of my skin, and if I don’t hide it, then it becomes a concern from the people around me.  I just have to keep this in mind, especially if I’m in a work environment, where one has to keep people’s spirits up.  But the strain of having a phony smile on my face, or to laugh off idiotic gestures, is a deep concern of mine.   There is positive and negative energy, and one can totally dwell into either of those two definite landscapes.  I try to avoid the negative feelings, because it tends to overwhelm me, and therefore leads me to make bad decisions, when in actuality, I need to make something good out of the bad.



I often think the world of people like Yves Saint Laurent, because I knew he had a traumatic experience when he was in the military, and suffered under the cruelty of his fellow soldiers.  While he was in the military hospital, he heard the news that he was fired by Christian Dior due to the poor reception of a collection showing.    What happened was Saint Laurent was to be conscripted to serve in the French military during the Algerian war, but Marcel Boussac, the owner of the House of Dior put pressure on the government not to do so.  But once Saint Laurent had savaged reviews of his collection in the French press, Boussac asked that the designer to be conscripted.  So he did go, suffered from a breakdown, and ended up getting electroshock therapy and psychoactive drugs.   This caused a consistent problem for Saint Laurent throughout his life.  Nevertheless he did become successful, and in his own terms as well.   Sometimes the negative can inspire one to over come whatever ills them.  Often they just suffer in silence and do the best that they can be.  I have a tendency to go with fate, but with a whistle through my lips: Cliff Richard’s “Living Doll. ”


love that necklace as well as the model



love that necklace as well as the model

Kern Your Enthusiasm (1)

aldine italicMatthew Battles on ALDINE ITALIC

Kern Your Enthusiasm (Intro)

typeThese are a few of our favorite typefaces.

Guardian Article on Boris Vian in Today’s paper/website

A quick and easy introduction to Boris Vian, but not in great detail.  Nevertheless, it is nice he's getting some attention in the big media.   Sadly (and not surprisingly) there is no mention of my press TamTam Books, which pretty much presented Vian to the English reading world.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jul/31/boris-vian-paris-lecume-des-jours-mood-indigo?CMP=twt_gu&commentpage=1

July 31, 2014



July 31, 2014

Last night I played Sir Arthur Sullivan’s “The Lost Chord” which is a recording made in 1888, and it is considered to be among the earliest surviving recordings of music.  It is likewise the best.  One just has to presume that either Thomas Edison or Adelbert Theodor Edward Wangemann produced or recorded this haunted melody on their phonograph cylinder.  It’s a beautiful piece of music, but the only version I like is this one.  The sadness of time passing appeals to my sense of loss.  I have a phonograph cylinder, and this is the sole piece of music I have for it.  I tend to play it at least once a week, just before I go to sleep.  It is just like a peaceful death, where I wander into my dreams in hopes of a better world.

Sullivan was an interesting man in that he had an affair with Rachel Scott Russell as well as her older sister Louise.  He dumped both of them and ended up with an American socialite by the name of Fanny Ronalds.  She was an amateur singer, and it has been noted that her favorite song was “The Lost Cord.” When Sullivan died he left her an autographed manuscript of that song to her.  He would also record his sexual acts with her, which strikes my fancy, because I too am obsessed with making lists of all sorts.

Sullivan is now famous for the operas he wrote with W. S. Gilbert, but what I find interesting is how he enacted with the first recording. Edison sent his phonograph to London so that George Gouraud could play Sullivan’s “The Last Cord” to a press audience in 1888. Sullivan commented on this recording by saying “I can only say that I am astonished and somewhat terrified at the result of this evening's experiments: astonished at the wonderful power you have developed, and terrified at the thought that so much hideous and bad music may be put on record forever. But all the same I think it is the most wonderful thing that I have ever experienced, and I congratulate you with all my heart on this wonderful discovery. ”



As one’s notice, it seems that Sullivan may also be the earliest record reviewer in existence as well. Nevertheless I had the strangest dream last night, which I believe to be due to this song.  I was on a luxury liner, and I sense that it was slowly sinking, but no one was commenting on that fact or appeared to be overly concerned.  In fact it was peaceful, and I do believe I was hearing “The Last Cord” at this moment in the dream.  Including the sound of decay and destruction of the wax cylinder.  As I looked over the ship onto the ocean I saw a faint image of a body floating, and I am not sure if that specific body was swimming or a drowned corpse.  Others saw it as well, but of course, not reacting to it or the situation.   As I woke up this morning and watched footage of the bombings in Gaza, I felt totally numb to the visuals.   Also it struck me funny that as the United States condemns the bombings due to the death of civilians and children, and demands a ceasefire, it is also selling arms to Israel at the same time.  I won’t be on this planet forever, but I wonder the one’s who comes after me (if they do) what would they think of such a joke, when they see antique recordings of a disaster such as taking place in Gaza.  Perhaps it will be entertainment, but then again, there is something beautiful about cheap music like “The Lost Cord” as well as how one sees their entertainment.

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medievalpoc: Paolo Veronese Judith and Her Maid Italy (c….



medievalpoc:

Paolo Veronese

Judith and Her Maid

Italy (c. 1550s)

Oil on Canvas, 195 x 176 cm.

Galleria di Palazzo Rosso

[x] [x]

The Lost Prince (31)

lost-prince"The Son of Stefan Loristan"

“I wrote that Amelia Bedelia edit in 2009, with my best friend Evan during our sophomore year of…”

I wrote that Amelia Bedelia edit in 2009, with my best friend Evan during our sophomore year of college. As he recalled when I called him later that evening, “we were stoned out of our minds” and had just come from the McDonald’s drive-thru to get chicken selects when we decided to edit Wikipedia pages for various semi-obscure children’s book authors. (I think we also did one for R.L. Stine, but Evan says no.)

It was total bullshit: We knew nothing about Amelia Bedelia or the author of the series, Peggy Parish, let alone that she’d been a maid in Cameroon or collected many hats. It was the kind of ridiculous, vaguely humorous prank stoned college students pull, without any expectation that anyone would ever take it seriously. “I feel like we sort of did it with the intention of seeing how fast it would take to get it taken down” by Wikipedia’s legion of editors, Evan says.

But apparently, it hadn’t been taken down at all. There it was, five and a half years later, being tweeted as fact by relatively well-known members of the New York City media establishment.



- I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax

July 30, 2014


July 30, 2014

Ah!, the summer of love.   I was 12 years old when I first went to London with my parents, and that trip for me was like traveling through Alice’s rabbit hole.  I have gone back to London numerous time, but like the first kiss, the first trip was the magical one.  For one, I met Alexander Trocchi with my parents at his flat somewhere in the capital.  At the time, I had the faint knowledge that he contributed a piece to my dad’s art/poetry/journal “Semina,” but that is about it.  I knew nothing else about him.  What impressed me the most, at the time, is when he began to shoot up heroin into his arm.  At that point and time (I was 12 remember) I never saw anything like that in my life.  I was intrigued because he kept the conversation he was having with my parents while he prepared his gear, and eventually shooting the dope into his arm.  At the time, it was shocking to me, because I never ever even seen a needle in that sense.  As a child I had to get numerous shots through school, and I always looked away when the needle went through my skin.  Having a shot in the arm did not bother me personally, but the worst part of the whole procedure is standing in line with other kids and their parents, and hearing the child in front of me scream their heads off.  As one got closer to the screened-off room in the gym, the worst the knots were in my stomach.   Here in London, I couldn’t keep my eyes off him and his arm.  I remember his arm also being scarred with scabs and other markings.   The odd thing, is that he didn’t excuse himself or asked if it was OK, he just did it in front of his guests.



It was obvious to me my parents were not happy to see this in front of their eyes, and I think were concerned that I was in the room as well.  But the official policy in a sense, was not to hide me from anything unpleasant.  Although oddly enough, the only thing I was’t allowed to watch or see was the Tod Browning film “Freaks.” Which of course made me want to see the film even more, but at the time of my youth, that film only existed as film stills in various Monster fan magazines that I used to devour each month.   I was intrigued by the thought of actually seeing real live side-show freaks, because to me, it was just an illusion and I wasn’t sure if they even existed.  It wasn’t till I was in my mid-twenties, when I actually saw the film.  I’m happy to say that the film was worth the long wait.  Around that time I went to a donut shop on Melrose Avenue, here in Los Angeles, to get some morning coffee.  To my surprise I stood behind a man who looked exactly like the Elephant Man. His face was deformed with huge tumors, and his mouth was misshapen as well as the rest of his head.  Even now, I feel it was a dream, but the truth is I did see this man.  It was a strange setting to see him in a donut shop, early in the morning.  I remember the girl behind the counter was sort of freaked out, and it was hard to understand what he was asking for, due that his voice was affected by the way his mouth was deformed.  It was sad, horrifying, and weird at the same moment.



My memory of Alex was that he was charming, but there was something terribly off about his behavior with respect to his heroin use.  I have met many junkies in my life, but never witnessed one shooting the works in their system.  Also besides me and my parents, he had a small child roaming the flat as well.  He or she must have been around 1 or 2 years old.  Nevertheless, as I got older I would run into Alex’s work in the most strangest places.  He was a writer who showed up in moments of critical incidents or times of world literature.  The Paris Review, the Situationists, the Beats… he just appears like a ghost, and then if you look again at his direction, he disappears.  Totally fascinating.

“Intelligence is sexy. Don’t play stupid.”

“Intelligence is sexy. Don’t play stupid.”

- Unknow (via pixxelprincess)

Holographic politicians could soon become a normal thing in the…



Holographic politicians could soon become a normal thing in the US | The Verge

Earlier this year, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi was campaigning for reelection and used a rather unusual method for being in many different places at once: he became a hologram. Not biologically, but with the help of a company called NChant3D that broadcast his nearly hour-long speech in 53 different locations. Now a US company called HologramUSA has the rights to use that technology in the US, and has just hired a lobbyist in Washington, DC to push the Democrats and Republicans into using holograms in the upcoming 2016 presidential election, reports Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The result could be long-dead politicians from America’s Founding Fathers, to more recent and beloved party figureheads like Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy. Politicians might also use it to do the same thing as Modi, and be in two places (or more) at once, stretching “in person” appearances on the campaign trail.

King Goshawk (31)

cuchulain thumbThe Legend of Saint Progressa

“We live in the exoskeleton of the Internet.”

““We live in the exoskeleton of the Internet.””

- Michael Mann - Blackhat Comic-Con Panel Recap: First Footage and New Image, via Dan H.

Essentials

I might have to leave the rest of the packing for the morning....

Essentials

I might have to leave the rest of the packing for the morning....

fairy-wren: (via 500px / Dream flying by df h) *European…



fairy-wren:

(via 500px / Dream flying by df h)
*European Kingfisher

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July 29, 2014



July 29, 2014

My first step into the world of alcoholism is by watching William Powell in the Thin Man film series.   If this was a drinker, then sign me up.   I loved how he focused on martini drinking and solving a mystery between drinking sessions.   My day is pretty well-arranged, that by 9pm in the evening I’m drunk.  The beauty of the day is the rhyme and timing of moments passing, participating the first sip of the martini.  Drinking is not the most important part of the day for me, but to know that “it” will happen, excites me to no end.  I often feel that after a great writing session and basically being alone with my torrid thoughts, the award of the grueling work will be the taste of the combined elements of vodka, vermouth and olive.  On special occasions (at least once a week) I like to have a martini around 1pm if the morning is going well.  So the buzz in the afternoon is a pretty good introduction to the full-throttle of serious drinking in the evening.



When I’m writing I imagine myself as two different people or maybe the same person with poles apart characteristics.  I haven’t really worked that out yet.  Nevertheless, I feel my brain is kept separate from my fingers as I type.  What comes to bear in mind is the story of “Archy and Mehitabel” in which the cockroach writes free verse poetry by hurling himself at the keys one at a time.  Due to that practice and his very size, it’s impossible for him to operate the shift key on the typewriter, so all his writings were written without capitalization or punctuation.  I kind of go through the identical procedure myself.  Of course I’m too big to throw myself onto the keyboard, but nevertheless there is a coordination I have to continue to focus on between my brain and typing.



I’m working on a novel about a family that is born wealthy and therefore wealth comes naturally to them.  Its take place in an era where new wealth is made due to an individual’s genius in making something new, or the ability to look at the world as if it was a map, and building or inventing items that can be used by the masses.  The tension is not due to wealth alone, but the class structure that produced old money against “new money.” As my leading character says: "Don't you think being things is 'rahthuh bettuh' than doing things?"



My behavior is like a Professor Irwin Corey in front of the typewriter.  I’m just trying to make sense of a world that I really don’t have an understanding of.  I just know it tastes like a stale martini left on the bar for way too long.   If I can just imagine staying focused and keep to the schedule I think it will work out OK.  The drinking part is what keeps me in-tuned to the day.  Like the sun arising and going down at dusk, I know the martini will take me to another place, where I can wander and be free for at least a certain amount of hours per day.  Not to be restricted to the gravity of the Earth and in front of my typewriter, but to expand my drunk consciousness onto an expressway or at its worst, in a garage in Pacific Palisades, with a car motor running.   But once I’m on the highway, I usually avoid the exit signs.


The Unconquerable (5)

macinnesInterrogation

R.E.M. live at the Rockpalast, 2 Oct 1985

Complete show on YouTube.  In case you were wondering what the fuss was about.


medievalpoc: medievalpoc: Bitch Magazine Series: Girls of…



















medievalpoc:

medievalpoc:

Bitch Magazine Series: Girls of Color in Dystopian YA Fantasy Literature

This current guest series by Victoria Law includes book reviews, analysis of race and tends in YA literature, questions about race and gender in Dystopic narratives, interviews with authors and more.

Reblogging for Fiction Week!

“Many of us cannot help looking because of what Susan Sontag has called “the perennial seductiveness…”

Many of us cannot help looking because of what Susan Sontag has called “the perennial seductiveness of war.” It is a kind of rubbernecking, staring at the bloody aftermath of something that is not an act of God but of man. The effect, as Ms. Sontag pointed out in an essay in The New Yorker in 2002, is anything but certain.

“Making suffering loom larger, by globalizing it, may spur people to feel they ought to ‘care’ more,” she wrote. “It also invites them to feel that the sufferings and misfortunes are too vast, too irrevocable, too epic to be much changed by any local, political intervention.”

So now that war comes to us in real time, do we feel helpless or empowered? Do we care more, or will the ubiquity of images and information desensitize us to the point where human suffering loses meaning when it is part of a scroll that includes a video of your niece twerking? Oh, we say as our index finger navigates to the next item, another one of those.

As war becomes a more remote, mechanized activity, posts and images from the target area have significant value. When a trigger gets pulled or bombs explode, real people are often on the wrong end of it. And bearing witness to the consequences gives meaning to what we see.



- At Front Lines, Bearing Witness in Real Time - NYTimes.com

superpringle: Pringle can be so lazy. Sometimes he just opens…





superpringle:

Pringle can be so lazy. Sometimes he just opens his mouth and waits for me to put food in.

weepling: Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1949



weepling:

Mark RothkoUntitled, 1949

Code-X (23)

portmanWhite is the New Black.

Facebook Billboard, Yemen.



Facebook Billboard, Yemen.

Stripped naked

I usually spend July writing something that's intellectually pressing to me, but this year it has been an anomalous month of syllabus design.

Most of the classes I teach fall together pretty easily (making a syllabus for a course on Pope and Swift, or on the eighteenth-century novel, is really very straightforward). This class caused me to examine all of my underlying presuppositions about literary criticism, what an English major should know, literary canons, etc. etc.! I would have perhaps felt the crisis more intensely if I hadn't already experienced it once before.

Often I think of syllabus-making as a form of enjoyable precrastination (I am not a precrastinator, my inbox has tens of thousands of emails that I never clean out and I leave lots of things to the last minute so that I can focus on the things that are really important to me, a syllabus is one of those things that can often properly be done shortly before classes start rather than taking up valuable summer mental real estate).

In this case, though, it was some of the most substantive and demanding intellectual work I've done for a while, and it was important to get it drafted now so that the seminar leaders I'll be working with have some idea of how they will supplement and shape the course with their own contributions.

It is really an impossible task: I have left a huge amount out, and there are all sorts of things I'm not doing at all (most notably, I think, I'm pretty much excluding almost all of cultural studies and all of the more political end of literary studies). That said, I am extremely excited about teaching it.

I am now just hoping that there will be a work-study student in the English department who will help me xerox and scan these book chapters!

Anyway, here it is, provisionally:

Books (available at Book Culture):

Austen, Emma (Oxford World’s Classics)
Beckett, Endgame (Grove)
Brown, Clotel (Bedford/St. Martin’s)
Dickinson, The Poems of Emily Dickinson (Belknap)
Jackson, Dickinson’s Misery: A Theory of Lyric Reading (Princeton)
Milton, Paradise Lost (Hackett)
Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays (Oxford World’s Classics)
Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads: 1798 and 1802 (Oxford World’s Classics)

Readings marked # are available on the Courseworks site.

9/2 Introduction

Criticism as taxonomy: ways of looking and describing; intensive vs. extensive reading
Literature and criticism pairings: Georges Perec/David Bellos, Christopher Smart/Geoffrey Hartman
Non-academic literary criticism: Geoff Dyer, Elif Batuman, Alan Hollinghurst, Andre Aciman

Readings for first seminar meeting:

#Donne, “The Canonization,” “The Ecstasy”
#Cleanth Brooks, from The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry (1947; San Diego, New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975), 3-21

9/9 Milton, books 1-4 of Paradise Lost

#Stanley Fish, from Surprised by Sin: The Reader in Paradise Lost, 2nd ed. (1967; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997), 22-37
#Christopher Ricks, from Milton’s Grand Style (Oxford: Clarendon, 1963), 118-138
#Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, from “Milton’s Bogey: Patriarchal Poetry and Women Readers,” The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1979), 187-207

9/16 Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads (selections TBA)

#Geoffrey H. Hartman, Wordsworth’s Poetry, 1787-1814 (1964; Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1987), 141-162
#Paul De Man, “Time and History in Wordsworth,” Diacritics 17:4 (1987): 4-17

Short assignment #1 due in seminar

9/23 Dickinson, poems and Virginia Jackson, Dickinson’s Misery (selections for both TBA)

9/30 #Herbert, “Easter-wings” (2 versions)

# Random Cloud, “FIAT fLUX,” in Crisis in Editing: Texts of the English Renaissance, ed. Randall McLeod (New York: AMS Press, 1994), 61-172
#W. K. Wimsatt, Jr. and Monroe C. Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy,” in The Verbal Icon: Studies in the Meaning of Poetry (1954; New York: The Noonday Press, 1958), 3-18
#Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author,” in Image Music Text, trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/The Noonday Press, 1977), 152-154

Short assignment #2 due in seminar

10/7 #William Sherman, “Dirty Books? Attitudes Toward Readers’ Marks,” from Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 153-178
#H. J. Jackson, “‘Marginal Frivolities’: readers’ notes as evidence for the history of reading,” in Owners, Annotators and the Signs of Reading, ed. Robin Myers, Michael Harris and Giles Mandelbrote (New Castle, DE and London: Oak Knoll Press and the British Library, 2005) 137-151
#Andrew Stauffer, “Hemans by the Book,” European Romantic Review 22:3 (2001): 373-380
#Nicholson Baker, “Discards,” The New Yorker (April 4, 1994): 64-86

Oct. 8 – Book Traces event, Butler Library

Seminars meet this week or next week, pending scheduling, at Butler Rare Books and Manuscripts

10/14 Sterne, Tristram Shandy, books I-II (5-137), V.xvi-xix (336-41), VI.xxxvi-xl (420-27)

#Victor Shklovsky, “The Novel as Parody,” in Theory of Prose, trans. Benjamin Sher (1990; Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1998), 147-170
#Wayne C. Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction (1961), 2nd ed. (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press,1983), 221-240
#Peter Brooks, from Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative (1984; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992), TK
#Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Musgrove Ritual”

10/21 Austen, Emma (vol. 1 at a minimum)

#James Wood, “Narrating,” from How Fiction Works (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008), 3-38
#Frances Ferguson, “Jane Austen, Emma and the Impact of Form,” MLQ 61:1 (2000): 157-80

Short assignment #3 due in seminar

10/28 William Wells Brown, Clotel

#Ann duCille, “Where in the World is William Wells Brown? Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and the DNA of African-American Literary History,” American Literary History 12:3 (2000): 443-462
#Jonathan Senchyne, “Bottles of Ink and Reams of Paper: Clotel, Racialization, and the Material Culture of Print,” in Early African American Print Culture, ed. Lara Langer Cohen and Jordan Alexander Stein (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 140-158
#Saidiya Hartman, “Venus in Two Acts,” Small Axe 26 (2008): 1-14

Short assignment #4 due in seminar

11/4 Election holiday – no class

11/11 #Melville, Billy Budd

#Barbara Johnson, “Melville’s Fist: The Execution of Billy Budd,” Studies in Romanticism 18:4 (1979): 567-599

11/18 Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

#Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Tales of the Avunculate: Queer Tutelage in The Importance of Being Earnest,” in Tendencies (Durham: Duke University Press, 1993), 52-72

Final paper proposal (topic, projected argument, selected evidence, annotated bibliography) due to seminar leader Friday, Nov. 21

11/25 Beckett, Endgame

#Theodor W. Adorno and Michael T. Jones, “Understanding Endgame,” New German Critique 26 (1982), 119-150

12/2 #Franco Moretti, “Trees,” in Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History (London and New York: Verso, 2005), 67-92
#Matthew Kirschenbaum, “The Remaking of Reading”
#Natalia Cecire, “Ways of Not Reading Gertrude Stein,” ELH (forthcoming)

Draft of final paper (8-10pp.) due to seminar leader Friday, Dec. 5; final paper due to seminar leader at a date of his or her specification.

Stripped naked

I usually spend July writing something that's intellectually pressing to me, but this year it has been an anomalous month of syllabus design.

Most of the classes I teach fall together pretty easily (making a syllabus for a course on Pope and Swift, or on the eighteenth-century novel, is really very straightforward). This class caused me to examine all of my underlying presuppositions about literary criticism, what an English major should know, literary canons, etc. etc.! I would have perhaps felt the crisis more intensely if I hadn't already experienced it once before.

Often I think of syllabus-making as a form of enjoyable precrastination (I am not a precrastinator, my inbox has tens of thousands of emails that I never clean out and I leave lots of things to the last minute so that I can focus on the things that are really important to me, a syllabus is one of those things that can often properly be done shortly before classes start rather than taking up valuable summer mental real estate).

In this case, though, it was some of the most substantive and demanding intellectual work I've done for a while, and it was important to get it drafted now so that the seminar leaders I'll be working with have some idea of how they will supplement and shape the course with their own contributions.

It is really an impossible task: I have left a huge amount out, and there are all sorts of things I'm not doing at all (most notably, I think, I'm pretty much excluding almost all of cultural studies and all of the more political end of literary studies). That said, I am extremely excited about teaching it.

I am now just hoping that there will be a work-study student in the English department who will help me xerox and scan these book chapters!

Anyway, here it is, provisionally:

Books (available at Book Culture):

Austen, Emma (Oxford World’s Classics)
Beckett, Endgame (Grove)
Brown, Clotel (Bedford/St. Martin’s)
Dickinson, The Poems of Emily Dickinson (Belknap)
Jackson, Dickinson’s Misery: A Theory of Lyric Reading (Princeton)
Milton, Paradise Lost (Hackett)
Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays (Oxford World’s Classics)
Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads: 1798 and 1802 (Oxford World’s Classics)

Readings marked # are available on the Courseworks site.

9/2 Introduction

Criticism as taxonomy: ways of looking and describing; intensive vs. extensive reading
Literature and criticism pairings: Georges Perec/David Bellos, Christopher Smart/Geoffrey Hartman
Non-academic literary criticism: Geoff Dyer, Elif Batuman, Alan Hollinghurst, Andre Aciman

Readings for first seminar meeting:

#Donne, “The Canonization,” “The Ecstasy”
#Cleanth Brooks, from The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry (1947; San Diego, New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975), 3-21

9/9 Milton, books 1-4 of Paradise Lost

#Stanley Fish, from Surprised by Sin: The Reader in Paradise Lost, 2nd ed. (1967; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997), 22-37
#Christopher Ricks, from Milton’s Grand Style (Oxford: Clarendon, 1963), 118-138
#Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, from “Milton’s Bogey: Patriarchal Poetry and Women Readers,” The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1979), 187-207

9/16 Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads (selections TBA)

#Geoffrey H. Hartman, Wordsworth’s Poetry, 1787-1814 (1964; Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1987), 141-162
#Paul De Man, “Time and History in Wordsworth,” Diacritics 17:4 (1987): 4-17

Short assignment #1 due in seminar

9/23 Dickinson, poems and Virginia Jackson, Dickinson’s Misery (selections for both TBA)

9/30 #Herbert, “Easter-wings” (2 versions)

# Random Cloud, “FIAT fLUX,” in Crisis in Editing: Texts of the English Renaissance, ed. Randall McLeod (New York: AMS Press, 1994), 61-172
#W. K. Wimsatt, Jr. and Monroe C. Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy,” in The Verbal Icon: Studies in the Meaning of Poetry (1954; New York: The Noonday Press, 1958), 3-18
#Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author,” in Image Music Text, trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/The Noonday Press, 1977), 152-154

Short assignment #2 due in seminar

10/7 #William Sherman, “Dirty Books? Attitudes Toward Readers’ Marks,” from Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 153-178
#H. J. Jackson, “‘Marginal Frivolities’: readers’ notes as evidence for the history of reading,” in Owners, Annotators and the Signs of Reading, ed. Robin Myers, Michael Harris and Giles Mandelbrote (New Castle, DE and London: Oak Knoll Press and the British Library, 2005) 137-151
#Andrew Stauffer, “Hemans by the Book,” European Romantic Review 22:3 (2001): 373-380
#Nicholson Baker, “Discards,” The New Yorker (April 4, 1994): 64-86

Oct. 8 – Book Traces event, Butler Library

Seminars meet this week or next week, pending scheduling, at Butler Rare Books and Manuscripts

10/14 Sterne, Tristram Shandy, books I-II (5-137), V.xvi-xix (336-41), VI.xxxvi-xl (420-27)

#Victor Shklovsky, “The Novel as Parody,” in Theory of Prose, trans. Benjamin Sher (1990; Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1998), 147-170
#Wayne C. Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction (1961), 2nd ed. (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press,1983), 221-240
#Peter Brooks, from Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative (1984; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992), TK
#Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Musgrove Ritual”

10/21 Austen, Emma (vol. 1 at a minimum)

#James Wood, “Narrating,” from How Fiction Works (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008), 3-38
#Frances Ferguson, “Jane Austen, Emma and the Impact of Form,” MLQ 61:1 (2000): 157-80

Short assignment #3 due in seminar

10/28 William Wells Brown, Clotel

#Ann duCille, “Where in the World is William Wells Brown? Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and the DNA of African-American Literary History,” American Literary History 12:3 (2000): 443-462
#Jonathan Senchyne, “Bottles of Ink and Reams of Paper: Clotel, Racialization, and the Material Culture of Print,” in Early African American Print Culture, ed. Lara Langer Cohen and Jordan Alexander Stein (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 140-158
#Saidiya Hartman, “Venus in Two Acts,” Small Axe 26 (2008): 1-14

Short assignment #4 due in seminar

11/4 Election holiday – no class

11/11 #Melville, Billy Budd

#Barbara Johnson, “Melville’s Fist: The Execution of Billy Budd,” Studies in Romanticism 18:4 (1979): 567-599

11/18 Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

#Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Tales of the Avunculate: Queer Tutelage in The Importance of Being Earnest,” in Tendencies (Durham: Duke University Press, 1993), 52-72

Final paper proposal (topic, projected argument, selected evidence, annotated bibliography) due to seminar leader Friday, Nov. 21

11/25 Beckett, Endgame

#Theodor W. Adorno and Michael T. Jones, “Understanding Endgame,” New German Critique 26 (1982), 119-150

12/2 #Franco Moretti, “Trees,” in Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History (London and New York: Verso, 2005), 67-92
#Matthew Kirschenbaum, “The Remaking of Reading”
#Natalia Cecire, “Ways of Not Reading Gertrude Stein,” ELH (forthcoming)

Draft of final paper (8-10pp.) due to seminar leader Friday, Dec. 5; final paper due to seminar leader at a date of his or her specification.

About

Rank 2 versus rank 3

One interesting feature of the heuristics of Garton, Park, Poonen, Wood, Voight, discussed here previously: they predict there are fewer elliptic curves of rank 3 than there are of rank 2.  Is this what we believe?  On one hand, you might believe that having three independent points should be “harder” than having only two.  But there’s the parity issue.  All right-thinking people believe that there are equally many rank 0 and rank 1 elliptic curves, because 100% of curves with even parity have rank 0, and 100% of curves with odd parity have rank 1.  If a curve has even parity, all that has to happen to force it to have rank 2 is to have a non-torsion point.  And if a curve has odd parity, all that has to happen to force it to have rank 3 is to have one more non-torsion point you don’t know about it.  So in that sense, it seems “equally hard” to have rank 2 or rank 3, given that parity should be even half the time and odd half the time.

So my intuition about this question is very weak.  What’s yours?  Should rank 3 be less common than rank 2?  The same?  More common?


Cloakroom

One day this summer, I took my son to a playground, and was deeply bummed out to see so many parents on their phones instead of playing with their kids. On the walk home, I roughed up some wireframes in my mind of some vaporware I’m pretty proud of: Cloakroom. Cloakroom is a mobile app that creates a private, localized network, using either Bluetooth or wireless, that locks phones for a set amount of time. Once created, every phone in the ‘cloakroom’ is locked, until the group as a whole decides to unlock the session, and each user ‘checks out’ (or unless the phones are powered off and on again, as a safety measure). I created this idea and page as a kind of joke, but it was gotten quite a bit of attention, which has surprised me. Head on over to the page to sign up, if you’d like to be notified if it’s ever made.

July 28, 2014



July 28, 2014

As a little boy, maybe 8 or 9 years old, I went to the Pasadena Museum for an opening for a Frenchman by the name of Marcel Duchamp. Once I got there, I had an instant “like” for the exhibition, because one, I feel this is art that was totally kid friendly.   For instance, a bicycle wheel on a stool.  What child couldn’t relate to that!  Also I have a faint memory of a snow shovel that was placed on the wall, and I thought that was pretty neat as well.  It was the first art exhibition I’ve been to, where I felt the mystery was being preserved, yet totally inviting.  Someone, I believe it was Walter Hopps introduced me to Duchamp.  I remember him being tall, but of course keep in mind that any kid thinks of a grown-up as being tall.  What impressed me is when Walter announced my name, Duchamp slightly bent his waist in a formal manner and shook my little hand.  I got the impression that he came to me, and approached me as not as an equal for God’s sake, but worthy enough to reach out for my hand.



The opening was a lot of fun and it felt special.  There was something in that room that just got the people there jazzed and excited.  Every Los Angeles artist was at the opening, and it was sort of like if the King and Queen of somewhere came to town, and it was a private engagement for that royalty couple.  In the small world that I lived in, it was obvious that this Frenchman was someone important.  Probably my favorite artist as a kid at that time was Salvador Dali. Due to mostly his appearance and his painting skills.  It wasn’t till I became a teenager or late teen and realized that Dali was the Kiss (as in the band) of art.  I out grew that artist but never lost my appreciation of Marcel Duchamp.  Speaking of (or writing)Dali, there was this amusing tale I read from John Cage, when he was hanging out with Duchamp in the late 50s, and Duchamp requested that both of them should visit Dali, who was staying somewhere  in New York City.  Cage couldn’t imagine why Duchamp would want to visit Dali, to be honest, I think he felt that Dali was below him and Duchamp. Which is most likely the case, but Duchamp actually liked Dali.  Not sure about loving his art, but he liked him as a character or person.  Cage went with him, and Dali did most of the talking, and Duchamp basically sat there and just smiled at him.  Cage didn’t really get it.  I think a lot of people didn’t get Duchamp because they really didn’t understand his zen like attention to accept almost anything.



When I began to write poetry, my main influence was Tristan Tzara, because to me he was the craziest writing poet on the planet.  But when I got older, I began to appreciate the poetry of John Ashbery.  What impressed about his work, as a young poet, is the absence of ego in his poetry.  It didn’t seem to be about him, but something else, but of course, it is really about the poet.  I often pretend that I’m not an egoist, by practicing a look on my face that says “I’m listening to you with all my senses.” In actuality, I am not really listening, but thinking about my writing or a picture of a pretty girl a friend sent to me via e-mail.   What I love about poetry is that there is a platform and one needs to work within its borders.  With that restriction, I feel more alive and free.  I imagine this is exactly what it is like to participate in S&M practices, where you either control someone or accept the fact that you are being controlled. I can understand that relationship fully.  Ashbery strikes me as a poet who is very open to the world, and takes it all in, but of course he edits the images he comes upon, and therefore his poetry.  One thing that stays in my mind is a quote from Ashbery (from an interview in The Paris Review) “I write with experiences in mind, but I don't write about them, I write out of them.” Also I am very much in tuned to his ear and eyes.  I don’t find Ashbery obscure, but in fact, he’s just more aware than others.  Another quote by him that stays with me, and I feel it could have been from Duchamp as well: “It's rather hard to be a good artist and also be able to explain intelligently what your art is about. In fact, the worse your art is, the easier it is to talk about, at least I would like to think so.”  

Someone made a sweet little figurine of that mysterious…



Someone made a sweet little figurine of that mysterious StreetView creature. (via @curetencho @gohsuket) pic.twitter.com/hYDRPSpk7U (via Twitter / GammaCounter: Someone made a sweet little …)

(Half-cat, who was actually made in Photoshop and posted on internet message boards, was believed to be a Street View glitch)

Photo



LOVE SONGS & CINNAMON

Etel-Adnan-3

[Etel Adnan]

I recently spent time in the Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut. My hosts make sure that I left with fresh cinnamon and many love songs from Palestine.

Download audio file (Shatila Camp Mix – Track 9.mp3)
Shatila Camp Mix – track 9

She’s talking about love for her land/country, the water. She addresses a traveler who is going to Ramallah, she says take my soul with you.

The second half she says:
Oh mother, there’s a knock on our door it’s our beloveds
There’s a strong knock on our door, it’s the fedayeen, the ones who long for/love freedom
They knock on our door

And then some love for a dark palestinian woman

It sounds like a folk song or a combo of a few folk songs

Download audio file (Shatila Camp Mix – Track 7.mp3)
Shatila Camp Mix – track 7

“‘Whoa if true’ has become a big joke for me,” says Business Insider politics reporter Brett…”

““‘Whoa if true’ has become a big joke for me,” says Business Insider politics reporter Brett LoGiurato, “but the circumstances surrounding its origin say a lot about our online discourse and reporting in the age of Twitter. There’s a rapid desire to express shock, outrage, or both at a particular piece of news.””

- A brief history of ‘Whoa, if true’

forgottencool: You think Michael Jackson “invented” this…



forgottencool:

You think Michael Jackson “invented” this shit?
This is Bill Bailey in 1955!

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