Browsing the blog archives for April, 2009.

Re-illustrating children’s books

art/graphics, fiction, kid lit

tin_poky-puppy{The Poky Little Puppy, reimagined by Tin}

The G1988 gallery in San Francisco is about to lauch a new show - artists “re-illustrating” children’s books. Each piece is based on a classic piece of kid lit - incl. Dr. Seuss, the Alice books, The Little Prince, Snow White, Calvin and Hobbes - with new and definitely different sensibilities being brought into play.

You can see some of the work here and here.

The show opens Friday.

“Madame Bovary” drafts online

archives, blogs & sites, canon, fiction

From Reuters:

Drafts of “Madame Bovary,” Gustave Flaubert’s classic tale of adultery and thwarted dreams, are being shown online for the first time thanks to a mass effort to transcribe the originals.

Some 650 volunteers from all over the world, including teenagers, an oil worker and a cleaning lady, have transcribed thousands of often hardly legible hand-written manuscripts in a project overseen by a museum in Rouen in northwestern France. …

The decade-long project to prepare the writings for publication on the Internet cost 120,000 euros and was supported by the work of literature fans from 12 countries.

The result can be seen at and is meant to appeal to specialists as well as amateurs.

Jack London’s credo … or is it?

canon, writers' lives

In the house I grew up in, the fridge displayed - among some dog magnets and local pizza-joint numbers - a copy of Jack London’s credo, which I still love:

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

london-jackWhen I went searching for this text online, I noticed that no one was attributing it to a specific work, letter, etc. Red flag. The Jack London Online Collection at Sonoma State has done the detective work.

Bottom line: London informally wrote the first sentence. He might’ve spoken the whole credo, but all we have is an account from one reporter.The full passage has many marks of London’s style–its directness, its rhythm, its diction–to persuade that it is authentic.”

Thoughts for the day, German mystical poet edition


novalis“We are more closely connected to the invisible than to the visible.”




rilke“I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.”


The 10,000 inscriptions of Alhambra

archives, art/graphics, history, religion

Wall Inscriptions at the Alhambra (Granada)

Researchers are cataloging and translating the 10,000 Arabic inscriptions coating the walls and ceilings of Spain’s Alhambra palace.

Many inscriptions consist of aphorisms, terse sayings embodying a general truth, such as “Be sparse in words and you will go in peace” and “Rejoice in good fortune, because Allah helps you.”

What the researchers have found so far is that, contrary to popular belief, verses from the Koran and poetry represent only a tiny minority of the messages in classical Arabic that cover the Alhambra, Europe’s finest example of Muslim architecture.

“They do not make up not even 10 percent of what has been studied so far,” explained Mr Castilla. Instead the elegant Arabic script contains a large amount of sloganeering, predominantly praise for the Nasrid dynasty who ruled Granada for two and half centuries.

The Nasrid motto - “There is no victor but Allah” - is the most common inscription found so far.

The next most common messages are isolated words like “happiness” and “blessing” that are thought to be expressions of divine wishes for the Muslim rulers of Granada.

Until now there have only been partial studies of what the inscriptions meant, including one ordered by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella who sought to purge Spain of Muslims after the reconquest of Granada in 1492.

“It seems incredible that there is no exhaustive catalogue (of the inscriptions) in the 21st century,” said Mr Castilla.

Many of the inscriptions are wrapped around arches and pillars, making them hard to read with the naked eye from ground level.

Further complicating the task is the fact that artisans who did the engraving used an elaborately cursive script, which can be difficult to read. Calligraphy was a major art form in a culture that banned human images.

The researchers hope to have 65 percent of the inscriptions catalogued and translated into Spanish by the end of the year and the entire project finished in 2011.

The inscriptions will be later translated into English and French.

A DVD and book have been published containing the findings in the Alhambra’s 14th-century Comares Palace.

Wall Inscriptions at the Alhambra (Granada)

{via the Daily Grail}

{images by cconaty}

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