Wednesday, September 16, 2020

From νόστος / nostos to nostalgia

The Ulysses Etchings of Robert Motherwell
The Ulysses Etchings of Robert Motherwell
Motherwell, Robert, David. Hayman,
and James Joyce.
San Francisco: Arion Press, 1988.
"Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean."
(Excerpt from "Ithaka" / C.P. Cavafy ; trans. E. Keeley)
James Joyce Wavewords : from Ulysses
James Joyce Wavewords: from Ulysses.
Hellmann, Margery S., and James Joyce.
Seattle, Wash: Windowpane Press, 1996.

 "I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name"

Excerpt from "Ulysses"
Alfred Tennyson.
Seven Poems and Two Translations
Hammersmith: Doves Press, 1902.

See also "Ulysses" Alfred Tennyson. Poems, London: E. Moxon, 1842

Circe from After Flaxman
The Odyssey of Homer
After Flaxman, John and William Blake
London: Longman, Hurst, Rees & Orme, 1805.

Ulyyses and  Diomedes are condemned to the Eigth Circle
Ulysses and Diomedes are condemned to the Eighth Circle.
Inspired from Dante Alighieri, Henry Francis Cary, and William Blake.
The Inferno from La Divina Commedia of Dante Alighieri
New York: Printed by Richard W. Ellis for Cheshire house, 1931.

Colophon to Vlyssea, 1524
Homer. Batrachomyomachia. Hymni. XXXII.
Venetiis: [In aedibvs Aldi, et Andreae Asvlani soceri mense aprili], 1524

See also: Odysses

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Mise en Abyme: Zooming in on Visual Pleasure

You Are Not Alone drawing from Social Me by Sofia Szamosi
Szamosi, Sofia.
Social Me

"There is the satisfaction of being able to look at the image without flinching. There is the pleasure of flinching." (Regarding the pain of others / Sontag, Susan)

Social Me - cover

"My social media box set documents my various attempts over the last two years to understand my complicated relationship to social media and the hidden forces that drive it." (Szamosi, Sofia. Social Me : Sofia Szamosi's Social Media Box Set. New York, New York: Sofia Szamosi, 2018.)

Instagram drawing from Social Me
"Drawing instagram posts is a way for me to re-contextualize and digest images that intrigue or confuse me. I change the medium to give new light and space to these images and words, and unlock layers of meaning."

Food image from Social Me
"Many of the women featured in the Girls on Instagram series are friends who volunteered their posts. Many others are strangers who I found searching through hashtags."

"The word 'girl,' so often pejorative and infantilizing, I use purposefully - the women in my collections are performing girl-dom on a platform that validates their performance. I am interested in the many ways of being and performing 'girl' within the context of social media, how those performances are encouraged and propagated, and how they may be limiting, empowering, or something in between." 

Covers for Girls and Their Food, Girls and Their Bodies, and Girls Making Faces

See also: Szamosi, Sofia. #Metoo on Instagram : One Year Later.  New York, N.Y: Sofia Szamosi, 2018.

Image frm Snitch by Shan Agid
Agid, Shana. Snitch

"Snitch is a pop-up book about surveillance. More specifically, it is about the ways people talk about it and how. This continues even as many people resist some forms of surveillance. We help it operate every day. While the explosion of new surveillance in recent years is daunting, this book focuses on long-standing, common-sense ideas about what we should be afraid of, and how that helps sell the idea that expected forms of surveillance make us safer." (Booklyn website)

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Bad Boys & Girls: Neither Outsider Art nor Marginal Art

Image of Kim Kardashian with white overlay
Cancelled Kim

Tebbe, Felice and Kardashian, Kim. Not Once : I Am Selfish. New York: Booklyn, 2017. 

"This is about a theft of a book from an exhibition at a not-for-profit for book arts. This book was stolen. It was in an exhibition honoring its publisher. The question here is, who is the artist of Kim's selfish book? Is it the lady who belabored 509 pages? Or is it the surgeon who made the first & the latest cuts into Kim's skin? Or, was it her domineering mother/manager, or the magazine editors, a.k.a., Anna Wintour? Is she the cutter of Kim's skin? Or, is it Kim's own thirst for fame? Who is the true designer of her surgeries? Kim is a cutter of her own skin, she just hires surgeons to cut her." -- Felice Tebbe, 2017 (Booklyn website).

Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and others with white overlays


Images from Homoerotic Art of Pavel Tchelitchev

Tchelitchew, Pavel, and  Leddick,David. The Homoerotic Art of Pavel Tchelitchev, 1929-1939 . United States : Asphodel Editions, 2000.

"Certain acts dazzle us and light up blurred surfaces if our eyes are keen enough to see them in a flash, for the beauty of a living thing can be grasped only fleetingly. To pursue it during its changes leads us inevitably to the moment when it ceases, for it cannot last a lifetime. And to analyze it, that is, to pursue it in time with the sight and the imagination, is to view it in its decline, for after the thrilling moment in which it reveals itself it diminishes in intensity. I have lost that child's face." -- Genet, Miracle of the Rose.


Let's Play!: Composite image with three pages - title page, A Creative Genius, Fun For Everyone

Duyck, Chip. Let’s Play! : Coloring and Activity Book, Based on the Life of Jean Genet . New York: Picture Books, 2005.

"An unlikely character for a coloring book, Jean Genet has never looked more friendly and approachable than he does in Let's Play!. Drawn in the simplified cartoon style of so many "educational" books for children, the robberies, prison stints, gambling tables, beggars, lice, and tattoos pictured on these pages teach children about a world beyond the reach of their scribbling scrabbling crayons." See also: Off coloring book.


Title Page and first page of My Thieving

Duyck, Chip. M[y] Thieving [journal] : a Story of Jean Genet. New York: Picture Books, 2005.

"Jean Genet has spoken to me with surprising lucidity about life, love and morality. He saw beauty in the grotesque and elevated it to the status of a diamond. When I look through this diamond, I see life with a unique clarity and brilliance." -- Chip Duyck (Booklyn web site)

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Haptics: The Terrain Between Accessible Design and Universal Design

Atlas of the United States - title page

Image of title page from the Atlas of the United States : printed for the use of the blind by S.G. Howe. Rare Book G1200 .H7 1837

Map of New Hampshire in Boston Line Type

Image of a map of New Hampshire printed without ink in Boston Line Type. 

Needlework - Sentiments

Image of needlework from a collection with text: "Sentiments, signed." Manuscript 001924 See also: Laura Bridgman hand work (doilies, carving): MS-1207. Hanover (N.H.) Historical Society records, folder 17, box 23.

Laura Bridgman

Image of Laura Bridgman. Laura Bridgman and S.G. Howe worked extensively together, including at the Perkins School for the Blind.

Consider: Touch This Page

'Perkins Archives partnered with Northeastern and Harvard Universities to create "Touch This Page! Making Sense of the Ways We Read," an exhibition about multisensory experiences of reading. The exhibit focuses on the work of Perkins founder Samuel Gridley Howe, who developed a tactile form of the print alphabet known as Boston Line Type. Included on the website are 3D printed copies of Perkins Archives artifacts that are available for download.'

Citation: Special Issue on Tactile Fluency. Future Reflections, volume 38, number 2 (2019). National Federation of the Blind. National Organization of Parents of Blind Children.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

I Like the Cut of Your Jib: Fathom & Fetish, Illustrated Editions of Moby Dick

Call Me Ishamel in Emojis
Pixelation & Material Textuality:
Prosumer and Peer Production.

Emoji Dick, or, The whale / by Herman Melville ; edited and compiled by Fred Benenson ; translation by Amazon Mechanical Turk.  "Emoji Dick is a crowd sourced and crowd funded translation of Herman Melville's Moby Dick into Japanese emoticons called emoji. Each of the book's approximately 10,000 sentences has been translated three times by an Amazon Mechanical Turk worker. These results have been voted upon by another set of workers and the most popular version of each sentence has been selected for inclusion in this book. In total, over eight hundred people spent approximately 3,795,980 seconds working to create this book. Each worker was paid five cents per translation and two cents per vote per translation. The funds to pay the Amazon Turk workers and print the initial run of this book were from eighty three people over the course of thirty days using the funding platform Kickstarter."--About this book.

What The White Whale Was to Ahab in Emojis
Poe’s Law or Digimodernism?


Seeing histories in the literary canon:

The first London edition, The whale (title-page) / The whale; or, Moby Dick (half-title page), published in three volumes by Richard Bentley in October of 1851 was not illustrated, except for a whale, stamped in gold, on the spine. The first American edition, Moby-Dick; or, The whale published in one volume in November of 1851 by Harper and Brothers was not illustrated.

Neither a sperm whale, nor white: The first sighting of Moby Dick?

Several decades later, in the late 19th and early 20th century, four black-and-white illustrations designed by A. Burnham Shute were used in several of the earliest illustrated editions. Soon after, another four black-and-white illustrations by I.W. Taber were published for a Scribner’s illustrated edition. Twelve paintings by Mead Schaeffer were used for one of the earliest color-illustrated editions, around 1923. [Rauner holds each of the items mentioned in Seeing histories for you to explore].

Kent Rockwell illustration from Moby Dick showing Moby Dick beneath rowboat.
Deeper meanings
and body texts.
Moby Dick as a symbol
Hardcovers: Binding and meaning.
See also (unbound):
Collection of proofs of illustrations
for the Lakeside Press edition of
Moby Dick.

“...the unspeakable unspoken may reveal those texts to have deeper meaning, deeper and other power, deeper and other significances. One such writer, in particular, who has been almost impossible to keep under lock and key is Herman Melville.”--Page 139-140. "Unspeakable Things Unspoken" / Toni Morrison.

Cover from Barry Moser's Moby Dick
Dust jackets:
skins and wrappers.

A different tack: unmoored, aloof 😊

See also (Rauner blogs and exhibits):

Reference: Images of Moby-Dick. Department of Special Collections. University of Kansas. 1995.

Consider: Elizabeth Schultz. "The new art of Moby-Dick." Leviathan. Volume 21, Number 1, March 2019.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Speculative Fiction & Contingency: Aubrey Beardsley, Toni Morrison and Edgar Allan Poe engaging in the archives

Cover design for Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales by Aubrey Beardsley (Unpublished)

Cover design for
Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales
by Aubrey Beardsley

A mystery: What would Poe's reactions be to the illustrated edition by Beardsley?

In this case, the illustrations to a particular text are removed from their context as illustrations and seen as stand-alone images, whether published or unpublished (Illustrations to Edgar Allan Poe from Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley. Indianapolis: Privately printed for the Aubrey Beardsley Club, 1925. Rauner Illus B38i). Some authors illustrate their own works, others identify the illustrator and also exercise editorial decisions concerning the illustrations (see variations: Alice's Adventures in Transatlantic Publishing) and other authors have no say in illustrated editions, though editors and publishers do.

A specific voice, placed and displaced in technology.

Cassette of Toni Morrison speaking. July 30, 1986. Reading excerpt from Beloved
Another type of mystery: The label would suggest one could hear Toni Morrison reading Beloved at Dartmouth in 1986. Given that Beloved was published in 1987, one wonders what version she would be reading or from what actual artifact, typescript or manuscript, etc. It is quite possible that this very specific version of Toni Morrison speaking at Dartmouth in 1986 has been unheard except for the original individuals attending the reading. [Dartmouth College, Provost records (DA-7). Montgomery Fellowship Recordings, 1980-1996. Audio cassette recording of lectures by Montgomery Fellows, 1983-1986.] (Note: We do need to create “use copies” from some media, such as magnetic-based recordings).

The works of Edgar Allan Poe (unpublished, incomplete).

A collection of correspondence and 12 volumes in various stages of development (illustrators, forewords, etc. uncertain), that was never published.

Another mystery: How to include in a chronologically earlier “complete works” the unnamed, incomplete, and unfinished last story of Poe that is referred to as The light-house and what can artifacts of unpublished, perhaps unseen, versions of other works tell us? See Rauner manuscript MS 577.

Collaboration and engagement in the spaces of the archives: Toni Morrison engaging with the unnamed fragment by Poe. Poe and Beardsley reading and listening to Beloved. You now reading an edition of Beloved, illustrated by Beardsley with a foreword by Poe?

Navigating archives : Systemic structuring of spaces : Fragments & Lacunas.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Vanishing: Making of an Extinction Crisis

Poster from the exhibit featuring animals and scientists related to the issue of extinction
The last mass extinction, leading to the destruction of the dinosaurs, was caused by an asteroid colliding with earth around 66 million years ago. The blame for the next one lies much closer to home - with us. Soon, all that might be left of some of the planet’s 1 million species at risk of going extinct in the next century are specimens, photographs, and memories contained within archives and museum collections. As human actions lead to the extirpation of an increasing number of the world’s plants and animals, the burning question remains: what do we really lose when a species disappears, and is there anything we can do to slow or halt extinction in the age of the Anthropocene?

An online exhibit curated and designed by Alexander W. Cotnoir ’19, the 2019-2020 Edward Connery Lathem ’51 Special Collections Fellow, seeks to answer some of these complex questions, including how we arrived at where we are today using historical examples. Hopefully, by learning from the past we can change our direction in the future.

You can visit the exhibit online here: