Sunday, December 21, 2014

Studio 1652

International Authors editor Vitasta Raina and her partner Akshay Shrinagesh have launched a new center for urban planning, architectural design, speculative research and graphic arts.

Here is the description from their new website:
Studio 1652 seeks to walk through the invisible walls between art, architecture, urban science, communication design and speculative research, and view the world in a holistic manner, rather than separated by closed door fields of learning.

We believe in Systems Thinking of understanding problems as parts of an overall whole, rather than in isolation, focusing on cyclical cause and effect, linkages and interactions, to develop long-term sustainable solutions.
Please click HERE to view the Studio 1652 website.

Please click HERE to visit the Amazon page for Vitasta's novella, Writer's Block.

l. to r. Anil Dhingra from Decor India, Akshay Shrinagesh and Vitasta Raina

Friday, December 19, 2014

Taking Blake too Seriously

As I suggested eleven months ago in a Highbrow memorandum, there is a "risk" in taking William Blake too seriously. Further thoughts along these lines:
I find him inspiring, full of anthropological and psychological insights, but I am also weary of where he can lead his admirers. The more I read about him the more I am skeptical. As a  philosopher, he is not as rigorous as his exuberance might suggest. On Locke, for example, his criticisms are over the top and he is dead wrong, and then on top of his haughty and sanctimonious declamations he equivocates--perhaps he realized he was in over his head? A survey of his work and his "claims" demonstrates that he does a lot of equivocating. Along these lines, somewhere he says he is not interested in being precise or accurate, but is rather interested in "consistency"--I take it that he means he is more interested in producing an "impressive composition" than he is in expressing philosophical understanding. I think his claims concerning his superiority to Milton have deceived people. He is no where near Milton as a scholar, a theologian, a historian, a politician, a psychologist, a philologist, a philosopher, an anthropologist, a poet, a professional, a well-connected man of the world, a revolutionary, or what have you. Also, his stuff in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell about Milton being of the devil's party is absurd... But many people take this as a point of departure for claiming Satan is the hero of Paradise Lost. There is a little too much Rousseau in Blake. At a Blake conference someone more knowledgeable than me explained that as the French Revolution went south and plunged into violence, Blake stopped printing Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Blake was withdrawing from the moral relativism and claims for the veracity of "passion" that Marriage espouses. Also, the biographers present ample evidence that Blake wrote some pretty absurd advertisements for his shows in which he made over-the-top claims about himself, his genius, and his prophetic powers. People in the late-18th century art word laughed at this horn blowing, and it seems to me their laughter was justified.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"A Naval Nobody"

In 1878, young naval officer leveled a number of criticisms against the system of education in the Royal Navy. These criticisms were published in Macmillan's magazine:
I call the whole system of our naval education utterly faulty . . . I say that we, the Navy's youth, are in some professional matters most deplorably ignorant, and the day will come when we, and England, will wake up to the fact with a start. It sounds impossible, inconceivable, that it is only a privileged few who are allowed to make a study of gunnery . . . only a privileged few who are initaited into the mysteries of torpedoes; only a privileged few who are taught . . . surveying and navigation; not even a privileged few who are taught the science of steam, and yet all this is so!
In order to protect the anonymity of the young officer, the authorship of the article was ascribed to "A Naval Nobody".  The author was Lieutenant John Jellicoe, future Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet in the Great War.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Professor Poochigian: "Why Study the Humanities?"

All the humanities do is study the human being as a conscious creature. All the other disciplines study the human as an unconscious creature. There are jobs in studying the human as an unconscious creature. There are no jobs in studying the human as a conscious creature. Why is simple. As conscious, the human has intrinsic value. Having intrinsic value, there are limits to which the human can be employed as a means of satisfying economic interests. As unconscious, the human has instrumental value. Having instrumental value, there are no limits to which the human can be employed as a means of satisfying economic interests.

                                                -- Donald Poochigian

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Geminids Memorandum

Dear Colleagues:

I usually send a memorandum in October, but things have been busy. Here are recent International Authors developments:

1) The Michael Butterworth show is coming to the United States. The books, curios, posters, prints, relics and sundry eclectic materials comprising the show will be on view in the Kent State University library beginning mid-January, 2015. Wednesday March 5, Professor Donald "Mack" Hassler will deliver a lecture on experimental literature, fine arts and Michael's work. A description of the show and a variety of related links can be viewed in a blog post by Jeffery Hodges.

2) The International Authors translation of Torquato Tasso's Il mondo creato (Creation of the World) is proceeding in good order. The translation and editing team members--Dario Rivarossa, Prof. Salwa Khoddam, and myself--are more than half way through the 300+ page poem. This new English-language translation featuring illustrations by the "Magic Trio" (Dario Rivarossa, Tiziana "Selkis” Grassi, and Eva “Nivalis” Nieri) should be out in the first half of 2015. A section from Day 5, "The Poem of the Phoenix" will appear in the verse section of Emanations V. Dario's blog is a good source for the latest news.

3) International Authors has published an anthology of Fantasy Literature entitled Fantasy Worlds. The book is now available through Amazon. The book is on the reading list for a sophomore-level literature course that I am teaching Spring Semester 2015. The course is called, appropriately enough, "Fantasy Worlds". I am happy to say that among many seminal works of fantasy literature, the book contains fiction penned by members of our community, including Elkie Riches, Robert Meadley, and Gareth Jackson. Visit the Amazon sales page(s) here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Euro

The contents can be viewed HERE.

4) In Spring Semester 2014 at Kent State University, Emanations: Thrid Eye was on the reading list for Mack Hassler's Freshman Forum in the Kent Honors Program. Story and pictures HERE.

5) A number of outstanding submissions have been received for Emanations V. Submissions are still being accepted; the Call can be viewed HERE.

6) On behalf of International Authors, I am donating a complete set of our titles to the Belmont College library. This effort is still evolving, but it looks like a newspaper article will emerge. More on this development to come.

7) International Authors is supporting the publication of Steve Aylett's forthcoming book The Heart of the Original. Many thanks to Elkie Riches and C. E. (Chris) Matthews for their generous assistance. A description of Steve's project can be viewed HERE.

8) I want to underscore my thanks and appreciation. As well, I wish to apologize if I have not gotten back to you in a timely manner. Along these same lines , I wish to double-underscore that nothwithstanding the terrific editorial support I receive (and let me again thank Holly Baumgartner, Elkie Riches, Jeffery Hodges, Kai Robb, Dario Rivarossa, Mike Chivers, Michael Butterworth, Gareth Jackson, and Mack Hassler for all their tremendous efforts) many facets of Emanations production remain a "one-man operation." I try to accommodate everyone as best I can, but sometimes the exigencies that characterize a seven-day-work-week require me to demur, hide, remain passive, walk in the woods, or what have you. I want this to be a good experience for all concerned. If you wish to contact me with your concerns, please do so. The facebook page devoted to International Authors is an active and useful forum, and it is always available to test ideas, work through ideas, and so on. The IA web site contains links to the various members of the editorial board, and so affords other avenues for communication. Along these lines, please use the contacts represented by our consortium to develop projects for publication. As in all things: communicate, get to know each other, stay in touch, keep the channels open.

Best wishes for the holidays and the solstice,

Carter Kaplan

Friday, December 5, 2014

International Authors in Florence

I just received these photos of IA editorial board members Dario Rivarossa and Mack Hassler meeting in Firenze--with entourage.

Mack, Paola, and Dario before Ponte Vecchio.

Sue, Dario and Paola before the Duomo. Dario can lecture on architecture and sign books at the same time.

Now time to eat...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fantasy Worlds is now available

Fantasy Words is International Authors' anthology of fantastic fiction, poetry and essays for very intelligent students.  Please click HERE to view the Amazon sales page.


  Sedna, Mistress of the Underworld
  A Story of Oki Islands
  from The Iliad Book 1.1-52
  from The Iliad Book 18.202-214
  from The Iliad Book 18.462-616
  from The Odyssey Book 11
  from Paradise Lost Book 1.1-330
  from Paradise Lost Book 2.614-1055
  The Hall of Fantasy
  Young Goodman Brown
  from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
  The Tyger
  The world is too much with us
  I wandered lonely as a cloud
  On First looking into Chapman’s Homer
  Le Belles Dame sans Merci: A Ballad
  The Lady of Shalott
  The Kraken
  Sailing to Byzantium
  The Second Coming
  W. B. Yeats
  The Scientists Take Over
  The Yellow Wallpaper
  The Country of the Blind
  The Crystal Egg
  The Call of Cthulhu
  from Supernatural Horror in Literature
  The City of the Singing Flame
  Beware the Subtle World
  Meeting Dr. Malthusian
  Everything Changes

Friday, November 28, 2014

Gledhow Valley Woods Controversy

A correspondent asks people to post comments to a blog that's been set up to save the beech trees of Gledhow Valley Woods.  Please click HERE.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Embarkation of the Pilgrims at Delft Haven, Holland, July 22, 1620 by Robert Weir

Weir's painting depicts the Pilgrims aboard Speedwell before their departure for the New World from Delft Haven, Holland, on July 22, 1620:  William Brewster, holding the Bible, and pastor John Robinson leading Governor Carver, William Bradford, Miles Standish, and their families.

Mayflower and Speedwell set sail for America on August 15, but Speedwell developed a leak and  both ships turned back for England, landing first at Dartmouth and then at Plymouth. Mayflower set sail for America alone on September 16.  Sixty-six days later the Pilgrims arrive in Massachusetts.  William Bradford writes:
Being thus arived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees & blessed ye God of heaven, who had brought them over ye vast & furious ocean, and delivered them from all ye periles & miseries therof, againe to set their feete on ye firme and stable earth, their proper elemente. And no marvell if they were thus joyefull, seeing wise Seneca was so affected with sailing a few miles on ye coast of his owne Italy; as he affirmed, that he had rather remaine twentie years on his way by land, then pass by sea to any place in a short time; so tedious & dreadfull was ye same unto him.

But hear I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amased at this poore peoples presente condition; and so I thinke will the reader too, when he well considered ye same. Being thus passed ye vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before in their preparation (as may be remembred by yt which wente before), they had now no friends to wellcome them, nor inns to entertaine or refresh their weatherbeaten bodys, no houses or much less townes to repaire too, to seeke for succoure...

Let it also be considred what weake hopes of supply & succoure they left behinde them, yt might bear up their minds in this sade condition and trialls they were under; and they could not but be very smale. It is true, indeed, ye affections & love of their brethren at Leyden was cordiall & entire towards them, but they had litle power to help them, or them selves; and how ye case stode betweene them & ye marchants at their coming away, hath already been declared. What could not sustaine them but ye spirite of God & his grace? May not & ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: Our faithers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this willdernes; but they cried unto ye Lord, and he heard their voyce, and looked on their adversitie…
Verily, as we sit down on this day to the feast of remembrance ponder with all gentle humility those miseries and doubts such as our Fathers overcame,--as well for your spirit's sake, appreciate gladly and mildly that wonderful juicy turkey, those savory potatoes, hardy stuffings, toasted green vegetables, cranberry sauce, steaming rolls and muffins, sparkling beverages, which nourish and vivify our bodies with strength and energy, and pumpkin pie withal!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

La Magia

Tomorrow while many of us are dining upon turkey, Dario Rivarossa will be lecturing on magic and witchcraft for the Dante Alighieri Society.

Please click HERE for Dario's announcement.

And click the following title for Dario's book on the subject:  Dante Was a Fantasy Writer.  Here (from the Amazon page) is Professor Hodges' brief review of that book:
Mr. Rivarossa, a writer of surprising, imaginative insights, is willing to entertain the possibility that many of the features found in current-day fantasy literature are also present in Dante's Divine Comedy. He thus finds not only fairies, elves, dragons, witches, and magical enchantments, but even such Gothic features as vampires and werewolves! Accompanying these speculative re-readings of Dante are Mr. Rivarossa's own illustrations, his imaginative reconstructions of what Dante describes. Always with good humor, Mr. Rivarossa presents his speculations not as indisputable fact -- such would not be worthy of fantasy! -- but as a means of getting us to reconsider what Dante was saying. As a work of imagination that provokes thought, and does so in a lively style, the book receives five stars from me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CBS Radio Workshop: Brave New World (introduced by Aldous Huxley)

Please click HERE to listen to Brave New World and other radio plays.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Butterworth coming to America?

Highbrow readers are familiar with the Butterworth/Savoy Exhibition at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester. Back channel conversation hints that the show will come to North America in 2015.  Watch this space for further developments.

Please click HERE for a description and additional links related to the show.

Please click HERE for Gareth Jackson's photos.

Philip Murray-Lawson's interview with Michael Butterworth:  Part I   Part II

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Nostalgia of the Infinite (2100 BC)

Remains of ziggurat from Uruk honoring Inanna

Je suis le ténébreux, le veuf, l’inconsolé,
Le Prince d’Aquitaine á sa tour abolie… 

                              -- Gérard de Nerval

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Were the Ninevites Stupid?

In the last line of the Book of Jonah, the Lord states there are in Nineveh "more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle."  

Sounds like they were stupid. Nevertheless, earlier they did heed Jonah's warnings and repent of their wickedness. Why, the king himself  "arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes."  We might observe that though they were stupid, verily even in the eyes of the Lord, they were yet capable of doing the right thing, apparently even the king. This can only prompt us to conclude that stupidity and wickedness--notwithstanding what Plato might say--are separate things, but that's material for another blog post, and so here I conclude.

Jonah Considers Nineveh

Monday, November 17, 2014

Are God's Readers Stupid? (trigger warning: wrathful deity, dismayed law-giver, political contention, Charlton Heston...)

Exodus 32.19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.