Monday, December 29, 2014

Test Your Highbrow I.Q.
Can You Draw the Object?

Study the following animation and consider the complex structure that it describes. It is helpful to consider yourself as a point of reference that is moving through the structure.  To confirm your comprehension, draw a diagram of it.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Art of the Christmas Meme

William Blake via Dario Rivarossa: the human family encounters itself in a lively science fiction allusion.

From Tiziana "Selkis" Grassi: indefatigable support for the literature of ideas in the guise of a colorful fantasy:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Expulsion of superstition, nightmares and ghosts: from John Milton's "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity" (1629)

And then at last our bliss [ 165 ]
Full and perfect is,
But now begins; for from this happy day
Th' old Dragon under ground,
In straiter limits bound,
Not half so far casts his usurped sway, [ 170 ]
And wrath to see his Kingdom fail,
Swindges the scaly Horrour of his foulded tail. 

The Oracles are dumm,
No voice or hideous humm
Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving. [ 175 ]
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,
With hollow shreik the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trance, or breathed spell,
Inspire's the pale-ey'd Priest from the prophetic cell. [ 180 ]
The lonely mountains o're,
And the resounding shore,
A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament;
From haunted spring and dale
Edg'd with poplar pale, [ 185 ]
The parting Genius is with sighing sent,
With flowre-inwov'n tresses torn
The Nimphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn. 

In consecrated Earth,
And on the holy Hearth, [ 190 ]
The Lars, and Lemures moan with midnight plaint,
In Urns, and Altars round,
A drear, and dying sound
Affrights the Flamins at their service quaint;
And the chill Marble seems to sweat, [ 195 ]
While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat. 

Peor, and Baalim,
Forsake their Temples dim,
With that twise-batter'd god of Palestine,
And mooned Ashtaroth, [ 200 ]
Heav'ns Queen and Mother both,
Now sits not girt with Tapers holy shine,
The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn,
In vain the Tyrian Maids their wounded Thamuz mourn. 

And sullen Moloch fled, [ 205 ]
Hath left in shadows dred.
His burning Idol all of blackest hue,
In vain with Cymbals ring,
They call the grisly king,
In dismall dance about the furnace blue; [ 210 ]
The brutish gods of Nile as fast,
Isis and Orus, and the Dog Anubis hast. 

Nor is Osiris seen
In Memphian Grove, or Green,
Trampling the unshowr'd Grasse with lowings loud: [ 215 ]
Nor can he be at rest
Within his sacred chest,
Naught but profoundest Hell can be his shroud:
In vain with Timbrel'd Anthems dark
The sable-stoled Sorcerers bear his worshipt Ark. [ 220 ]
He feels from Juda's land
The dredded Infants hand,
The rayes of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
Nor all the gods beside,
Longer dare abide, [ 225 ]
Nor Typhon huge ending in snaky twine:
Our Babe, to shew his Godhead true,
Can in his swadling bands controul the damned crew. 

So when the Sun in bed,
Curtain'd with cloudy red, [ 230 ]
Pillows his chin upon an Orient wave.
The flocking shadows pale
Troop to th' infernall jail,
Each fetter'd Ghost slips to his severall grave,
And the yellow-skirted Fayes [ 235 ]
Fly after the Night-steeds, leaving their Moon-lov'd maze.

Infant Hercules strangling the serpent

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...