Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A hackneyed theme... or is it?

"Vanitas"  Attributed to Juan de Valdés Leal

A hackneyed theme, but the expressions in the owl's eyes is worth a moment.
Rather than "vanitas", the theme I see represented here is melancholy and tragedy.  Considering our condition in this sphere, our aspirations are not vanity, but instead expressions of courage, faith, and an earnest character. When combined with gentle manners, stillness and keen thoughtfulness, our work is profound in every possible way.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Professor Hodges and his copy of Echoes

My International Authors colleague Horace Jeffery Hodges is considering where on his bookshelf to place his copy of Echoes, as well as considering where to place it in the cannon of world literature, or so it would seem.  Please click HERE.

Professor Hodges and daughter Sa-Rah

Saturday, November 10, 2018

After Echoes

The manuscripts of volumes II and III  of the Invisible Tower Trilogy are in good form.  I am cautiously optimistic I will be able to have both books out--possibly published simultaneously--by mid-Summer, 2019.

Although I am not presently committed to publishing them at the same time, the "aesthetic dynamics" of the trilogy suggest to me that this could be a good idea.

Meanwhile, Emantaions 7 is at T-minus six weeks and counting...

Friday, November 9, 2018

Joyriding the Maelstrom: L. Sterns Newburg reviews Echoes

L. Sterns Newburg has posted an Amazon review of Echoes. Here it is:
Joyriding the Maelstrom
This book is quite a wild ride. Ostensibly a novel centered on a protagonist named Bronson Bodine, in fact it presents a kaleidoscope of images and scenes that function at one level as an episodic narrative that seems to perpetuate the tropes of speculative fiction, and in at the same time, in a Nabokovian manner, plays post-modern games that subvert those old tropes.

It is constructed out of narrative blocks that are apparently disjointed, but which cohere to form an image of what seems to be a mythic presentation of the modern technological hero -- but it keeps mutating from bloc to bloc, ultimately leaving us with questions about those tropes, and the world they represent in the kaleidoscopic fragments.

What ultimately gives the work its unity is Kaplan's prose, which is his most persuasive tool, and his rather Nabokovian sense of humor, which produces genuine mirth at the most unexpected places.

I do not know if the author intended the work to use the paste-up method of Burroughs and Ballard, but there are aspects of the book that remind me of that technique. However, the book is persistently and eloquently without verbal murkiness, and there seems nothing gratuitous or random about the work, even at its most poetically puzzling.

I look forward to seeing the next volume. I'd give this volume of the proposed work a 4 1/2, but I have hopes for the subsequent volumes.
Please click HERE to visit the US Amazon page for Echoes.

"Descent into the Maelstrom" by Harry Clark, 1919

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Review: M-A Berthier's Some Rumor of Strange Adventures

Some Rumor of Strange Adventures is challenging at many levels. For some readers, these challenges could represent a problem appreciating the novel. In most cases, however, the author’s extraordinary skills allow him to succeed, and regardless of how very close he comes to the edge of the aesthetic cliff. The book is set on the campus of a curious provincial university that somehow (miraculously, some would say) represents both a first-rate learning institution and a swamp of academic grotesques. The fictional Jason Gould University does not read like a contemporary institution—the professors seem far too competent in their fields, as well exhibiting an eclectic understanding of the humanities that seems like a survival of a by-gone era, if not actually the expression of author Berthier’s own broad reading and knowledge. A person who is as intellectually expansive as the professors in this novel would not be a professor, but rather a savant of some kind who would be unsuited for an academic life and academic politics; a person like Berthier, in fact, who, in addition to being a polyglot possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of European literature, is a PhD in Physics working “at a high level” in Silicon Valley. One wonders if Berthier is representing a liberal arts college of the 1960s or 70s (evidently drawing upon his own experience), and as well using the setting of a university to exercise his own vast learning and his own critical views—which are acerbic and, in the final analysis, aberrantly amusing. Now, I don’t wish to imply these characteristics in any way represent blemishes upon the surface of the story; nor is there anything anachronistic about the “old school” feel of Jason Gould University—the narrator makes it very clear that the story he tells describes events taking place thirty years before.

Another challenge readers will encounter is the protagonist--with the absurd name Nimrod Rothschild--who, in addition to coming from a criminal family, is himself a violent sociopath with “liberated” sexual mores, which moreover are as unbridled as his ability to rapidly absorb—and formulate opinions upon—the most abstruse bits of learning his professors can throw at him. This incongruous juxtaposition of narcissism and erudition is perhaps the author’s most striking and challenging achievement. Along these lines, bear in mind, too, that this is not a romance or a narratological battery of psychological conceptions. Indeed, it is a fiction rooted in that “modern” prospectus of the novel that the most boring prig should approve—Henry James, say, would admire this work for its formal mastery. Nevertheless, this novel exceeds its grounding in modernist aesthetics, and one wonders if, just maybe, Berthier is pulling—that is YANKING--the legs of the very same specialists he finds himself among, and whom he represents.

Enjoying a novel is a matter of taste; nevertheless, in the case of a true work of art, it is incumbent upon readers to set aside their aesthetic preferences and, come what may, allow an author to produce his effects. Peculiar intellectual combinations, anti-heroes, and transgressive scenarios are not always successful strategies, and sometimes they can fail miserably. In this novel, however, Berthier is able to achieve notable (dare I say “new”?) artistic effects, which will interest serious readers of cultured and intelligent literature.

Please click HERE to view the Amazon page.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Colonial Adventure

Loire 130 hydroavion by Standa Hajek

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Modernist Dream, Redux

“We're in the business of designing buildings for businessmen who put up buildings for other businessmen.”

    --Architect Richard Roth, Jr., quoted in Meredith L. Clausen, The Pan Am Building and the Shattering of the Modernist Dream, p.185.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Echoes reviewed on Amazon France

The French Amazon page for Echoes has a new review of the book.  Here it is:

I really enjoyed Echoes. It recounts the deliriously slapstick adventures of Bronson Bodine, the Invisible Tower's top (not‒so‒secret) agent as he battles his (and possibly our) archenemies who are... Well, we're never quite sure who. Then again, we never really learn what the Invisible Tower is... Or the true motives of their enigmatic, less than human leader, Eddie Allan...

Echoes, I should point out, is the first volume of a trilogy.

What really scotched me was the vigour of author Carter Kaplan's imagination. Of course, there are influences: Bodine might be a second‒cousin‒not‒so‒far removed of Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius and, at one point, he (Bodine) gorily dissects a Lovecraftian monster ‒ as surgery is one of Bodine's many destructive enthusiasms, expect other characters to fall fodder to his scalpel. But Carter Kaplan transcends his influences by the incandescent quality of his prose, his wit, and a gift for satire the equal of anyone.

These odd, funny, non‒sequitur chapters make me think of elaborately crafted artefacts cast upon our shores from some fifth‒dimension tsunami... Well worth your picking up.

Please click HERE to view the page.

Please click HERE to visit the US Amazon page for Echoes.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Quick Report

I find if you work it right you can get energy out of editing. If you feel good about the work, it pulls you along. It really helps when the people you work with are excited about the project, too. 

Meanwhile, it is important not to get behind the "power curve". If you don't pace yourself, you can be like an airplane in a dive without sufficient speed or thrust to pull up. This Summer, I worked on my novel Echoes and Emanations 7. The novel was giving me energy but I was still putting energy into it, and also putting energy into E7, which calls upon a different set of creative energies. A novel is your own world, your own ontology.  On the other hand, a complex and sprawling collaboration like Emanations requires working with and around other peoples' energies and ontologies.  Not a difficult task, but one especially has to respect the "power curve" when working in this (the editorial and collaborative) mode.

Anyway... When school started end of August I was knackered. From August to mid-October, I was performing involved textual manipulations for Emanations 7--it has been necessary to format some of the text in PDF, and then paste the text (as jpeg images) into the master file. The manipulations meant I had to to "think backwards" as I prepared and pasted the images into the book. I'll leave that to peoples' imaginations. Suffice it to say that E7 will have some pretty intriguing stuff in it. The book will offer really strong writing and curious images, and also it will be an innovative object in its own right.

I am waiting for two illustrations, and then the interior of the book will be done.  The art work for the cover is ready, and the cover will come together quickly.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Bell 222 Haiku

Throbs rising in pitch
Shifting aircraft leaves the Earth
Leaping into ascent

Landing gear retract smartly
Thundering  image

Streamline enclosure
Circumscribed by whirring lift
Flashing through the sky

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hayabusa-2 Telemetry

The Japanese Hayabusa-2 spacecraft has been busy investigating 162173 Ryugu, an asteroid in near-Earth orbit. To view telemetry from the spacecraft, please click HERE.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Mothra Haiku

Magic fairies sing
“Mothra, justify our cries!”
Shadow in the Moon

Day is born from night
A giant moth lays her egg
Promises are made

Tokyo Tower
Bracing the fibrous cocoon
Patient larva waits

Mothra will emerge
From a caterpillar dream
Cherry blossom time

Colors in the sky
Sweeping winds across the bay
Mothra’s curled wings spread

Monday, October 22, 2018

Dr. Serizawa Haiku

Godzilla must go
Dred oxygen destroyer
Serizawa weeps

Facts, data, a choice
Scientists humble themselves
Loss and departure

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Echoes at the WAH Center Permanent Collection III Opening

In an October 15 posting, I advised Highbrow readers that the "Permanent Collection III" show at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center was opening this weekend.  My International Authors colleague Bienvenido Bañez, Jr. has sent along the following images of my new novel Echoes, which made it to the floor of the exhibition.

 To purchase Echoes, please click HERE.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bienvenido Bañez, Jr. MMM Exhibit Video

As I reported in Highbrow on August 27, 2018, the work of painter Bienvenido Bañez, Jr. was featured this summer at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

The following video was part of that instillation.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Echoes in Paris

Today, Philip Murray-Lawson sent me this pic of his new copy of Echoes.

Several years ago, Philip interviewed me for his blog, Evolution's Everywhere.  Please click HERE.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Permanent Collection Exhibit Part III

A new show titled Permanent Collection Part 3 opens next weekend at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center in New York City. The exhibition features over 160 works from 100 artists in the Permanent Collection of the Yuko Nii Foundation. In addition to works from the Collection, artists  will display recent work in order to highlight how their projects have evolved, both as expressions of the artists' techniques, and as expressions of changes in the cultural and historical context.

The opening reception will be held Saturday October 21, 4-6 pm.

To learn more about the show, The WAH Center and the Yuko Nii Foundation, please clock HERE.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Duotrope listing for Emanations


Duotrope provides a listing of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art markets. Please click HERE to view the Emanations listing.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Mil Mi-26 Haiku

First with eight blades
A rotary wing marvel
Soviet hero

Twin truboshaft might
Inviolable purpose
Dialectic fumes

We board with great plans
To Siberia we fly
The Commissar waves

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Piasecki H-16 Haiku

Blades in perspective
Reach out across an image
The photo reveals

Behind the windscreen
The craft has aspired to lift
Eyes into the sky

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The "theoretical basis" of Aristotle's Ethics: a correction to technocratic discourse in Ethics

Often in the contemporary conversation regarding Aristotle's ethics, there is a linguistic error made that suggests that Aristotle's moral philosophy is "theoretically based" on the teleological assumption that everything has an end-cause. The implication, embedded in such language, suggests Aristotle is being "scientific" when he says we are impelled toward the good, toward thriving, toward happiness. Actually, when Aristotle advances the teleological argument at the beginning of the Nichomachean Ethics, he is pretty tentative about it, and moreover he quickly walks away from it and treats the phenomenon and criterion of eudemonia as self-evident. In the Eudemian Ethics, he doesn't even bother to go through the motions of discussing teleology, and--after rapidly (though clearly and reasonably) saying that the goal and criterion of eudemonia is self-evident--he goes directly into his discussion of eudemonia.

Eudemonia is the Greek word for the good, thriving, happiness, and it is exactly what Jefferson and Locke are saying, respectively, when they are describing the "pursuit of life, liberty and happiness," and the "pursuit of life, liberty and property." Earlier, in all sorts of ways, Milton is saying the same thing; across his work, this fits into the figure he develops combining Christian charity, God's love, and the purpose--central to the nature of a marriage between a man and a woman--of shared Bible study, intellectual adventure and amorous intimacy.

Ethics is not a matter of theoretical speculation, nor is it an assessment of various theories, as if through an examination of these "theories" we can progress toward a normative or prescriptive moral theory that is legitimately authoritative.  Rather, moral philosophy is the consideration of what is good, and how to achieve it.   Rather than providing rules or guidelines, moral philosophy points the way to improving our ability to act in appropriate ways.

These are interesting matters. Please click the following links for additional highbrow analysis:

Aristotle and the Meaning of Eudaimonia
An Introduction to Modernity, or a few lines on Locke, Jefferson and Milton off the top of my Head

"Adam Inspired by Eve and Rosie Dawn"  Terrance  Lindall

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

On the Comet's Surface

Yes, that is the surface of a comet. Please click HERE for more.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Friday, September 28, 2018

Doctor Mirabilis on the Four Casues of Ignorance

1. Appeals to an unsuited authority.
2. The undue influence of custom.
3. The opinions of the unlearned crowd. 
4. Displays of wisdom that simply cover up ignorance.

Roger Bacon (1214-1294)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Jangling the Keys

We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!
                                ― Arthur Miller, The Crucible 

Friday, September 21, 2018

"Wot, she turned me into a newt!"

What makes you think she is a witch?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Gnostic Heresies

Here are a few lines from Eric Voegelin's The New Science of  Politics: an Introduction.  I've just begun to read Voegelin, but his thesis seems to be that in post-Christian Europe political theorists brought to bear a metaphysical interpretation regarding history and political systems, and that, collectively characterized, these theories reflect the Gnostic heresy regarding the nature of the universe and human history, and the role and character of God in that universe and in that history. Political scientists (philosophers and politicians) in Europe removed the anthropomorphic deity from the Gnostic formulation while retaining the heretical identification of metaphysical forces within the universe, within individuals, and as expressed through history and political and social activity.  Orthodox Christianity secularized the universe, while Gnosticism brought God back into it.  With that, I'll let Voeglin speak for himself:
The attempt at immanentizing the meaning of existence is fundamentally an attempt at bringing our knowledge of transcendence into a firmer grip than the cognitio fidei, the cognition of faith, will afford; and Gnostic experiences offer this firmer grip in so far as they are an expansion of the soul to the point where God is drawn into the existence of man. This expansion will engage the various human faculties; and, hence, it is possible to distinguish a range of Gnostic varieties according to the faculty which predominates in the operation of getting this grip on God.  Gnosis may be primarily intellectual and assume the form of speculative penetration of the mystery of creation and existence, as, for instance, in the contemplative gnosis of Hegel or Schelling.  Or it may be primarily emotional and assume the form of an indwelling of divine substance in the human soul, as, for instance, in paracletic sectarian leaders. Or it may be primarily volitional and assume the form of activist redemption of man and society, as in the instance of revolutionary activists like Comte, Marx, or Hitler.  These gnostic experiences, in the amplitude of their variety, are the core of the redivinization of society, for men who fall into these experiences divinize themselves by substituting more massive modes of participation in divinity for faith in the Christian sense.
As I suggested above, orthodox Christianity secularized the universe, while Gnosticism brought God back into it.  Philip K. Dick--who is often wrongly described as a "Gnostic"--was very keen on rejecting the mystical project of Gnosticism, and sought through his novels to illustrate the shortcomings of such fantasias and the people who live in, or who otherwise believe in, such artificial worlds, or who see themselves playing roles in the histories of such worlds--see, for example, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer.

Eric Voegelin

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Φιλεῖ δὲ τίκτειν Ὕβρις μὲν παλαιὰ νεά- ζουσαν ἐν κακοῖς βροτῶν Ὕβριν τότ' ἢ τόθ', ὅτε τὸ κύριον μόλῃ.

But ancient Arrogance, or soon or late,
When strikes the hour ordained by Fate,
Breedeth new Arrogance, which still
Revels, wild wantoner in human ill.

         --Aeschylus, Agamemnon


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Vitasta Raina on the Road

The image of Vitasta Raina in scooter helmet and googles suggests a character out of her novella Writer's Block.

Please click HERE to read reviews of her novella.
Please click HERE to visit Ms. Raina's blog, Urban Exploratory.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Blade Runner Creator Philip K. Dick

Tessa B. Dick, the widow of American novelist Philip K. Dick, recently published a new book, Blade Runner Creator Philip K. Dick.  The book examines the two Blade Runner films, and discusses the novel which inspired them, And Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Additionally, Ms. Dick describes a variety of topics relating to PKD's life and art.   It looks like an instructive--and entertaining--book.

Please click HERE to view the Amazon sales page. 

We are very fortunate to have a section from Ms. Dick's new book in Emanations 7, which will be available soon.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Digital Milton

Terrance Lindall has sent me the following concerning a new book, Digital Milton:
I am pleased to be in the book Digital Milton, which, according to Palgrave..."is the first volume to investigate John Milton in terms of our digital present. It explores the digital environments Milton now inhabits as well as the diverse digital methods that inform how we read, teach, edit, and analyze his works. Some chapters use innovative techniques, such as processing metadata from vast archives of early modern prose, coding Milton’s geographical references on maps, and visualizing debt networks from literature and from life. Other chapters discuss the technologies and platforms shaping how literature reaches us today, from audiobooks to eReaders, from the OED Online to Wikipedia, and from Twitter to YouTube. Digital Milton is the first say on a topic that will become ever more important to scholars, students, and teachers of early modern literature in the years to come."
[Please click HERE to view the book's contents]
I have been digitalizing Milton through the internet for years with videos and on-line magazines, so I am pleased with the recognition that the outstanding Shakespeare and Milton scholar Professor Hugh Macrae Richmond has afforded me in documenting my achievements in past years to promote the Greatest poem in the English language.

In my essay from 2001 "The Epistemological Movement if late 20th Century Art" [please click HERE] I have talked about the digital and although I do not mention Milton, my thoughts actually relate to Milton himself as a poet: 

"It [poetry] is the practicing of the redirection of the energies that form perceptions. But it is not a creative process. It has been determined from the first instant of time in the unfolding of the Historical Will of the mind of God of which we are merely an extension or "aspect." It is an infinite  expansion of potentiality and actuality [Aristotle's Metaphysics]. GOD (WILL), a point of nothingness from which all comes, hovers over the realms of possibility, and on the tabula rasa of our universe imposes order on the ideas (perceptions) generated by the action of possibility becoming actuality. Ultimately we cannot break out of the dualistic world by which we define all things. Quine, up at Harvard, attempted to invent a new logic circumventing the paradoxes inherent in non-contradiction. Mixed results. And since computer thinking is based upon the binary, the computer probably cannot transcend it’s own makeup. In that sense, the whole is no more than the sum of it’s parts. And fractal geometry suggests the same." I now think that with quantum computing this transcendence might be possible.

Undoubtedly it is heresy to say that Milton's poetry is not a creative act. But Milton himself might not deem me incorrect. After all, did he not have a guide in his "HEAVENLY MUSE?" And, did not Dante have a guide in Virgil? Even Plato in his theory of forms said everything in our world is a reflection of perfect ideas. Undoubtedly I am, as quoted in the Digital Milton book, "...radical and nonconformist." I am not writing and painting to be accepted in our time, but to examine issues in my own way...inspired by my own muse! Unfortunately, progressive thinkers who esteem "tolerance and inclusiveness" on Milton Lists could not tolerate my ideas
                                                                  - Terrance Lindall

This sounds interesting.

Milton receiving the gift of poetry from God, Terrance Lindall

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Profile Updated

My short bio--to the right of the screen--has been updated.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Dürer's Polyhedron

Dürer's famous engraving Melancholia I has long prompted interesting commentary, as well as outlandish "occult" interpretations.  Here is the engraving.  By clicking, a large image will appear:

A brief article on a Web site called The Strange World of Albrecht Dürer provides a key to some of the symbols in the image:


Hammer: Carpenter
Compass: Mathematician
Putto with notebook: Grammarian
Keys: Power
Purse: Wealth
Bell: Eternity
Bat: Darkness. Boiled bats were recommended by the ancients as a remedy for melancholy
Wreath: Made from a plant which was believed to be a cure for excessive melancholy
Comet: Sign of Saturn, the god affiliated with melancholy
Magic square: Orderliness of numbers, each line (horizontal, vertical, diagonal) adds up to 34. Thought to be a talisman to attract Jupiter (The god who could heal the effects of Saturn)
1514: The year of the death of Dürer’s mother. Also the date of this print
Interestingly enough, the block shape--the polyhedron--is not addressed here. The curious shape (and possible meaning) of that block, however, is very much worth dilating upon.  A recent article "Scientists Have Discovered an Entirely New Shape, And It Was Hiding in Your Cells" suggests some new possibilities for considering Dürer's polyhedron. The article describes a three-dimensional shape called the scutoid, which is described as the "twisted prism" shape of cells in epithelial tissue. Here, from the article, is an image of a pair of scutoids:

Is Dürer's polyhedorn an epithelial cell?  Clicking the article title above might prove interesting. In the meantime, an older (and possibly the first "academic") analysis of Dürer's polyhedorn can be found in an appendix from Saturn and Melancholy by Raymond Klibansky, Erwin Panofsky and Fritz Saxl. Published in 1964 by Thomas Nelson & Sons. The manuscript had been in development for years, building upon a monograph Panofsky published in the 1920s.  Here are the pages making up that appendix. They are large enough to read if they are clicked.

Happy investigations.