Friday, January 31, 2014

More Tasso News

Dario Rivarossa reports the translation of Torquato Tasso's Il Mondo Creato is proceeding smoothly: Canto/Day II is nearly completed.  Also, on Wednesday Dario posted a brief review of Fabio Pittorru's Tasso bio: Torquato Tasso. L'uomo, il poeta, il cortigiano [The Man, the Poet, the Courtier], which can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Speculative Fictions Issue Zero

The first issue of Gareth Jackson's Speculative Fictions is now available to view online (free download).

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Progressive Haiku #1

Mitigates dystopia
Drink the gall slowly

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Philip K. Dick

Tessa B. Dick, widow of writer Philip K. Dick, recommends the following as one of the best films on her late husband's life and work.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Why I do not follow William Blake

From my essay "Fractal Fantasies of Transformation: William Blake, Michael Moorcock, and the Utilities of Mythographic Shamanism."
As Francis Bacon says, “human understanding is of its own nature prone to suppose the existence of more order and regularity in the world than it finds. And though there be many things in nature which are singular and unmatched, yet it devises for them parallels and conjugates and relatives which do not exist” (1620, 50). A fully competent and reflexive mythographic system is keen to highlight and analyze these illusionary specters of understanding. Although cognizant of such spectral manifestations and willing to document them in grotesque and sensational detail, in his larger figure Blake embraces the process of inspiration, apostasy, and intuition in toto, offering as his Parnassus-scaling model a kind of hallucinating noble-savage-with-a-pen. From this heroic perch he casually reduces and rejects even the most sensible cultivation, characterizing it as merely the prevailing neoclassic cant of his rivals in the art world of late-eighteenth-century London. In this consideration Blake is a reactionary antimodernist who uses poetry in a scientific attempt to “return” people to a unified state with the cosmos. He sees the transformational nature of myth as the message itself, an esoteric, pseudoscientific “proof” of epistemic relativism that leaves the world in a shattered and fractured state—a bright, blistering, and gaudy “ultra-modern” universe of exotic sensation and psychological distraction—and thus he has been variously championed, embellished, and imitated by the inhabitants of such spheres. There is, and make no mistake, a price to be paid for achieving unity with the cosmos. Ultimately Blake’s follower is left stranded in a Hobbesian universe whose laws are mechanical, fixed, and inviolable—where the poetical facility, once so full of promise, is reduced to a simple tool for food-gathering, conflict, or escape. Milton, on the other hand, is content to remain alienated and slug it out with existence, so long as observation, reason, and inspiration accompany him for consolation, for in that universe—let’s call it a Lockean universe—the human being is liberated from the mechanism of the cosmos, and rather than being joined with the cosmos is instead separate and free to discover the secrets of the mechanism in order to transcend it. It is this Lockean universe to which Moorcock’s elaborate mythography is tending. It is very possible that Moorcock’s extensive mythic production, when taken collectively, portrays the transformation from the Hobbesian worldview to the Lockean.
The essay originally appeared as a chapter in New Boundaries in Political Science Fiction, Hassler and Wilcox, U of South Carolina Press, 2008.

Monday, January 13, 2014

working on something new

International Authors editor and Emanations contributor Hayden Westfield-Bell is working on something new.   Please click here.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I recommend...

...Dario Rivarossa's description of recent works (a film and a graphic book) based on Herman Melville's Moby-Dick:

Off Topic: Mobile Deck

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What is Beauty?

You cannot prove an aesthetic proposition. Ergo, all propositions regarding beauty, its definition, its criteria, and its essence are subjective; that is, a matter of opinion (what Locke would call an "indifferent matter").  This position is implicit in the latin motto, De gustibus non est disputandum.

According to Wikipedia, "De gustibus non est disputandum is a Latin maxim meaning 'In matters of taste, there can be no disputes' (literally, 'There is no disputing of tastes')."

This agrees with what Locke means by indifferent matters.

And hence also the notion from analytic philosophy that logic cannot prove aesthetic propositions.

Of course, things become controversial when this exclusion is applied to moral, internal, and external/empirical propositions. As I suggest to my students, propositions that are not analytic* and therefore cannot be proven with logic are matters of politics and poetic speculation.  They are not the material of philosophy, but of myth.

Consider Frank Zappa's mythological elaborations, presented as audio extrapolations, in the following propositions:

1) Beauty is a Lie

2) Beauty is a French
Phonetic corruption
Of a short cloth
Neck ornament
Currently in

Elsewhere, however, Zappa suggests that beauty (or some thing we might call "beauty") can be achieved in a composition by likening the composition to a mobile, and subjecting it to the physical rules which govern mobile construction. Under this paradigm, the components of a composition should move around and balance like the arms and weights of a turning mobile.

* "A triangle has three sides" is an analytic proposition.  It can be proven with logic and hence is a proper matter for philosophical discussion. Of course, this relegates philosophy to the examination of some pretty mundane subjects; ergo, to kill time between arguing over analytic propositions, analytic philosophers can occupy themselves explaining to students why philosophers have nothing to contribute to our understanding of moral, internal, external/empirical, and aesthetic propositions--the point of departure, incidentally, for all highbrow activity.  Non est ad astra mollis e terris via.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Lord Horror: A History Of Savoy Publishing

British poet, fiction writer and publisher Michael Butterworth is no stranger to Highbrow readers. Micheal's poetry and fiction appear in the first three volumes of Emanations, and it will be found in Emanations IV, which will be out later this year.

Several months ago, Michael was featured in a two-part interview with Philip Murray-Lawson. In the interview Philip and Michael discuss New Worlds, Emanations, publishing, and the fine arts. The interview can be viewed through the following links:  PART IPART II.

I also recommend Carol Huston's essay on Micheal's work with Savoy Books. Please click HERE.

Yes, that does say "Wittgenstein" above the lighted windows in the lower left.