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Posts Tagged ‘Edgar Allan Poe’

Poe in Bronze, and Other News

April 14, 2014 | by

poe statue

The clay model of Stefanie Rocknak’s proposed Edgar Allan Poe statue. Photo via My Modern Met

  • This fall, Boston plans to erect an impressive new statue of Edgar Allan Poe: a raven at his side, a veiny heart tumbling from his “trunk full of ideas,” his coat billowing in the wind.
  • Against the word relatable: “It presumes that the speaker’s experiences and tastes are common and normative … It’s shorthand that masquerades as description. Without knowing why you find something ‘relatable,’ I know nothing about either you or it.”
  • Futurologists are almost always wrong … The future has become a land-grab for Wall Street and for the more dubious hot gospellers who have plagued America since its inception and who are now preaching to the world.”
  • Why are so many young-adult novels set in dystopias? “The complete collapse of the narrative of what a secure future looks like for today’s young people … [has] fostered a generational anxiety about how to cope with overmighty state power.”
  • In case you missed it—last week, “a German fisherman pulled a 101-year-old message in a bottle out of the Baltic Sea.” (It was not, thankfully, an SOS to the world.)
  • “In the recent history of American music, there’s no figure parallel to Tom Lehrer in his effortless ascent to fame, his trajectory into the heart of the culture—and then his quiet, amiable, inexplicable departure.”

 

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From the Margins

January 23, 2014 | by

marginalia

A rainbow-colored beast from the margins of a fifteenth-century text. Image via the Public Domain Review.

In college, I was excited to discover a student-produced, fly-by-night zine called “From the Margins.” I don’t know what’s more embarrassing: that I assumed it was devoted to marginalia or that I was seriously juiced about the idea. When I opened its creased, xeroxed pages, though, I found it was devoted not to literal margins but to my school’s “disenfranchised peoples,” most of whom struck me as too well-heeled to feel put out.

In any case, this month has granted my wish: it’s seen some great attention paid to margins, the kind on paper. Open Culture featured Dostoevsky’s manuscript doodles, which demonstrate not just his remarkable penmanship but also an affinity for faces and architecture. (The former, to no one’s surprise, are deeply melancholy.) The Public Domain Review resurfaced some rainbow-colored beasts “found in a book of hours attributed to an artist of the Ghent-Bruges school and dating from the late fifteenth century,” and Brain Pickings resurfaced a piece about Edgar Allan Poe, “history’s greatest champion of marginalia.” Poe is indeed unreserved in his praise; he also suggests, “If you wish to forget anything upon the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”

Oh, that Poe! He’s a regular Mark Twain.

Last, Sam Anderson and David Rees have defaced, or, uh, annotated, a copy of Dan Brown’s Inferno, much to its benefit. There’s a lot of comfort in seeing—next to such atrocious lines of dialogue as “Don’t let her beauty fool you, she is a dangerous foe”—the red, hateful tendrils of a handwritten EAT SHIT.

It’s exactly the sort of thing I’d hoped to find in “From the Margins.”

 

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A Mountain of Sable Plumes

January 22, 2014 | by

strawberry-hill

Strawberry Hill, Walpole’s Gothic revivalist manor, in Twickenham.

Earlier this week, to commemorate Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday, Flavorpill found ten Gothic short stories for our delectation, and I must say, they’re really hitting the spot. January is especially well suited to the tint of the Gothic mindset—nothing helps you settle into the winter doldrums like an unceasing parade of bloodied knives, thousand-yard stares, disemboweled corpses, creaking doors, and shrieking virgins. It’s enough to make you want to sunder a frilled shirt and drink rancid port from a tarnished silver chalice, muttering all the while about the gloaming, the gloaming, the gloaming

And let’s not forget the funereal knell of church bells. You’ll want those, too.

If you really want to whip yourself into a Gothic froth, I recommend The Castle of Otranto, Horace Walpole’s 1764 novel, widely regarded as the forebear of the Gothic proper. It’s not “good,” exactly—you won’t find independent booksellers foisting it on you as a forgotten classic—but it packs a lot of senseless murk into a slim volume, and it features one of my favorite opening scenes in all of literature: a homely young man is crushed to death by a giant helmet, which seems to have fallen from the sky. Read More »

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One Man’s Trash, and Other News

November 7, 2013 | by

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  • Discarded books from the Birmingham Public Library become the basis for a series of pieces by local artists.
  • P. D. James claims to have solved a 1931 cold case in the course of researching a mystery. In 1841, Edgar Allan Poe’s literary gumshoeing was less successful.
  • The rise of Denglisch—and the introduction of words like shitstorm and cashcow into the German lexicon—is understandably controversial.
  • Here are some bookish wedding cakes. We feel like that last one is really the cake of a match made in heaven. Mazel tov!
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    Edgar Allan Ho, and Other News

    October 31, 2013 | by

    edalholarge

  • This would either confuse an alien who had just set foot on Earth, or maybe explain everything: the NSA haiku generator.
  • Along similar lines: Edgar Allan Ho, which BoingBoing has anointed Best Sexy Costume 2013. (As the creator of the admittedly theoretical Sexy Struwwelpeter, I respectfully disagree.)
  • The Life of Frederick Douglass: A Graphic Novel comes to Kickstarter.
  • According to the Common Core guidelines, The Hunger Games is more complex than The Grapes of Wrath. (But, plotwise, it sort of is, no?)
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    J. D. Salinger on a Cruise, and Other News

    October 8, 2013 | by

    Love-Boat-Paris-Review

  • J. D. Salinger worked as an entertainment director on a luxury liner. And other odd jobs of literary greats.
  • “Few readers know that Edgar had an older brother. Typically going by the name Henry, he was a poet, like his famous sibling, and a hard-drinking sailor.” At Page Turner, an investigation of early Poe.
  • Vogue UK has launched the Vogue On … Designers book series.
  • “Rather like a modern foreign correspondent, he had his area of expertise that he was keen to emphasize.” On the “shaggy-dog stories” of Herodotus
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