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John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
Aaron Bady
Adam Roberts
Amardeep Singh
Andrew Seal
Bill Benzon
Daniel Green
Jonathan Goodwin
Joseph Kugelmass
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Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

Event Archive

cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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About John Holbo

John Holbo is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore. He works on philosophy of literature and literary theory; Wittgenstein and Nietzsche; also, science fiction, fantasy, film, comics; also, more highbrow literary stuff. He blogs at Crooked Timber and John & Belle Have A Blog. Some of his writings are here. The Valve is pretty much his baby, and he's pretty much Editor-in-Chief.

Email Address: jholbo@mac.com
Website: http://examinedlife.typepad.com/johnbelle/

 

Posts by John Holbo

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Comics and Canonicity

Posted by John Holbo on 02/14/08 at 03:23 AM

Readngcom_2

The best work of literary criticism I’ve read this year is Douglas Wolk’s Reading Comics [amazon]. (Obviously I’m biased in favor of the subject matter. But it’s just plain good literary criticism.)

This post is an updated version of something I posted in a private forum, where it garnered lively responses – from Douglas himself, among others. (By the by, who’s up for a Reading Comics book event? Douglas had told me he would appreciate the treatment. The paperback version of his book is coming out in June. Maybe we could do it then. Who’s interested?)

Right. Let me start negatively, picking a nit pertaining to the dust jacket.

“THE FIRST SERIOUS, READABLE, PROVOCATIVE, CANON SMASHING BOOK OF COMICS THEORY AND CRITICISM BY THE LEADING CRITIC IN THE FIELD.

Suddenly, comics are everywhere: a newly matured art-form ..."

OK, stop right there.

The first line of chapter 1: “It’s no longer news that comics have grown up.”

Obviously the dust jacketeer did not bother to read as far the first line of the book itself. Also, it is rather unfortunate that this blurb matter is not merely empirically falsified by the first line of the book but in tension with the previous sentence of the blurb itself. If comics only matured last week, it is hardly likely that, this week, the form has already calcified from tender green sprout into the sort of petrified wood that cries out for ‘canon-smashing’.

Continue reading "Comics and Canonicity"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stop Driving Us Crazy! (Intellects Cool & etc. edition)

Posted by John Holbo on 02/12/08 at 09:14 AM

CartoonmodernSorry for light blogging. I’m going through a non-verbal period. Fortunately, I stocked up on picture books in the event of such an eventuality. Example: Cartoon Modern [amazon], by Amid Amidi, who blogs at Cartoon Brew. It’s lovely, and has sent me scurrying off in satisfactory directions. Example: YouTube has “Stop Driving Us Crazy". (You do want to click that link.)

Basically, it’s a reimagining of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. Sinister Martians ...

image

having exhausted their home planet’s breathable atmosphere ...

image

invade the helpless Earth. And the tripods are stopped ...

image

... not by man’s much-vaunted technology. Not even by the human spirit, but by a different sort of spirit ...

image

A tiny molecule, humble chemical. And yet ...

No, wait. That’s not what it’s about at all. I’ll just quote from the book.

The Department of Motor Vehicles meets Christian morality in Stop Driving Us Crazy (1959), a film commissioned by the Methodist Church [specifically by its ‘General Board of Temperance’]. Reckless driving is sinful, and the right of way is not as important as “God’s Right Way,” according to the film’s lead character, Rusty, an alien from Mars. The sober lesson in vehicular etiquette is tempered not only by its far-out sci-fi setup but by other decidely nonconservative elements, such as the ultraflat, clean shapes of Cliff Robert’s character design and the Hard Bop jazz stylings of Benny Golson and Art Blakey and His Jazz Messengers. The film was directed by Mel Emde at the graphic design firm Creative Arts Studio, an infrequent producer of animation. It is not the most inspired design by Roberts, and the low-budget production prevents thoughtful translation of his designs into animation, but the offbeat marraige of gospel, design and jazz atones for the weaknesses of the film.

I’ll drink to that.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Mann and Little Man

Posted by John Holbo on 02/01/08 at 09:45 AM

As Florizel says, in A Winter’s Tale: “These your unusual weeds to each part of you/Do give a life: no shepherdess, but Flora ...” etc. etc.

In other words, besides all that Mixtec stuff, I’ve also been enjoying the unusual weeds sprouting up in The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora [amazon].

image

Like the Mixtec stuff, there’s a fine site you can visit. It doesn’t really take a lot of explaining, so I won’t. But here’s a thing. Read the page about The Little Man Press, which he tried to start up in the depths of the Depression.

image

During the spring of 1938 I happened upon Bob Lowry, or rather, I should say, he happened on me. He came to the [Art] academy [of Cincinnati] looking for an artist to help him establish the Little Man Press. I was intrigued by his verve and the wild look in his eyes. Lowry had been a child prodigy and was enormously talented. We found an immediate rapport, and I became co-founder of The Little Man Press.

We had no money so we decided to sell subscriptions to our nonexistent magazine. We tackled and browbeat everyone we knew and then sold subscriptions on the campus of the University of Cincinnati.

I think $100 is what we paid for an old 8” x 10” Chandler and Price platen treadle press. It was a vintage piece of machinery but capable of excellent work. We also invested in a few fonts of Baskerville type, some ink and paper, and began to publish. We had only enough type to set two pages at a time. It was thus necessary to learn to calculate space very accurately. We were forced to set and print the first and last pages of our booklets, then break up the type and set the second and the next to last page and so on, until we met in the middle.

Lowry wrote many of our items in the basement we called our pressroom and immediately set them in type. I carved wood engravings, woodcuts, and linocuts because we couldn’t afford photoengraving.

That’s some painful print discipline. You can see some of the illustrations online. The book contains a lot more. I love this stuff. And - to get to the punchline: apparently the first issue of Little Man contained “a testimonial letter from Thomas Mann”. A couple months ago I made a post “Thomas Mann, fanboy", musing at my surprise that he was so appreciative of the woodcuts of Masereel. Anyway, it’s interesting to find that he appreciated crazy American DIY ‘zine versions of the same.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Codex Nuttall: Hooked On Boustrophedonics!

Posted by John Holbo on 01/30/08 at 09:13 AM

I’ve been browsing - rereading would, I guess be too strong a word - my dear old Dover edition of the The Codex Nuttall. I mention this because I recently found a fine site. A German publisher that has brought out a line of facsimiles of ancient Mesoamerican ‘codices’ has made them available online. I would dearly love to have one (I’m sure they are rather expensive); because, if you don’t know, the originals aren’t really ‘books’. They are screenfolds - that is, very long, accordion-folding, two sided, illustrated ... picturebook, call them what you will: screenfolds. Courtesy of wikipedia, a picture of the Codex Nuttall (a.k.a. the Codex Zouche-Nuttall) in the British Museum.

image

The screenfold is 94 pages, folded. Over 11 meters, unfolded. The online images are ok for viewing (though one always wishes the file sizes were bigger). You read from right to left, boustrophedonically - that is, as the bull ploughs. The red dividing lines visible on most of the pages - this one, for example - are, indeed, panel dividers. Obviously I am attracted to this stuff because it’s comics. (At least I’m predictable. ) From the Introduction to the Dover edition I learn that the church authorities in Rome examined the codex and concluded: “the document was probably intended for the amusement of children but was so foolish that it could only bore them”. I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, another anecdote. Sometimes comics-folk try to make out that the Bayeux Tapestry is an early, if not the earliest, example of the ‘comic’ form - what Scott McCloud calls ‘sequential visual art’. Obviously these codices fit into that media scheme, and they are older than the tapestry (but not as old as all the Egyptian stuff). Anyway, apparently John Constable - yes, the landscape painter - agreed. In 1833 he gave a lecture on the history of painting, in which he singled out the Bayeux Tapestry as the absolute nadir of visual art. Or rather, almost the worst. Apparently he had seen a reproduction of certain ‘Mexican codices’ and had to admit they were, indeed, worse than the tapestry.

Continue reading "Codex Nuttall: Hooked On Boustrophedonics!"

Friday, January 18, 2008

Black Dossier, Top Ten, Stepmother

Posted by John Holbo on 01/18/08 at 08:12 AM

Finished Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier [amazon]. Jonathan asked what I think is going on at the end. Well, some sort of Prospero-Dionysus in 3-D thing. Clearly. Possibly this page contains some hints and/or spoilers.

Here’s an interview with Moore:

The planet of the imagination is as old as we are. It has been humanity’s constant companion with all of its fictional locations, like Mount Olympus and the gods, and since we first came down from the trees, basically. It seems very important, otherwise, we wouldn’t have it. Fiction is clearly one of the first things that we do when we stand upright as a species - we tell each other stories. Now, Nature doesn’t do things for decorative purposes, except like giving peacocks wonderful plumage so they can attract a mate, but since there seems to be little point to telling each other stories all the time — except there must be. We have depended upon them and to some degree the fictional world is completely intertwined and interdependent with the material world. A lot of the dreams that shape us and, presumably, our world leaders, are fictions. When we’re growing up, we perhaps base ourselves on an ideal, and even if that ideal is a real living person, there is every chance that living person may have based themselves on a fictional ideal. This is actually ground that we do cover in ‘The Black Dossier,’ and in the final soliloquy, which is delivered by Duke Prospero. We’re talking about this very thing: the interdependence between the world of fiction and the world of fact. It is something that interests me, and has come to dominate my thinking on the series. I’m not exactly sure why, but it feels as if it might be important.

As it so happens, I was just having the kids read “On Truth and Lie in an Extramoral Sense”. Plus bits of Birth of Tragedy. It all fits together.

I enjoyed Dossier, but not as much as other Alan Moore stuff - including quite recent stuff. I think Top Ten: The Forty-Niners [amazon] is better, for example. And, in many ways, it’s thematically similar. It’s not just that Top Ten is more comprehensible. It seems to me it’s more organically constructed, and the deadpan banter is more dead-on. Dossier feels like Moore just trying his hand at genre parodies and stringing them together. Oh, it’s fun, don’t get me wrong. I think in a way the sheer audacity of throwing so many fictional elements together in Dossier leaves them not enough time and space and language to simmer together into some truly satisfying soup.

Continue reading "Black Dossier, Top Ten, Stepmother"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Just So

Posted by John Holbo on 01/15/08 at 07:53 AM

Do you know what the funniest bit in Kipling’s Just So Stories is? No, not that bit, Best Beloved.  (That’s not the funniest.)

‘You’ve given the Three extra work ever since Monday morning, all on account of your ‘scruciating idleness,’ said the Djinn; and he went on thinking Magics, with his chin in his hand.

‘Humph!’ said the Camel.

‘I shouldn’t say that again if I were you,’ said the Djinn; you might say it once too often. Bubbles, I want you to work.’

That’s right, it’s the fact that the Djinn of All Deserts calls the camel ‘Bubbles’. And just that one time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Authority and Authenticity

Posted by John Holbo on 01/13/08 at 07:42 PM

Interesting bit from an interview with a Pixar animator:

Talking about the differences between Pixar and Studio Ghibli, we end up discussing Casarosa’s fortunate position of having been able to visit Studio Ghibli. In one of his related blog posts he mentions* he and Miyazaki were discussing story and the different ways in which Pixar and Ghibli find their stories to tell.

“Well, as I was just saying, the process here is very much one of doing and redoing, making things better step by step. It involves a willingness to pick apart the movie and its themes. This constant editing and refining can be frustrating at times. The huge difference is that at Ghibli storyboards are done by the director and they are followed without exception. So you find a very different way of doing things there, the studio and its artists are following the leader’s vision without deliberation, editing or feedback necessary. Incidentally it sounds like Suzuki-san might be the only person at Ghibli able to have a discussion with Miyazaki-san regarding the story or characters of the movie they’re producing. In this setting though Miyazaki is free to go on his own journey finding the movie he wants to tell, bit by bit. The result are stories that are more fully personal and hold an authenticity and uniqueness which is close to impossible to achieve in the US, where a story, in the best case scenario, is well crafted by several gifted people while in the worse case scenario is made by committee. I think that’s what is great about many projects coming from Japan, with their own merits or faults, they possess an unwavering will to stick to their director’s vision. The stories are allowed to be more idiosyncratic that way and that is what I personally find inspiring and refreshing.

The whole reality of making animated movies in the US seems quite different. These films are expensive and thus need to appeal to a wide audience. That in itself tends to make many studios and their managers tense up. That is the unfortunate catch 22, the bigger the budget the more the results need to appease a huge audience and usually have a blander the flavor. Pixar overall is a wonderful exception within those terms but it still works with high stakes at hand.

via cartoonbrew.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Was Nietzsche a Closet Straussian

Posted by John Holbo on 01/10/08 at 07:40 AM

No, not Leo. David.

I’m preparing to teach Nietzsche again - always the most fun class to teach. I’ve written before about how there seem to be odd, early occurrences of the doctrine of Eternal Recurrence. In preparing for my first lecture I just noticed another. I’m rereading Untimely Meditations, which is where I choose to start. Usually I do a bit of “Uses and Disadvantages” and several sections of “Schopenhauer as Educator”, my two favorites. But this time I decided to reread “David Strauss, the Confessor and the Writer”. Nietzsche glowers and generally chews the scenery in response to Strauss’ inane, philistine, think-positive attitude (§6):

There is one passage in the confessional book in which this incurable optimism goes strolling along with a downright holiday air of complacency (pp. 142-3). ‘If the world is a thing that it were better did not exist,’ says Struass, ‘well then, the thought of the philosopher, which constitutes a piece of this world, is a thought that it were better was not thought. The pessimistic philosopher does not see that he declares his own thought bad when his thought declares the world bad; but if a thought which declares the world bad is itself bad thinking, then the world is, on the contrary, good. Optimism may as a rule make things too easy for itself, and here Schopenhauer’s insistence on the role which pain and evil play in the world is quite in order; but every true philosophy is necessarily optimistic, since otherwise it denies its own right to exist.’ If this refutation of Schopenhauer is not the same as that which in another place Strauss calls a ‘refutation to the loud rejoicing of the higher spheres’, then I do not and understand this theatrical expression, which he once employed against an opponent. (Hollingdale trans.)

And yet this argument of Strauss’ is quite like the one Nietzsche himself eventually - years later - comes around to, indeed identifies as his own central teaching: as a condition of affirming the self, one must affirm everything about the world. Optimism as amor fati. Maybe I’ll finish this thought later. (I realize just saying this is not going to be clear unless you are already familiar with Nietzsche on Eternal Recurrence.)

He goes on to criticize, in bitterest terms, two other lines he himself pushes years later. First, Strauss makes the argument that, since suffering is a condition of Beethoven’s genius, we must affirm that suffering as a good thing, since we affirm Beethoven’s genius as a good thing. Then Nietzsche gets even more tightly wound when Strauss suggests that Christianity originated in a “preceding surfeit of sexual indulgence of all kinds and the disgust and nausea that resulted.” Christianity as Katzenjammer [hangover]. Nietzsche, on how we should respond to Strauss saying such things: “We, however, turn aside for a moment to overcome our disgust.” And yet Nietzsche himself says very similar things years later. Curious.

OK, for the uninitiated, here is Nietzsche’s most famous statement on Eternal Recurrence (although it is hardly clear, just standing by itself). From The Gay Science (§341):

The greatest weight: - What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence - even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!”

Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: “You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.” If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, “Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?” would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?"

Another clue - perhaps an acknowledgement of the Strauss connection, or at least of the source of his original revulsion at this idea: Zarathustra’s animals tell him he is the teacher of Eternal Recurrence and he calls them buffoons and accuses them of turning his teaching into a Leierlied. That is, a pop tune. A bit of feel-good, optimistic fluff, rather than the abyss of thought it should be recognized to be.

I’m still working through The Black Dossier. Very Nietzschean, the scene in which 3,000 year old Orlando drinks to the bombing of London, reflects on all the senseless ‘smudges’ made by the stupid thumb of history. Affirms it all, because he has enjoyed being Orlando.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Repeating Forms In Nature

Posted by John Holbo on 01/09/08 at 09:37 AM

Last night I was reading Sean Carroll, Endless Forms Most Beautiful:

There are famous cases of polydactylism in history, including Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII, who apparently had an extra nail on one hand.

Tonight, to take a break from all that, Alan Moore, The Black Dossier:

It seemed only natural that Henry VIII should take King Oberon’s second cousin, the distinctly Faery-blooded Anne Boleyn, with her protuberent eyes and a sixth finger on each hand, to be his second wife.

You see: that’s the trouble with books. Tell me something new! Transport me to another era, away from this dull present. Or give me news I can use. What do the books always say? Anne Boleyn had six fingers, Anne Boleyn had six fingers. Some say there are six basic story-types. Ridiculous! Anne Boleyn had six fingers. The end. I’m very inclined to a neo-Batesonian theory that all books are just made up of repetitions and transformations of the fact that Anne Boleyn had six fingers.

You may say the man who is tired of the fact that Anne Boleyn may have had six fingers on her hand is tired of life. Well then, I am weary, internet, I am weary.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Cogito: the Void Called Subject

Posted by John Holbo on 01/04/08 at 09:56 AM

OK, Adam Kotsko objected that I should have known that, for Zizek, ‘Cartesian cogito’ “does not name the argument, but one aspect of subjectivity, which Zizek takes to be more originary and important: namely, the sheer abyss of self-relating negativity.” This doesn’t exactly fit with the discussion in Zizek’s paper. When Zizek says things like “the link between the emergency of cogito and the disintegration and loss of substantial communal identities is thus inherent, and this holds even more for Spinoza than for Descartes” and “Spinoza criticized the Cartesian cogito, he criticized it as a positive ontological entity,” it doesn’t make much sense to suppose that both Spinoza and Descartes were commentators on Zizek. But clearly Adam is right that Zizek is sort of mixing up the history with his own philosophy of mind, and so we ought to just get on with that. Adam cites Tarrying With the Negative [amazon - with search inside]. And, picking that one up, dusting it off - well yes, “Part I: Cogito - the Void Called Subject”. I hadn’t remembered.

Continue reading "Cogito: the Void Called Subject"

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Zizek on the Cogito

Posted by John Holbo on 01/03/08 at 08:31 AM

There’s a Zizek essay on “Tolerance” up in Critical Inquiry‘s ‘rough cuts’ sections.

I’m not done yet, and it isn’t all bad - but it isn’t good. For example, there’s this:

The main feature of cogito is its insubstantial character: “It cannot be spoken of positively; no sooner than it is, its function is lost.” Cogito is not a substantial entity, but a pure structural function, an empty place - as such, it can only emerge in the interstices of substantial communal systems. The link between the emergency of cogito and the disintegration and loss of substantial communal ...

OK. Cut. That’s rough enough.

Continue reading "Zizek on the Cogito"

Monday, December 31, 2007

The Phenomenology of Christmas

Posted by John Holbo on 12/31/07 at 07:32 PM

From John Crowley, Little, Big [amazon]:

“Christmas," said Doctor Drinkwater as his red-cheeked face sped smoothly toward Smoky’s, “is a kind of day, like no other in the year, that doesn’t seem to succeed the days it follows, if you see what I mean.” ...

“I mean,” Doctor Drinkwater said, reappearing beside him, “that every Christmas seems to follow immediately after the last one; all the months that came between don’t figure in. Christmases succeed each other, not the falls they follow.”

“That’s right,” said Mother, making stately progress around. Behind her, like the wooden ducklings attached to wooden ducks, she drew her two granddaughters. “It seems you just get through one and there’s another.”

“Mmmm,” said Doc. “Not what I mean exactly."

The noetic-noematic structure of Christmas - its peculiarly trans-annual protentive-retentive character - is an appallingly neglected subject in contemporary phenomenology. And grabbing people by the lapels and barking this intelligence in their face doesn’t seem to help. There is no reasoning with a certain class of thinker.

I suppose the tree will have to come down today. I’m going to be dull and say: I had a really great Christmas season this year, very wisely spent it by not blogging too much. Indeed, neither writing nor reading much. I feel considerably restored and am expectant of a Happy New Year. And a Happy New Year to you, too.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Very Serious Post

Posted by John Holbo on 12/30/07 at 12:44 PM

Harrumph. I’d better feed the blog before it dies. (I’ve been trying to cut back, y’see. Get some silly personal projects done.)

My daughter, Zoë, has invented the world’s most awesome superhero: Mademoiselle Moneypipe. She’s a French, beret-wearing young lady who has the power to transform into a waterpipe that shoots ... money. Coins, bearing the profile of Mlle herself. And after you’ve firehosed the villains into submission, you can spend it. It seemed a good time to introduce some basic monetary concepts. Zoë thought about it and declared: “Mademoiselle Moneypipe has the power to make coins whose value is resistant to inflation.”

I’ll be back in a day or so with still more serious literary blogging.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Shakespearean Christmas Comedy

Posted by John Holbo on 12/24/07 at 08:58 AM

From Love’s Labour Lost:

I see the trick on’t: here was a consent,
Knowing aforehand of our merriment,
To dash it like a Christmas comedy:
Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight zany,
Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some Dick,
That smiles his cheek in years and knows the trick
To make my lady laugh when she’s disposed,
Told our intents before; which once disclosed,
The ladies did change favours: and then we,
Following the signs, woo’d but the sign of she.

I’ve never made a serious attempt to figure out what the hell all the lines in this play are on about. Lots of obscure references. The play was apparently first performed as a Christmas comedy in 1597. But that just pushes the question back: why was this the sort of thing you went to see at Christmas? What were Elizabethan conventions of Christmas comedy? Lots of mistaken identity hijinx? Anyone have any clever information on the subject?

Merry X-Mas, all!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

And so in the end it was the littlest shoggoth of all who guided Santa’s sleigh that night

Posted by John Holbo on 12/20/07 at 03:48 PM

X-Posted at Crooked Timber (I don’t usually do that, but it’s X-Mas and this is important.)

Kunstcover

I’ve made you some free X-Mas cards and gift tags!

Printables!

Just like the ones your kids alway waste the good paper on! So there’s never any when you need it! But before I give you the download links, I have some explaining to do.

The world is filthy with X-Mas cards, says you. Well, I think mine are rather special and nice. They are based on visual elements extracted from Ernst Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur (1904). A very famous and beautiful work. Wikicommons has some lovely pictures. You know what I like best about that cover? (Thanks for asking, and feel free to click for larger.)

I like the fact that ‘Leipzig und Wien’ is in a sans serif font. Somehow that makes it perfect.

Continue reading "And so in the end it was the littlest shoggoth of all who guided Santa’s sleigh that night"
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