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"Method of this work:
literary montage.
I have nothing to say only to show."
(Passagenwerk (1927 - 1940) - Walter Benjamin)

2005, Jun 15; 10:48 ::: Gothic and ruins

Castle Montearagon, Spain
image sourced here., more images from that site.

In a way similiar to the Neo-gothic rejection of the aesthetics of the neoclassical it became linked with a rejection of the reason and logic associated with said style in the form of appreciation of the joys of extreme emotion and the sublime. The ruins of gothic buildings gave rise to these emotions by indicating the inevitable decay and collapse of human creations, thus the craze for building fake ruined churches on English country estates as part of landscape architecture. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_novel#Origins_of_the_gothic_novel [Jun 2005]

see also: gothic - castle - architecture

2005, Jun 15; 10:21 ::: The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) - Ann Ward Radcliffe

The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) - Ann Ward Radcliffe [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
A best-seller in its day and a potent influence on Sade, Poe, and other purveyors of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Gothic horror, The Mysteries of Udolpho remains one of the most important works in the history of European fiction. After Emily St. Aubuert is imprisoned by her evil guardian, Count Montoni, in his gloomy medieval fortress in the Appenines, terror becomes the order of the day. With its dream-like plot and hallucinatory rendering of its characters' psycological states, The Mysteries of Udolpho is a fascinating challenge to contemporary readers.

About the Author
Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) was the leading writer of Gothic fiction of her time. During her lifetime, she published five novels as well as a collection of European travel writings, though she only made one foreign journey.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Ann Radcliffe From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the 19th-century author. For the 17th century benefactor of Harvard, see Ann (Radcliffe) Mowlson.

Ann Radcliffe
Ann Radcliffe (July 9, 1764 - February 7, 1823) was an English author, a pioneer of the gothic novel.

She was born Ann Ward in Holborn, London, England. She married William Radcliffe, an editor for the English Chronicle, at Bath in 1788. To amuse herself, she began to write fiction, an avocation her husband encouraged.

She published The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne in 1789. This set the tone for the majority of her work, which tended to involve innocent, but heroic young women who find themselves in gloomy, mysterious castles ruled by even more mysterious barons with dark pasts.

Her works were extremely popular among the upper class and the growing middle class especially among young women. Her works included The Sicilian Romance (1790), The Romance of the Forest (1791), The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), and The Italian (1796).

The success of The Romance of the Forest established Radcliffe as the leading exponent of the historical Gothic romance. Her later novels met with even greater attention, and produced many imitators, and famously, Jane Austen's burlesque of The Mysteries of Udolpho in Northanger Abbey, as well as influencing the works of Sir Walter Scott and Mary Wollstonecraft.

She died on February 7, 1823 from respiratory problems probably caused by pneumonia.

Radcliffe's influence on later writers:

  • Jane Austen
  • William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Sir Walter Scott
  • Wordsworth
  • Coleridge
  • Shelley
  • Keats
  • Byron
  • Dickens's Little Dorrit (1855-7)
  • Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White (1860)
  • Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847)
  • Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca (1938)
  • Witold Gombrowicz's Possessed, or The Secret of Myslotch: A Gothic Novel (1939)
  • Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Oval Portrait" drew from Udolpho and mentions Radcliffe by name (somewhat disparagingly) in the introduction.
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Radcliffe [Jun 2005]

Ann Radcliffe and Salvator Rosa
Ann Radcliffe was greatly influenced by the Italian landscape painter, Salvator Rosa. Where Rosa applied brush strokes, Radcliffe wove words.

Salvator Rosa (1615-73), 17th century Italian landscape painter, created dramatic landscapes peopled with peasants and banditti. Like the works of Ann Radcliffe, who he heavily influenced, Rosa intended to create a feeling of awe and the sublime in the minds of his audience. The works of Rosa, together with those of less dramatic landscape artists, Claude Lorraine (1600-82), Gaspard Poussin (1615-75), Domenico Zampieri (1581-1641), were very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. The landscapes of the Italian artist and architect Domenico Zampieri greatly influenced those of Claude and Poussin. All receive mention in the novels of Ann Radcliffe. --http://www.heureka.clara.net/art/radcliff.htm [Jun 2005]

see also: gothic novel

2005, Jun 15; 10:01 ::: Salvator Rosa (1615 - 1673)

Landscape with Tobias and the Angel (ca. 1660-73) - Salvator Rosa

Salvator Rosa (1615 - March 15, 1673) was an Italian painter and poet of the Neapolitan school.

He was born in Arenella, in the outskirts of Naples: the precise day is given as June 20, and also July 21. His father, Vito Antonio de Rosa, a land surveyor, was bent upon making the youth a lawyer, or else a priest, and sent him to study in the convent of the Somaschi fathers. Here Salvator began showing a turn for art: he went in secret to his maternal uncle Paolo Greco to learn the practice of painting, but soon found that Greco had little pictorial lore to impart, so he transferred himself to his own brother-in-law Francesco Fracanzaro, a pupil of Ribera, and afterwards had some practice under Ribera himself.

Above all he went to nature, frequenting the Neapolitan coast, and keeping his eyes open and his hand busy. At the age of seventeen he lost his father; the widow was left unprovided for, with at least five children, and Salvator found himself immersed in a sea of troubles and perplexities, with nothing for the while to stem them except a buoyant and adventurous temperament. He obtained some instruction under the battle-painter Aniello Falcone, but chiefly painted in solitude, haunting romantic and desolate spots, beaches, mountains, caverns, verdure-clad recesses.

Hence he became in process of time the initiator of romantic landscape, with a special turn for scenes of strange or picturesque aspect often turbulent and rugged, at times grand, and with suggestions of the sublime. He picked up scanty doles when he could get them, and his early landscapes sold for a few pence to petty dealers. The first person to discover that Rosas work was not as trumpery as it was cheap was the painter Lanfranco, who bought some of the paintings, and advised the youth to go to Rome. Hither in 1635, at the age of twenty, Rosa betook himself; he studied with enthusiasm, but, catching fever, he returned to Naples and Falcone, and for a while painted nothing but battlepieces, and these without exciting any attention. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvator_Rosa [Jun 2005]

2005, Jun 15; 10:01 ::: Counter-Enlightenment

In the history of ideas, the counter-Enlightenment is a name first given by Isaiah Berlin to currents of thought that opposed the rationalist and liberal ideals of the Enlightenment. Berlin's project in a series of essays was the critical recovery of the ideas of Giambattista Vico, Johann Georg Hamann (whom Berlin virtually rediscovered in the essay The Magus of the North: J. G. Hamann and the origins of modern irrationalism), and Johann Gottfried Herder, and an account of their appeal, so foreign to the Enlightenment, and their 19th- and 20th-century consequences. For Berlin and modern historians, the counter-Enlightenment embodies the fundamental irreconcilability of cultural values, including their conflicts within Romanticism, irrationalism, mysticism, and neo-Medieval forms of religious thought.

Major philosophers cited as examples of counter-Enlightenment also include Jean Edouard Millet and Franco Lopez. The term is sometimes used in modern critical theory to describe some of the origins of post-structuralism and postmodernism (especially as a description of Friedrich Nietzsche). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-Enlightenment [Jun 2005]

see also: counter - enlightenment

2005, Jun 14; 23:01 ::: Fictional universe

The Isle of the Dead (1880) - Arnold Böcklin

My real ambition, a large part of what I want to achieve here, [...], is the creation of the Groovy Age of Horror(1) as a kind of escapist fantasy world, sort of like the Hammerscape(2). In a sense, I'd like the story-worlds of all these novels I review to melt into one grand, sleazy, sexy, monster-haunted, cult-ridden, distinctly 1960s-1970s world of groovy horror. And I'd like the images I post--whether paperback covers or fumetti or movie posters or screenshots--to serve as windows on that world. When you come here, I want you to feel like you're going to that place, and when you click away, I want you to feel like you've been somewhere dark, fun, and fascinating. That's the experience I'd love to evoke. --Curt via http://groovyageofhorror.blogspot.com/ [Jun 2005]

(1) http://groovyageofhorror.blogspot.com/
(2) http://www.jasonhenderson.com/introhammer.htm

Fictional universe

A fictional universe is a cohesive fictional world that serves as the setting or backdrop for one or (more commonly) multiple works of fiction. Fictional universes are most common in, but not exclusive to, the science fiction and fantasy genres. Many universes written in one or both of these genres feature physical and metaphysical laws different from our own that allow for magical, psychic and various other types of paranormal phenomena. Although these laws may not be completely internally consistent, they do allow the author to provide some textual explanation for how their imagined world differs from our own. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fictional_universe [May 2005]

see also: fantasy - world

2005, Jun 14; 13:01 ::: Bestiaries and Their Users in the Middle Ages (1998) - Ron Baxter

Bestiaries and Their Users in the Middle Ages (1998) - Ron Baxter [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Scythian Lamb, image unidentified

Book Description
Bestiaries were among the most popular of medieval books, often tediously and lavishly illustrated, but the conditions of their use have until now never been satisfactorily explained. Dr Baxter has undertaken extensive new research into a large corpus of bestiaries, applying modern narrative theory to their texts and images to reveal the messages encoded in them -- messages which were systematically altered as bestiaries were expanded and restructured.

About the Author
Ronald Baxter is a lecturer in medieval art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, and honorary editor of the Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in the British Isles.

The Bestiary
An extraordinary compilation where the paradigmatic struggle between observation and vision so crucial to the Fantastic is constantly played out. By the time of the early Enlightenment, the Bestiary, like its more recnent relative the Encyclopedia, participates in the totalizing intent of a catalogue whose purpose is the scientific understanding of the world. Empirical observation banishes from these increasingly imposing tomes any creatures that have not been observed in their environment. So the unicorn and the dragon, the griffon and the sea serpent, and all their relations take refuge in the annals of folklore, until the fantastic and its adjudant, surrealism, release them once more into literary discourse from the prisons where rational inquiry had consigned them. --http://fantastic.library.cornell.edu/bestiary.php [Jun 2005]

A bestiary is a medieval book that has short descriptions of various real or imaginary animals, birds and even rocks. All of these are often accompanied by a moralising explanation and a picture (which helped educate the illiterate). This reflected the belief that the world itself was literally the Word of God, and that every living thing had its own special meaning. For example, the pelican, which was believed to tear open its breast to bring its young to life with its own blood, was a living representation of Jesus. This kind of symbolism was well known and widespread. Any animals depicted in religious art of the time were not just animals, they were symbols. This kind of bestiary symbolism was also found in church sculpture, where the familiar images would remind the viewer of the story and its allegorical meaning.

Bestiaries were particularly popular in England and France around the 12th century and were mainly compilations of earlier texts, especially the Physiologus and the Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville.

The most well-known bestiary of that time is the Aberdeen Bestiary. There are many others and over 50 manuscripts survive today.

Jorge Luis Borges wrote a modern day bestiary of sorts, the Book of Imaginary Beings, which collects imaginary beasts from bestiaries and fiction. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestiary [Jun 2005]

see also: grotesque - animal - monster - middle ages

2005, Jun 14; 12:38 ::: Paolo Uccello (1397 - 1475)

Paolo di Dono, better known as Paolo Uccello (b.1397 - d.1475) was a painter (and also a creator of mosaics) in the employ and patronage of the powerful Florentine Renaissance family, the Medicis. Uccello is considered the father of the art of the perspective. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paolo_Uccello [Jun 2005]

see also: art - Italy - renaissance

2005, Jun 14; 11:02 ::: Le Quatrieme Sexe (1961) - Michel Wichard, José Bénazéraf

Le Quatrieme Sexe (1961) - Michel Wichard, José Bénazéraf [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

"I had some success with soft movies, but eventually I had to go down into the world of those cheap arseholes - sex film writers and directors who were all completely useless, talentless bastards. They couldn't even serve behind a bar. They had no class, no style, no culture. They put no sophistication into fuck movies and so they committed a kind of autosuicide. Until video came along. And now they add up how much penetration you have on the cassette, how much sodomy, how much S&M - how many minutes of each, and they list that all on the cassette. And so they establish a product. Now the poor girl has to be fucked 22 times every ten minutes by three men and they put all that into the advertising.

"It's [eroticism] a rebellion against the contract of marriage, against society, against religion, against the incredible conservatism all around us today. Now AIDS has frightened people so much it's killed all forms of rebellion, except voyeurism-and that's the success of video. Video and masturbation. --José Bénazéraf interviewed in Immoral Tales (1994)

see also: José Bénazéraf - lesbian - erotic cinema - 1960s

2005, Jun 14; 10:20 ::: Il sexy

Sexy al neon (1962) - Ettore Fecchi

A variation on the mondo film was the “sexy nocturne,” films which exploited female nudity by situating it within a cultish context. Approximately 100 of such films were produced from 1959 to 1970. The francophone countries were the most enthusiastic audiences for the “sexy nocturne.”

The genre was born in Italy with a formula that its creators referred to as the sexy documentary. Alessandro Blasetti got the ball rolling in 1959 with Europa di notte (European Nights) and Io Amo, tu ami (I Love, You Love), proposing to the spectators all that the market of the superfluous and voluptuous could offer. But on close analysis one realizes that the films proceed with a structure that is practically ancient. Like cinema at its birth, the structure attaches itself to the tradition of the fairground spectacle: cabaret and music hall scenes are filmed in their entirety. Like one would expect, nudity dominates and sexuality becomes an exhibition object. However, unlike the naturalist films (nudies) of the 1950s which were marked by the seal of spirituality and ecology, nudity is reclaimed here as an art and profession. The strip teasers being filmed are real dancers. The female sex organ becomes the focal point of the image, capturing the spectator’s eye who imagines a thousand and one fantasies because, despite the strip teasing, the unveiled body still retains an air of mystery.


The “sexy nocturne” becomes easily identifiable, with titles that contain such key words as: women, girls, world, night, and sexy. Out of this arises: Mondo di notte (The World by Night), Sexy al neon, Mondo sexy di notte, Mondo caldo di notte, I piaceri nel mondo, Canzoni di tutto il mondo, Mondo di notte 2, Veneri proibiti, Universo proibito, Sexy ad alta tensione, and many other documentary attractions. As an aside, the actor Franco Interlenghi ventured into the genre as a producer in 1962 with Universo di notte, which starred his Italo-Lebanese wife Antonella Lualdi.


Sometimes these night time reportages are full of falsehoods because they are often fabricated (are we really in Paris, London, Madrid or Hamburg?). The studios of Rome or Milan have often served as locations for the staging of nude scenes.

If at the beginning the “sexy nocturne” displayed, outside of the strip teasers, charming singers and music hall spectacles (ventriloquists, marionettes, acrobats, prestidigitators….), little by little, the striptease soon takes over and constitutes the principal attraction of the films.

During this era the striptease has its beauty queens and develops its own form of star system. Beautiful, sculptural, and with impeccable bodies, these dancers of desire and veritable enchanters, have names like Lady Chinchilla, Rita Hymalaya, Rafa Temporel, Dodo d’Hamburg, Poupée la Rose, Bonita Super, Véronique, Truda, Lova Moor, Bettina Uranium, Sofia Palladium, and Rosa Fumetto. When the mise en scene is not faked, they are filmed direct in the Crazy Horse and the Sexy Club in Paris, and other hot night spots around the world.


The genre no longer exists for reasons which would seem apparent to us today. A change in the direction of erotic cinema has seen its evolution transferred into a cinema of pornography [...] --Elie Castiel via http://www.offscreen.com/biblio/phile/essays/mondo_film/ [Jun 2005]

see also: mondo - documentary film - erotic cinema

2005, Jun 14; 10:05 ::: The exotico-folkloric documentary

[H]owever, this period [1950s] also saw the birth of the exotico-folkoric documentary which, without delay, became successful by exploiting controversial subjects and clandestine ethnography. These two spectacular aspects attracted a credulous public and gave them the illusion of exploring certain bizarre customs that are abundant in our civilisation. In 1955 five people (Leonardo Bonzi, Mario Craveri, Francesco A. Lavagnino, Enrico Gras and Giorgi Moser) inaugurate the series with Continente perduto (Lost Continent, 1954). Curiously, this travesty of a documentary won the Special Critics prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was followed by Magia Verde (Green Magic, 1954) and L’impero del sole (Empire in the Sun, 1955), the second and third parts of the trilogy. If in this era we see a new genre appearing in Italy, that of the documentary feature, it falls within the flashy and the picturesque as well as the superficial and the false. --Elie Castiel via http://www.offscreen.com/biblio/phile/essays/mondo_film/ [Jun 2005]

see also: mondo - documentary film

2005, Jun 13; 23:18 ::: Charles B. Griffith interview

scene from Death Race 2000 (1975)

Death Race 2000 (1975) - Paul Bartel [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Writer and director Charles B. Griffith has been responsible for the recognized best of the Roger Corman productions, including Not of this Earth (1957), A Bucket of Blood (1959), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and Death Race 2000 (1975). His screenplays are chock full of the savage wit and splendid black comedy that became Griffith's specialty. The fact he was able to create these structured works in a matter of days, which he attributes to growing up in a family involved with the fast-paced world of radio, is simply amazing.

Usually overshadowed by Corman (who originally thought A Bucket of Blood would be a serious thriller), Griffith's importance in these low-budget productions must not be downplayed. Actor and friend Mel Welles has said of his role in The Little Shop of Horrors: “Absolutely none of it was ad-libbed … every word in it was written by Griffith, and I did 98 pages of dialogue in two days!”

My interview with Griffith was conducted in August 2004 via telephone. Griffith was affable, engaging and always entertaining. We covered almost all of the Roger Corman pictures in which he was writer, his films as director and other assignments. -- Aaron W. Graham via http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/05/35/charles_b_griffith.html [Jun 200]

see also: Roger Corman - script

2005, Jun 13; 22:58 ::: World Psychedelic Classics Vol.1 (1999) - Os Mutantes

World Psychedelic Classics Vol.1 (1999) - Os Mutantes [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

1. Ando Meio Desligado 2. Ave, Lucifer 3. Dia 36 4. Baby [(1971)] 5. Fuga No. II 6. Cantor de Mambo 7. Adeus Maria Fulo 8. Desculpe, Babe 9. Justiciero 10. Panis et Circenses 11. Minha Menina 12. Bat Macumba 13. Premier Bonheur du Jour 14. Baby [(1988)]

Amazon.co.uk Review
Os Mutantes' weird psychedelic bossa nova owes more to San Francisco circa 1966 than anything bearing the traditional "world music" tag. Formed in the mid-Sixties the trio was initially shunned by audiences in their native Brazil for their use of electric instruments. By turning controversy to their advantage they became involved with the influential Tropicália arts movement (alongside its leading exponent, Gilberto Gil) and flourished, producing a slew of hallucinogenic albums until the early seventies. Everything Is Possible collects the choicest fruits from those releases. Though the music does incorporate traditional South American forms it is their conception of "sonic landscapes" that proves most interesting--echoing vocals (recorded in a coffee can) clashing with swirling hammond organ, fuzz guitar, effects created by aerosols and other bizarre household items. Admittedly this experimental fervour can tend to spill over into excess but the "out-there" qualities of the group are both absorbing and amusingly kitsch--music would be a far less interesting place without them and their kind. --Derryck Strachan, Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com essential recording
"You must take a look at the new land," Os Mutantes singer Rita Lee softly proclaims on Everything Is Possible!'s English-language rewrite of Caetano Veloso's "Baby." The Brazilian psychedelic-rock pioneers were addressing a hoped-for American-British audience, but they could also have been singing to their own country's political establishment, which didn't take kindly to the Tropicalia era's fusion of Beatles and Hendrix influences with elements of bossa nova and samba. The result continues to reverberate more than three decades later in the work of Beck, Stereolab, and Cibo Matto, not to mention on late-'90s reissues such as this. Full of beauty, self-mocking good humor, and a command of varied styles that Lennon and McCartney would've envied, this enticing music is every bit as fresh as it must've sounded to South American swingers back in the day. --Rickey Wright, Amazon.com

Album Details
Os Mutantes were the Pioneer Brazilian Psychedelic Band in the Late 60's. Compiled by David Byrne from the Remastered Original Tapes.

see also: psychedelic

2005, Jun 13; 22:29 ::: World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love's A Real Thing (2005) - Various Artists

World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love's A Real Thing (2005) - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Track Listing
1. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Contonou Dahomey – Minsato Le, Mi Dayihome 2. Super Eagles – Love’s A Real Thing 3. Moussa Doumbia – Keleya 4. Manu Dibango – Ceddo End Title 5. Sorry Bamba – Porry 6. No. 1 De No. 1 – Guajira Van 7. William Onyeabor – Better Change Your Mind 8. Ofo & The Black Company – Allah Wakbarr 9. Gasper Lawal – Awon Ojise Oluwa 10. Bunzu Sounds – Zinabu 11. Tunji Oyelana And The Benders – Ifa 12. Orchestre Regional De Kayes - Sanjina

see also: psychedelic

2005, Jun 13; 19:29 ::: Airport novels

Airport novels represent a literary genre that is not so much defined by its plot or cast of stock characters, as much as it is by the social function it serves. An airport novel is typically a fairly long but fast-paced novel of intrigue or adventure that is stereotypically found in the reading fare offered by airport newsstands for travellers to read in the rounds of sitting and waiting that constitute air travel. Perhaps it will be finished in the hotel room that awaits them at the end of the journey; perhaps it will be saved for the return trip.

Considering the marketing of fiction as a trade, airport novels occupy a niche similar to the one that once was occupied by pulp magazine fiction and other reading materials typically sold at newsstands and kiosks to travellers. This pulp fiction is one obvious source for the genre; sprawling historical novels of exotic adventure such as those by James Michener and James Clavell are another source. In French, such novels are called romans de gare, "railway station novels," suggesting that writers in France were aware of this potential market at an even earlier date. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airport_novel [Jun 2005]

see also: literary genre - escapism

2005, Jun 13; 19:29 ::: Escapist fiction

Escapist fiction is fiction which provides a psychological escape from thoughts of everyday life by immersing the reader in exotic situations or activities.

Genres which include elements of escapist fiction include:

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escapist_fiction [Jun 2005]

see also: escapism

2005, Jun 13; 19:29 ::: Chick lit

Bridget Jones's Diary () - Helen Fielding [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

"Chick lit" is a slightly uncomplimentary term used to denote popular fiction written for and marketed to young women, especially single young women in their 20s, working in the business world. It was spurred on (if not exactly created) in the mid-1990s by the appearance of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary and Melissa Banks's The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing. The genre continued to sell well in the 2000s, with The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Krause and The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger topping bestseller lists.

The genre tends to feature lonely young women in urban settings, often working in the publishing industry; it may also be considered a subdivision of the romance genre. The favored style is hip, stylish, bold, self-analytical, and slightly irreverent. Sexuality may be a primary or secondary theme but is always present, and often is presented as adventuresome, as in Candace Bushnell's Sex and the City and the television series it spawned.

Several publishing houses now have imprints or divisions dedicated to fostering and marketing works of this sort. "Chick lit" has also been claimed as a type of "postfeminist" fiction, perhaps in an attempt to rehabilitate its literary reputation.

Beyond the obvious source of the term ("chick" being slang for a young woman), it also includes a derivative reference to "Chiclet" brand chewing gum, with the implication that the reader is likely to be the sort of clichéd and nonintellectual female who chews gum and avoids "serious literature".

The male equivalent has sometimes been referred to as dick lit (Ben Elton, Mike Gayle, Nick Hornby et al.). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick_lit [Jun 2005]

see also: literary genre - escapism

2005, Jun 13; 19:23 ::: Evelina (1778) - Fanny Burney

Evelina (1778) - Fanny Burney [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
Frances Burney's first and most enduringly popular novel is a vivid, satirical, and seductive account of the pleasures and dangers of fashionable life in late eighteenth-century London. As she describes her heroine's entry into society, womanhood and, inevitably, love, Burney exposes the vulnerability of female innocence in an image-conscious and often cruel world where social snobbery and sexual aggression are played out in the public arenas of pleasure-gardens, theatre visits, and balls. But Evelina's innocence also makes her a shrewd commentator on the excesses and absurdities of manners and social ambitions--as well as attracting the attention of the eminently eligible Lord Orville. Evelina, comic and shrewd, is at once a guide to fashionable London, a satirical attack on the new consumerism, an investigation of women's position in the late eighteenth century, and a love story. The new introduction and full notes to this edition help make this richness all the more readily available to a modern reader.

Evelina is a novel written by English author Fanny Burney in 1778.

Evelina, the title character, is abandoned by her father, Sir John Belmont, who thought that he would receive a fortune from marriage. Evelina's mother dies in childbirth, and Evelina is raised in seclusion by Mr. Villars, her guardian. When Evelina grows up to be a beautiful and intelligent woman, she travels to London to visit a friend, Mrs. Mirvan. She is introduced to society, falls in love with the handsome Lord Orville. However, her ill-bred relatives, and in particular her vulgar grandmother, Madame Duval, as well as the obstinate attentions of Sir Clement Willoughby frustrate her happiness. To attain her proper station in London society, Evelina's friends contact Sir Belmont to get him to acknowledge his daughter. Belmont announces that, in fact, he has had his daughter with him since her mother's death. It turns out that the nurse had passed her own child to Sir Belmont. Belmont discovers the imposition, recognizes Evelina, and she marries Lord Orville.

The novel was a great success in Burney's own lifetime. Her father was a friend of the leading men of the age, and Frances herself knew most of these distinguished writers and artists. None of her subsequent novels achieved the success of Evelina, but it was very well received, and the novel compares favorably with the early novels of Jane Austen.

A great deal of attention has been focused on Evelina since the 1980's, as Burney has reached a wide audience and critical reappraisal. Some critics have seen the novel as autobiography, as Burney felt unacknowledged by her famously strict father. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelina [Jun 2005]

2005, Jun 13; 19:21 ::: The novel of sensibility

At the mid 1700s, these two novels [Pamela and Tom Jones], and others, spawned the novel of sensibility. In it, the protagonist, most often a young woman, naively encounters the world and learns to refine her natural goodness. Sensibility was a character trait important in the mid- to late-eighteenth century. A person with sensibility was attuned with nature and was easily, and rightly, affected by the feelings of others; the "sensible" person noticed the hurt of others and was a barometer of social morality. An excellent example of this type of novel is Frances Burney's Evelina (1778), wherein the heroine, while naturally good, in part for being country-raised, hones her politeness when visiting London she is educated into propriety. This novel also is the beginning of "romantic comedy".

At the end of the eighteenth century, sensibility's value was questioned, as it made its bearers, particularly women, too overwrought and too prone to imagining worlds beyond their appointed ones. These anxieties are in the rise of the Gothic novel, at century's end. The Gothic novel's story occurs in a distant time and place, often Renaissance Italy, and involved the fantastic exploits of an imperiled heroine. The classic Gothic novel is Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794). As in other Gothic novels, the notion of the sublime is central. Eighteenth-century aesthetic theory held that the sublime and the beautiful were juxtaposed. The sublime was awful (awe-inspiring) and terrifying while the beautiful was calm and reassuring. The characters and landscapes of the Gothic rest almost entirely within the sublime, with the heroine the great exception. The “beautiful” heroine’s susceptibility to supernatural elements, integral to these novels, both celebrates and problematizes what came to be seen as hyper-sensibility.

Finally, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the overwrought emotions of sensibility, as expressed through the Gothic sublime, had run their course. Jane Austen wrote a Gothic novel parody titled Northanger Abbey (1803), reflecting the death of the Gothic novel. Moreover, while sensibility did not disappear, it was less valued. Austen introduced a different style of writing—the comedy of manners, but her novels often are not funny, bur are scathing critiques of the restrictive, rural culture of the early nineteenth century. Her best known novel, Pride and Prejudice (1811), is her happiest, and has been a blueprint for much subsequent romantic fiction; her other novels feature heroines for whom the modern reader has little sympathy, and may dislike. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novel#18th_century [Jun 2005]

see also: sensibility

2005, Jun 13; 13:06 ::: The sublime (aesthetics)

Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime (1764) - Immanuel Kant [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The sublime (from the Latin sublimis (exalted)), refers in aesthetics to the quality of transcendent greatness, whether physical, moral, intellectual or artistic. The term especially references a greatness with which nothing else can be compared and which is beyond all possibility of calculation or measurement.

The first study of the value of the sublime is the treatise ascribed to Longinus: On the Sublime. Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant both investigated the subject (compare Burke’s Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful, 1756) and both distinguished the sublime from the beautiful. Later writers tend to include the sublime in the beautiful.

For Immanuel Kant, the sublime represented a feeling derived from aesthetic judgment, in which we realize the limits of our human nature: that is, we realize we cannot conceive of something because it is part of the noumenal realm. Much like being next to a brick wall, we know the wall is there and that, presumably, there is something inaccessible on the other side. For Kant, the thrill we get from this realization is true sublimity; the realization that we cannot fully comprehend our own nature.

The Romantics were essentially preoccupied by the sublime and especially by the sublime in Nature.

It is a frequently exploited theme in the paintings of John Constable and William Turner, who tried to reach and grasp the essence of the sublime through experimentation. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublime_%28philosophy%29 [Jun 2005]

The sublime and the gothic novel
The classic Gothic novel is Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794). As in other Gothic novels, the notion of the sublime is central. Eighteenth-century aesthetic theory held that the sublime and the beautiful were juxtaposed. The sublime was awful (awe-inspiring) and terrifying while the beautiful was calm and reassuring. The characters and landscapes of the Gothic rest almost entirely within the sublime, with the heroine the great exception. The “beautiful” heroine’s susceptibility to supernatural elements, integral to these novels, both celebrates and problematizes what came to be seen as hyper-sensibility. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novel#18th_century [Jun 2005]

19th-century literary criticism and the sublime
The British Romantic movement of the early nineteenth century brought new aesthetic ideas to the study of literature, including the idea that the object of literature did not always have to be beautiful, noble, or perfect, but that literature itself could elevate a common subject to the level of the sublime. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_criticism [Jun 2005]

The monstrous and the sublime during the enlightenment
[t]he monstrous was an important concept on aesthetics during the enlightenment, often closely associated with the wondrous and the sublime. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monster [Jun 2005]

Kant and the sublime
The philosophical concept of the sublime, as described by philosopher Immanuel Kant in the Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime, took inspiration in part from attempts to comprehend the enormity of the Lisbon quake and tsunami. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsunami#1755_-_Lisbon.2C_Portugal [Jun 2005]

Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime (Gefühl des Schönen und Erhabenen) is a 1764 book by Immanuel Kant.

The first complete translation into English since 1799 was recently published. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observations_on_the_Feeling_of_the_Beautiful_and_Sublime [Jun 2005]

see also: sublime - aesthetics - beauty - Immanuel Kant - gothic novel - monstrous

2005, Jun 13; 12:55 ::: Geoff Murray

Evening light on dolerite boulders, Mount Mawson. Mount Field National Park () - Geoff Murray
image sourced here.

"Tasmania's wild areas deserve to be cared for and nurtured. We have a unique blend of wild and beautiful landscapes here, but it is all too easy to forget just how special it is. To see it through the eyes of visitors is a perfect way to remove our tendency to take it for granted. Some say tourists will 'love the place to death' but it would take an awful lot of tourists walking through the bush to equal the damage a log truck does." --http://www.leatherwoodonline.com/portfolios/2004/geoff_murray/index.htm [Jun 2005]

inspired by http://www.sauer-thompson.com/junkforcode/archives/001485.html [Jun 2005]

2005, Jun 13; 12:15 ::: Vesuvius in Eruption

Vesuvius in Eruption (1817) - J.M.W. Turner

Vesuvius has always evoked terror. The only interlude in its intimidation lasted from 1500 until 1631. The volcano had been somnolent for almost five centuries, quiescent since 1500, and it was believed by many that its fires were extinct. Neapolitans descended daily by tortuous paths to the luxuriant green bottom of the crater. Woodmen worked the dense woods flourishing on the lava soil; wild boar roamed there; herdsmen tended animals grazing on succulent grass. The crater walls at the bottom of the abyss were pierced with caverns through which wind whistled eerily. Late in 1631 there were earthquakes in the vicinity and water in adjacent wells fell mysteriously. Around 1 December an early visitor to the summit found the woods gone and the chasm level to the brim with volcanic matter. He walked across from one side to the other apparently neither awed at the magnitude of the-event nor apprehensive of danger. A few nights later local peasants were alarmed by demons growling in the mountain whom they tried to placate with religious ceremonies. On the night of 15 December, a bright star appeared glinting above the volcano; later that evening a lightning flash struck the mountain while its summit glowed with a deep red. Then smoke billowed out of the mountain; its pastures ignited in flames; huge stones were hurled from the crater. In Naples on the morning of the sixteenth the populace saw an extraordinary cloud shaped like a gigantic pine tree hanging over Vesuvius.

Still no one understood the terror threatening them, until the abbot Braccini, who had made a long study of the volcano, went to his library and read them Pliny's first-hand account of the Vesuvian eruption of AD 79. `There,' said Braccini, as he shut the book, `there, in the words of sixteen centuries ago, is depicted what you see today.' Earthquake shocks came faster, concussions boomed ever more loudly, people choked on the sulphurous stenches; their fear was all the worse for having had no premonition of danger. Around noon the city was enveloped in darkness; the houses, according to Braccini, swayed like ships at sea; there was a roaring sound like the blast of many furnaces; tongues of lightning flashed continuously; the crashes became appalling; Naples went wild with terror. Its Cardinal Archbishop ordered the Sacrament to be celebrated throughout the city. A solemn procession was organised to venerate the city's patron saint, but when the priests went to his relics, his blood was found to be liquefied and bubbling. The suffocation of Naples was, however, supposedly halted by the miraculous intervention of San Gennaro at the moment when his relics were being carried out to the cathedral square. The authorities sent drummers round the city beseeching the people to forsake the pollution of gross pleasures and selfish vices. Next day the sea receded for nearly half a mile from the coast, and then swept back in a huge wave to a point high above its usual level. Seven tongues of lava poured down the mountainside at terrible speed, destroying villages, killing thousands of people (one wiping out a religious procession). The lava flow soon reached the sea, which for days resembled a boiling cauldron.

[N]aples and its surrounding vistas enriched the English visual imagination in the late seventeenth century and gave a new gothic aesthetic to the English-speaking world. The antecedent imagination in this process is that of a proud, scornful Neapolitan painter called Salvator Rosa (1615-73). After Rosa's death his creative ideas were intellectualised by an artistic, invalid English nobleman, Anthony Ashley Cooper, third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713). Shaftesbury's ideas were popularised by the poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744), who disseminated a new sense of the visual and the picturesque; Pope's version of Shaftesbury's doctrines and Rosa's images were then given solid form by the architect and landscape artist William Kent (1686-1748). This process would have been impossible without the new taste for Continental travel that developed among the English of the seventeenth century and without the new fortunes that enabled them to collect works of art. --from the first chapter of Gothic: Four Hundred Years of Excess, Horror, Evil and Ruin (1999) - Richard Davenport[Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK] via http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/gothic.htm [Jun 2005]

see also: Vesuvius

inspired by the sublime

2005, Jun 13; 11:15 ::: Jacques Charlier (1939 - )

"Novissima Verba" (IKOB Eupen), 2000 Foto: Laurence Charlier
image sourced here.

Pornokrates (1879) - Félicien Rops

Jacques Charlier, born in Luik, Belgium in 1939 is a belgian artist.

Jacques Charlier werd in 1939 in Luik geboren en begon zich reeds op zijn 15de jaar in z’n eentje voor kunst te interesseren. Hij ging allerlei biografieën, handboeken en catalogi over moderne kunst van die jaren verzamelen en puurde hieruit als een ware autodidact zijn inspiratie. Zijn eerste tentoonstellingen aan het begin van de jaren zestig gingen al vlug in de richting van ensceneringen met bizarre voorwerpen, waaronder heel wat foto’s, bijeengesprokkeld bij brocantes. Charlier, die van 1957 tot 1977 bij de “Service Technique Provincial” (STP) van Luik werkzaam was, begon samen met zijn collega André Bertrand, die bij dezelfde dienst werkte, in 1963 een collectie professionele foto’s aan te leggen.

Pogingen om deze foto’s in een galerie tentoon te stellen, mislukten. Destijds beschouwde hij ze uitsluitend als reactie op pop art en het nieuwe realisme. Daarna kwam hij met zijn uitvergrote foto’s, afgedrukt op transparant materiaal en gemonteerd in vanbinnen verlichte bakken. Later vernietigde hij dit werk evenals zijn voordien vervaardigde collages. Met zwarte viltstift creëerde Charlier schilde-rijen waarop hij objecten en taferelen met personages afbeeldde. Hij werkte ook met betonblokken (van 1965 - 1969), kortom, hij was en is een zeer veelzijdig kunstenaar. In die periode schreef hij ook poëtische teksten, speelde gitaar, fotografeerde, gaf tijdschriften uit, maakte een telefonische radio-uitzending rond de groep Total's, deed aan ‘postal art’, filmde op super-8, organiseerde happenings, richtte een kunst-afkickcentrum op en hield voordrachten over kunst, enz.

Via Broodthaers leerde hij in 1970 Spillemaeckers kennen, die zojuist de MTL-Galerie had geopend. Spillemaeckers organiseerde de eerste tentoonstelling met de professionele STP-foto’s. Dankzij de opkomst van minimal art en conceptuele kunst bleven de “STP-Documenten” in de belangstelling staan. Het was ook de periode van Charliers fotowerk “Vernissage”, van foto-romans, humoristische tekeningen en muzikale experimenten.

In de jaren tachtig kwam hij met grote picturale satires op nieuwe kunststromingen en verschenen de geboetseerde sculptuurtjes. Vervolgens verschenen de ensceneringen en scenario’s met een rol voor de schilderkunst. Bij de “Chambre d’Ennemi” (1986, Gent) riep hij met meubels, objecten en de participatie van levende mensen een hallucinante sfeer op.

De enscenering “La vie éternelle” (1987) die in Düsseldorf, Bergen (Mons) en Nantes was te zien, weerspiegelde hetzelfde “zoeken”, evenals de grote installatie ‘Bezugspunkte 38/88’(Graz, 1988) met als titel “Le pouvoir de la vie”. Vanaf 1986 ging Charlier hoe langer hoe meer werken met oude schilderijlijsten, kunstmatige verouderingsprocédé’s en craquelé’s, speelde hij met denkbeeldige kunstenaarsnamen en pakte uit met verzonnen kunstkritieken. Dan duiken opnieuw de brocante-objecten op met een knipoog naar de “moderne schilderkunst”. Hij stak de draak met stijlen en zaaide verwarring. Wat Charlier nadrukkelijk omschrijft als zijn “activiteiten”, bestaat voornamelijk uit onvermoeibaar switchen van het ene schilderij naar het andere, van de ene scène of techniek naar de andere om het publiek om de tuin te leiden. --http://www.mjb-jmb.org/nl/deballageJC.htm [Jun 2005]

inspired by Dominique of http://www.geocities.com/headlobe/Blog.html [Jun 2005]

see also: art in Belgium

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