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

2005, Sep 19; 11:19 ::: Prints and Visual Communication (1953) - William Ivins

Prints and Visual Communication (1953) - William Ivins [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

"... I became aware that the backward countries of the world are and have been those that have not learned to take full advantage of the possibilities of pictorial statement and communication, and that many of the most characteristic ideas and abilities of our western civilization have been intimately related to our skills exactly to repeat pictorial statements and communications" (p. 1).

"Although every history of European civilization makes much of the invention in the mid-fifteenth century of ways to print words from moveable types, it is customary in those histories to ignore the slightly earlier discovery of ways to print pictures and diagrams, A book, so far as it contains a text, is a container of exactly repeatable word symbols arranged in exactly repeatable order. Men have been using such containers for at least five thousand years. Because of this it can be argued that the printing of books was no more than a way to do with a much smaller number of proof readings. Prior to 1501 few books were printed in editions larger than that handwritten one of a thousand copies to which Pliny the Younger referred in the second century of our era. The printing of pictures, however, unlike the printing of words from moveable types, brought a completely new thing into existence it made possible for the first time pictorial statements of a kind that could be exactly repeated during the effective life of the printing surface. This exact repetition of pictorial statements has had incalculable effects upon knowledge and thought, upon science and technology, of every kind. It is hardly too much to say that since the invention of writing there has been no more important invention than that of the exactly repeatable pictorial statement" (pp. 2-3).

William Mills Ivins, Jr.
William Mills Ivins, Jr. (1881 – 1961) was curator of the department of prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, from its founding in 1916 until 1946.

The son of William Mills Ivins, Sr. (1851 – 1915), a New York public utility lawyer, Ivins studied at Harvard College and the University of Munich before graduating in law from Columbia University in 1907.

After nine years' legal practice, he was asked to take on the conservation and interpretation of the Met's print collection. He built up the remarkable collections that can be seen there today, and he wrote many prefaces to exhibition catalogues, as well as other, occasional pieces which were later collected and published. His best-known book is Prints and Visual Communication (MIT Press, 1969, ISBN 0262590026 (first published 1953 by Harvard University Press)). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Ivins%2C_Jr. [Sept 2005]

See also: reproduction - 1953 - printmaking - visual - communication

2005, Sep 18; 23:34 ::: The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) - Herbert Marshall McLuhan

The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) - Herbert Marshall McLuhan [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

McLuhan's The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (written in 1961, first published in Canada by University of Toronto Press in 1962) is a pioneering study of print culture, a pioneering study in cultural studies, and a pioneering study in media ecology.

Throughout the book, McLuhan is at pains to reveal how communication technology (alphabetic writing, the printing press, and the electronic media) affects cognitive organization, which in turn has profound ramifications for social organization:

...[I]f a new technology extends one or more of our senses outside us into the social world, then new ratios among all of our senses will occur in that particular culture. It is comparable to what happens when a new note is added to a melody. And when the sense ratios alter in any culture then what had appeared lucid before may suddenly become opaque, and what had been vague or opaque will become translucent. (Gutenberg Galaxy 1962, p. 41)

His episodic and often rambling history takes the reader from pre-alphabetic tribal humankind to the electronic age. According to McLuhan, the invention of movable type greatly accelerated, intensified, and ultimately enabled cultural and cognitive changes that had already been taking place since the invention and implementation of the alphabet, by which McLuhan means phonemic orthography. (McLuhan is careful to distinguish the phonetic alphabet from logographic/logogramic writing systems, like hieroglyphics or ideograms.) Print culture, ushered in by the Gutenberg press in the middle of the fifteenth century, brought about the cultural predominance of the visual over the aural/oral. Quoting with approval an observation on the nature of the printed word from Prints and Visual Communication by William Ivins, McLuhan remarks:

In this passage [Ivins] not only notes the ingraining of lineal, sequential habits, but, even more important, points out the visual homogenizing of experience of print culture, and the relegation of auditory and other sensuous complexity to the background. [...] The technology and social effects of typography incline us to abstain from noting interplay and, as it were, "formal" causality, both in our inner and external lives. Print exists by virtue of the static separation of functions and fosters a mentality that gradually resists any but a separative and compartmentalizing or specialist outlook. (Galaxy pp. 124-26)

We find the gist of McLuhan's argument (later elaborated in The Medium is the Message) that new technologies (like alphabets and printing presses, and, for that matter, speech itself) exert a gravitational effect on cognition, which in turn affects social organization: Print technology changes our perceptual habits ("visual homogenizing of experience"), which in turn impacts social interactions ("fosters a mentality that gradually resists all but a... specialist outlook"). According to McLuhan, the advent of print technology contributed to and made possible most of the salient trends in the Modern period in the West: individualism, democracy, Protestantism, capitalism and nationalism. For McLuhan, these trends all reverberate with print technology's principle of "segmentation of actions and functions and principle of visual quantification" (Galaxy p. 154).

Visual, individualistic print culture will soon — McLuhan is writing in the early 1960s — be brought to an end by what McLuhan calls "electronic interdependence," when electronic media replace visual culture with aural/oral culture. In this new age, humankind will move from individualism and fragmentation to a collective identity, with a "tribal base." McLuhan's coinage for this new social organization is the global village, a term which has predominantly negative connotations in The Gutenberg Galaxy (a fact lost on its later popularizers):

Instead of tending towards a vast Alexandrian library the world has become a computer, an electronic brain, exactly as an infantile piece of science fiction. And as our senses have gone outside us, Big Brother goes inside. So, unless aware of this dynamic, we shall at once move into a phase of panic terrors, exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total interdependence, and superimposed co-existence. [...] Terror is the normal state of any oral society, for in it everything affects everything all the time. [...] In our long striving to recover for the Western world a unity of sensibility and of thought and feeling we have no more been prepared to accept the tribal consequences of such unity than we were ready for the fragmentation of the human psyche by print culture. (Galaxy p. 32)

Note again McLuhan's stress on the importance of awareness of a medium's cognitive effects: If we are not vigilant to the effects of media's impact, the global village has the potential to become a place where totalitarianism and terror rule.

Key to McLuhan's argument is the idea that technology has no per se moral bent — it is a tool that shapes profoundly an individual's and, by extension, a society's self-conception and realization:

Is it not obvious that there are always enough moral problems without also taking a moral stand on technological grounds? [...] Print is the extreme phase of alphabet culture that detribalizes or decollectivizes man in the first instance. Print raises the visual features of alphabet to highest intensity of definition. Thus print carries the individuating power of the phonetic alphabet much further than manuscript culture could ever do. Print is the technology of individualism. If men decided to modify this visual technology by an electric technology, individualism would also be modified. To raise a moral complaint about this is like cussing a buzz-saw for lopping off fingers. "But," someone says, "we didn't know it would happen." Yet even witlessness is not a moral issue. It is a problem, but not a moral problem; and it would be nice to clear away some of the moral fogs that surround our technologies. It would be good for morality. (Galaxy p. 158)

Technology affects cognition, and the moral valence of these changes is, for McLuhan, good or bad, depending on one's perspective. In the later seventeenth century, for instance, McLuhan identifies a considerable amount of alarm and revulsion towards the growing quantity of printed books. A few hundred years later, though, many thinkers express alarm at the "end of the book." If there can be no universal moral sentence passed on technology, McLuhan believes that "there can only be disaster arising from unawareness of the causalities and effects inherent in our technologies."

Though the World Wide Web did not yet exist when McLuhan wrote The Gutenberg Galaxy, McLuhan is, if not the coiner then a popularizer, of the term "surfing" when used to refer to rapid, irregular and multidirectional movement through a heterogenous body of documents or knowledge, e.g., statements like "Heidegger surf-boards along on the electronic wave as triumphantly as Descartes rode the mechanical wave."

McLuhan frequently quotes Ong's Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue (1958), which evidently had prompted McLuhan to write this book. Once again, Ong wrote a highly favorable review of this new book in America 107 (Sept. 15, 1962): 743, 747. However, in the 1967 New Catholic Encyclopedia, Ong subsequently qualified his earlier praise by characterizing McLuhan's The Gutenberg Galaxy as "a racy survey, indifferent to some scholarly detail, but uniquely valuable in suggesting the sweep and depth of the cultural and psychological changes entailed in the passage from illiteracy to print and beyond" (8: 838). In short, certain parts should be read with a grain of salt, but it is definitely worth reading to this day.

McLuhan's The Gutenberg Galaxy won the 1962 Governor-General's Award for Non-Fiction, Canada's highest literary award. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_McLuhan#The_Gutenberg_Galaxy_.281962.29 [Sept 2005]

For Marshall McLuhan the beginning of modernity is the invention of movable type: the Gutenberg press.

See also: reproduction - 1962 - literacy - modernity - Gutenberg - Marshall McLuhan

2005, Sep 19; 09:22 ::: Michel Seuphor

Le Cirque Annouss - Michel Seuphor
Image sourced here.

Michel Seuphor (March 10 1901, Antwerp, Belgium. Died 1999, Paris, France) was a Belgian artist. His real name was Fernand Berckelaers.

2005, Sep 18; 21:34 ::: The Tradition of the New (1959) - Harold Rosenberg

The Tradition of the New (1959) - Harold Rosenberg [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Golffing, Francis HAROLD ROSENBERG's reputation among the intelligentsia-hitherto based on his trenchant magazine articles only-may not need the support of this book, which presents the best of those same...

...His famous piece on the American action painters well illustrates the second failing...

...Its central theme is self-transformation and transformation of others, and these symbolic actions are set over against the numberless accommodation formulas devised by a society which insists, inexorably, on the individual's conformity to the status quo ante...

...large public issues they should be read, and responded to, by the public at large...

...all the same, the position is unsound, a queer compound, and consequent garbling, of Dewey and the Aristotelian notions of praxis and catharsis...

...It is good to hear him blurt out his discontents so passionately and, at the same time, so shrewdly, against the daily din set up by bland world-reformers, nervous status 1uo-ists, and brutal spokesmen for ideological repression...

...We should be grateful for possibilities such as this, even though what it represents is a Leerforma scheme without a content...

...stokes the fires, tirelessly, on behalf of a humanity which he conceives in terms of maximum breadth and discusses with a minimum of sloganizing or other political clap-trap...

...His literary method is a supple and in the main reliable vehicle for his ideas, though at times the two can be remarkably at odds: he will present a substantial notion in a brusque, rough-and-ready manner, or a highly dubious one with great precision of phrase and an exquisite sense of nuance, and think nothing of it...

...his piece, "Pop Culture: Kitsch Criticism," the first...

...All men dream," T. E. Lawrence once wrote, "but not equally...

...Rosenberg's case is entirely solid, but his writing-compared with, say, similar studies by T. W. Adorno seems sketchy, short of breath, even a trifle sloppy...

...more than a convenient credo provided by an expert in words for men excelling in a different branch of art...

...As a writer, Rosenberg is hard-hitting and acute rather than subtle, very good at seeing things contextually and synoptically, and (like all anti-ideological ideologists) as impatient of the purely factual as he is of the superstructures...

...Rosenberg has all the requisites of the first-rate pamphleteer: conviction, raw indignation, a cutting edge...

via http://www.commentarymagazine.com/Summaries/V27I6P92-1.htm [Sept 2005]

Harold Rosenberg
Harold Rosenberg (February 2, 1906, New York City - July 11, 1978, New York City) was a U.S. writer, educator, and philosopher and art critic. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Rosenberg [Sept 2005]

Harold Rosenberg was undoubtedly the most important American art critic of the twentieth century. It was he who first coined the term Action Painters to refer to the American Abstract Expressionists such as Pollock, Kline, and de Kooning. Rosenbergs seminal writings on this movement, as well as on other artists such as Newman and Rothko, appear in The Tradition of the New (1959), his first and most influential book; its effects on subsequent art criticism, and the practice of art itself, are still felt today. The essays in this book are not limited to the art world, however: He also discusses poetry, political and cultural theory, and popular culture. As wide-ranging, independent, and deeply probing as the essays of Walter Benjamin, Harold Rosenbergs The Tradition of the New is a true classic of twentieth-century criticism. via Amazon.co.uk

See also: art - tradition - new

2005, Sep 17; 23:12 ::: Bogomils, bugger

Bogomils was the name of a defunct Gnostic social-religious movement and doctrine which originated in Bulgaria in X century at the time of Peter I of Bulgaria (927-969) as a reaction of the state and clerical oppression. In spite of all measures of repression, it remained strong and popular until the fall of Bulgaria in the end of 14th century.

The name of the movement was bulgarus in Latin (meaning "Bulgarian") which included Cathars, Patarenes and Albigenses. It became boulgre, later bougre in Old French meaning "heretic, traitor". It entered German as Buger meaning "peasant, blockhead" (and went on to English as bugger) and the French term also entered old Italian as bugero in the meaning of "sodomite" since it was supposed that heretics would make sex (just like everything else) in an "inverse" way. The word went on towards Venetian Italian as buzerar, meaning "to do sodomy" (anal sex between men). This word entered German again as Buserant and went on to Hungarian as buzeráns, becoming buzi around the 1900s, which form is still in use as a sexual slur for male homosexuals. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogomils [Sept 2005]

See also: buggery - heresy - homosexuality - sodomy - slur - middle ages

2005, Sep 17; 23:12 ::: Scientist Rids The World Of The Curse Of The Evil Vampires (1981) - Scientist

Scientist Rids The World Of The Curse Of The Evil Vampires (1981) - Scientist [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Track listing
1. The Voodoo Curse
2. Dance Of The Vampires
3. Blood On His Lips
4. Cry Of The Werewolf
5. The Mummy's Shroud
6. The Corpse Rises
7. The Night Of The Living Dead
8. Your Teeth In My Neck
9. Plague Of Zombies
10. Ghost Of Frankenstein

Scientist (musician)
Scientist, born Overton Browne in Kingston, Jamaica, 1960 (and also known as Hopeton Browne), was a protégé of King Tubby, one of the originators of dub music. He came to prominence in the early 1980s and produced many albums during the first half of the decade.

Many newer fans discovered his music when his 1981 album Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires was used on the soundtrack for the popular videogame Grand Theft Auto III (2001). The tracks on the fictitious radio station K-Jah are composed entirely of songs from this album. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientist_(musician) [Sept 2005]

See also: evil - vampires - dub - reggae - music - 1981 - Scientist

2005, Sep 17; 22:12 ::: Ska Authentic (1967) - Skatalites

Ska Authentic (1967) - Skatalites

The Skatalites are a music group from Jamaica that played a major part in popularising ska. Consisting of some of the best musicians in Jamaica, they played together initially between 1963 and 1965 but recorded many of their best known songs in the period including "Guns of Navarone" as well as playing on records by Prince Buster and many other Jamaican artists who recorded during the period. They reformed in 1986 and have played together ever since.

In 1964 members of the group were Tommy McCook, Rolando Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Lester Sterling, Don Drummond, Jah Jerry Haynes, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, Jackie Opel and Doreen Shaffer. In 2003 the group consisted of Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Doreen Shaffer, Lester Sterling, Cedric 'Im Brooks, Vin Gordon, Devon James, Ken Stewart and Kevin Batchelor. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Skatalites [Sept 2005]

See also: authentic - reggae - music - 1967 - ska

2005, Sep 17; 22:12 ::: Real Rock (1967) - Sound Demension

Real Rock (1967) - C. Dodd and Sound Demension

Real Rock
Sound Dimension's old classic is the most versioned riddim ever according to most of the RMR massive. And that is probably true.

This is a piece from the original S#! cut.

Selecta --http://www.jamrid.com/Realrock.htm [Sept 2005]

''Real Rock,'' the genre's most often licked riddim, was recorded in 1967 by one of Mr. Dodd's house bands, Sound Dimension, on that occasion including the drummer Phil Callender, the guitarist Eric Frater, the percussionist Denzel Laing, the bassist Boris Gardiner, the trombonist Vin Gordon and the resident keyboard genius and musical director Jackie Mittoo. It was built around a single, emphatic bass note followed by a rapid succession of lighter notes. The pattern repeated over and over hypnotically. The sound was so powerful that it gave birth to an entire style of reggae meant for slow dancing called ''rub a dub.'' --http://travel2.nytimes.com/mem/travel/article-page.html?res=9C01EEDD123FF930A15756C0A9629C8B63 [Sept 2005]

See also: reggae - music - 1967 - riddim - Clement Dodd

2005, Sep 17; 16:12 ::: Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But the Rent (1986) - Gwen Guthrie

Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But the Rent (1986) - Gwen Guthrie

Bill collectors at my door What can you do for me Hey

No romance without finance
No romance without finance

Boy, nothin' in life is free
That's why I'm askin' you what can you do for me
I've got responsibilities
So I'm lookin' for a man whose got money in his hands

`Cause nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
You got to have somethin' if you wanna be with me
Oh, life is too serious, love's too mysterious
A fly girl like me needs security

`Cause ain't nothin' goin' on but the rent
You got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me
Ain't nothin' goin' on but the rent
You got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me

Gwen Guthrie
Gwen Guthrie (July 14 (some sources say July 9) 1950 - February 3, 1999) was an American singer and songwriter, who sang backing vocals for Aretha Franklin, and wrote songs for Ben E. King.

She is probably best known for her 1986 dance anthem "Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent," a self-written track which expressed all the greed and selfishness which are often associated with the 1980s, with lyrics such as: No romance without finance, you've got to have a j-o-b if you want to be with me.

She died in 1999 of cancer. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwen_Guthrie [Sept 2005]

See also: dance - music - 1986 - Gwen Guthrie

2005, Sep 17; 14:12 ::: Morgan Khan of Street Sounds

Street Sound logo

Street Sounds, which was a compilation label set up by Morgan Khan who published compilations of electro, hip hop, jazz and rare groove.

Morgan Khan
Meanwhile, in the UK, Morgan Khan made a developing genre of music financially accessible to an entire generation with his Streetsounds Electro series of compilation albums. --David Toop, 1998

By the end of 1983 Morgan Khan’s era defining ‘Street Sounds Electro’ compilations had hooked in the mainstream audience and now white kids in the suburbs, many of whom had never even come into contact with black people, were tuning into the b-boy vibe. The ‘Electro’ series provided the soundtrack for this new British breakdance generation and the UK dance scene would never look back as the seeds were well and truly sown for the clubbing boom that followed later in the decade. --Greg Wilson, 2003

Rare Groove vol.1 (1988) - Various Artists

  1. Mighty Tom Cats - Love potion-cheeba-cheeba 7:31
  2. Moss, Bill - Sock it to'em soul brother 5:12
  3. Bo, Eddie - Hook and sling [part 1 & 2] 4:15
  4. Escovedo, Coke - Runaway 2:34
  5. Rimshots, The - Dance girl 2:52
  6. Brother To Brother - Chance with you 4:39
  7. Nature Zone - Porcupine 3:07
  8. Wright, Charles - Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band, The Express yourself [part 1] 3:50
  9. Wright, Charles - Express yourself [part 2] 4:54

Rare Groove vol.2 (1988) - Various Artists

  1. Eddie Harris: It's All Right Now
  2. Oliver Sain: London Express
  3. Coke Escovedo: I Wouldn't Change A Thing
  4. Cloud One: Atmoshere Strut
  5. Fred Wesley & The Horny Horns: Four Play
  6. Dynamic Corvettes: Funky Music Is A Thing
  7. Wilson Pickett: Get Me Back On Time, Engine Number 9
  8. Oliver Sain: Bus Stop

Track listing to the second rare grooves compilation CD I acquired.

See also: http://www.discogs.com/label/Street+Sounds

See also: compilation - music - 1988 - rare groove - Norman Jay

2005, Sep 17; 13:46 ::: Artificial Intelligence (1993)- Various Artists

Artificial Intelligence (1993)- Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Track listing:
1. Polygon Window - The Dice Man
2. Telefone - Musicology
3. Crystel - Autechre
4. The Clan - I.A.O.
5. De-Orbit - Speedy J.
6. Preminition - Musicology
7. Spiritual High - Up!
8. The Egg - Autechre
9. Fill 3 - Speedy J.
10. Loving You Live - Alex Paterson

Intelligent dance music (IDM) is a rather ambiguous term that covers a range of electronic or electronic-influenced music. The term has been considered by many to mean modern electronic music that is not necessarily designed for the dance-floor, but rather for home listening. The term may originate from the creation of an electronic mailing list called the IDM list in August 1993, originally intended for discussion of Rephlex Records. The term subsequently gained a life of its own, and became popular around the world as a means of referring to the then-novel mainstream success of certain kinds of experimental electronic dance music. Prior to the adoption of "intelligent dance music" as a blanket term for this music, terms such as electronic listening music, intelligent techno, listening techno, art techno, and experimental techno were common. Rephlex poked fun at this pidgeonholing of music by coining the word "braindance" as a parody. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_dance_music [Sept 2005]

See also: music - 1993 - electronic music - IDM

2005, Sep 17; 10:02 ::: Romance

A term which can encompass the medieval narrative poem, Spenser's Faerie Queene, gothic horrors and sentimental pap for the mass market is bound to be difficult to define. --A Dictionary of Modern Critical Terms (1973) - Roger Fowler


    • Characterized or swayed by sentiment.
    • Affectedly or extravagantly emotional.
  • Resulting from or colored by emotion rather than reason or realism.
  • Appealing to the sentiments, especially to romantic feelings: sentimental music. sen'ti·men'tal·ly adv.

SYNONYMS sentimental, bathetic, maudlin, mawkish, mushy, romantic, schmaltzy, slushy, soppy. These adjectives mean excessively or insincerely emotional: a sentimental card; a bathetic novel; maudlin expressions of sympathy; mawkish sentiment; mushy effusiveness; a romantic adolescent; a schmaltzy song; slushy poetry; a soppy letter. --AHD

For 18th century readers and writers, sentiment is equivalent to a strong, romantic, usually exaggeratedly powerful feeling. Sentiment is represented in Samuel Richardson's novel Pamela. The term and the literary style originate in medieval French (and later English) romances, in which the plot is based on a romantic narrative. The hero is usually preoccupied with his or her love and love sufferings.

Henry Mackenzie's novel, The Man of Feeling (1771). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentiment [Sept 2005]

Sentimentalism, sometimes known as sensibility (or "the cult of sensibility"), was a fashion in both poetry and fiction beginning in the eighteenth century.

Sentimental novels are probably descendants of the domestic fiction of the early eighteenth century. Among the most famous sentimental novels are Laurence Sterne's Sentimental Journey and Henry Mackenzie's Man of Feeling.

Along with a new vision of love, sentimentalism presented a new view of human nature which prized feeling over thinking, passion over reason, and personal instincts of "pity, tenderness, and benevolence" over social duties.

The first and possibly most prominent example of sentimental ficiton in America is Susan Warner "Wide, Wide World".

Writers of sentimentalism criticized the cruelty of the capitalist relations and the gross social injustices brought about by the bourgeois revolutions. They attacked the progressive aspect of this great social change in order to eliminate it and sighed for the return of the patriarchal times which they idealized. Sentimentalism embraces a pessimistic outlook and blames reason and the Industrial Revolution for the miseries and injustices in the aristocratic-bourgeois society and indulges in sentiment, hence the definite signs of decadence in the literary works of the sentimental tradition. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentimentalism [Sept 2005]

See also: emotion - fiction - romance - sentimentalism

2005, Sep 17; 09:02 ::: Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740) - Samuel Richardson

Title page from Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740) - Samuel Richardson

From the title page:
Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded. In a Series of Familiar Letters from a Beautiful Young Damsel, to her Parents: Now first Published In order to cultivate the Principles of Virtue and Religion in the Minds of the Youth of Both Sexes. A Narrative which has its Foundation in Truth and Nature: and at the same time that it agreeably entertains, by a Variety of curious and affecting Incidents, is intirely divested of all those Images, which, in too many Pieces calculated for Amusement only, tend to inflame the Minds they should instruct. In Two Volumes

The old design of title pages changed: New novels no longer pretended to sell fictions whilst threatening to betray real secrets. Nor did they appear as false "true histories". The new title pages pronounced their works to be fictions, and indicated how the public might discuss them. Samuel Richardson’s Pamela or Virtue Rewarded (1740) was one of the titles which brought the old novel-title with its "[...] or [...]" formula offering an example into the new format. The title page made it clear that the work was crafted by an artist aiming at a certain effect—yet to be discussed by the critical audience. A decade later novels, needed no other status than that of being novels, fiction. Present-day editions of novels simply state "Fiction" on the cover. It had become prestigious to be sold under the label, asking for discussion and thought. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novel#To_be_Discussed:_The_Novel_turning_into_Literature.2C_1740-1800 [Sept 2005]

See also: fiction - Pamela - modern novel

2005, Sep 16; 23:32 ::: Lubetkin and Tecton: Architecture and social commitment : a critical study (1981) - Peter Coe

Lubetkin and Tecton: Architecture and social commitment : a critical study (1981) - Peter Coe [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Photograph of penguin in London Zoo designed by Lubetkin.

See also: Constructivism - London

2005, Sep 16; 23:01 ::: The Bet (1904) - Anton Chekhov

If I understand the story right, it's about a rich banker and a young lawyer. The banker and the lawyer debate whether the death sentence or life imprisonment would be a worse fate. This leads to them making a bet: If the lawyer can stand solitary confinement for 15 years, the banker would give him 2 million dollars. The lawyer stays in a room by himself without any contact with the outside world (except for writing little notes that he can p through a tiny window with requests for books). During his 15 years, the lawyer reads on many topics, learns many different languages, etc. When the time is nearly up, the banker fears losing the bet since he is no longer as rich as he used to be (from gambling in the stock markets). Paying up the 2 million would leave him impoverished. The banker even considers killing the lawyer, who has become so old and frail from being locked away for so long anyway. When he unlocks the door to the room, the banker finds the lawyer sleeping. The lawyer has written a note that the banker reads. It gets a bit confusing from that point, but I believe that basically the lawyer is saying that he no longer wishes for money and all the things of the world. He's been to many places and experienced many things just through reading of all his books... and he's finally decided that he hardly even wants his freedom... or something like that... But anyway, it finally concludes that the lawyer has written he will leave the room early--a few hours before the 15 years are up--and so the banker won't have to pay him the money. The banker feels remorse for his bad thoughts for a short bit; he cries and whatever. But then he is relieved that he will be able to keep his money--showing he's still as greedy as before. --http://mobydicks.com/lecture/Chekhovhall/messages/773.html [Sept 2005]

Inspired by Colin Wilson

2005, Sep 16; 22:49 ::: Russian avant garde

The Russian avant garde is an umbrella term used to define the large, influential wave of modernist art that flourished in Russia from approximately 1890 to 1930 - although some place its beginning as early as 1850 and its end as late as 1960.

The term covers many separate, but inextricably related, art movements that occurred at the time; namely Russian Symbolism, neo-primitivism, suprematism, constructivism, and futurism. Notable artists from this era include El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Pavel Filonov, Wassily Kandinsky, Vladimir Tatlin, Alexander Rodchenko, Sergei Tretyakov and Marc Chagall amongst others.

The Russian avant garde reached its creative and popular height in the period between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the foundation of the Soviet Union in 1922, at which point the ideas of the avant garde clashed with the newly emerged state-sponsored direction of Socialist Realism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_avantgarde [Sept 2005]

See also: Constructivism - Russia - avant-garde

2005, Sep 16; 18:39 ::: Peer review

Peer review (known as refereeing in some academic fields) is a scholarly process used in the publication of manuscripts and in the awarding of funding for research. Publishers and funding agencies use peer review to select and to screen submissions. The process also forces authors to meet the standards of their discipline. Publications and awards that have not undergone peer review are likely to be regarded with suspicion by scholars and professionals in many fields. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review [Sept 2005]

See also: peer - review

2005, Sep 16; 18:39 ::: Metacritic.com

Metacritic® compiles reviews from respected critics and publications for film, video/dvd, books, music and games.

Our unique Metascores® show the critical consensus at a glance by taking a weighted average of critic grades. --http://www.metacritic.com/ [Sept 2005]

Metacritic is an Internet website that collates reviews of music albums, games, movies, DVDs and books. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. This gives a general idea of the general appeal of the product among reviewers and, to a smaller extent, the public.

Many review websites give a review grade out of five, out of ten, out of a hundred, or even an alphabetical score. Metacritic converts such a grade to a percentage. For reviews with no explicit scores, for instance, Amazon's reviews, Metacritic manually assesses the tone of the review before assigning a relevant grade. Metacritic also gives bias to the reviews of magazines such as Rolling Stone, and hence reviews from these publications have a marginally greater influence on the average.

The site is being increasingly lauded by Internet users for putting reviews of independent or not as famous products alongside the so-called staples, and generally increasing awareness and appreciation of these products. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metacritic [Sept 2005]

See also: criticism - respect

2005, Sep 16; 18:39 ::: Anti-elitism

Anti-elitism is a term used to describe attitudes of disregard, resent, or in extreme cases hate for those of power. Anti-elitists would often describe the government as either corrupt or ignoring the needs of the people. They often seek either to replace members of the government, or even to reorganize or disband the government entirely. It may also target particularly wealthy or priveleged members of society, including corporations. Anti-elitism is a common theme throughout history, from socio-politics to literary contributions and philosophies.

The term "elitism" or the title "elitist" can be used resentfully by a person who is not a member of an elite, or is a member but resents their position or uses it in a condescending or cynical manner in order to ridicule or criticize practices which discriminate on the basis of ability or attributes. Often, accusing someone of being an "elitist" is a pejorative remark meant to imply that the person in question does not in fact deserve to be considered part of an elite. Elitism can be seen as encouraging the exclusion of large numbers of people from positions of privilege or power.

Anti-elitists can be seen as Communists or Anarchists though these are only the most extreme forms. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-elitism [Sept 2005]

What a horribly biased article!

See also: anti- - elitism

2005, Sep 16; 18:14 ::: Wikipedia will fork

Wikipedia will fork - that is, a group of academics will take Wikipedia's content, which is available under a free license, and produce their own peer-reviewed reference work. "I wanted to send a wake-up call to the Wikipedia community to tell them that this fork is probably going to happen."

[Wikipedia's first problem] is that "regardless of whether Wikipedia actually is more or less reliable than the average encyclopedia," librarians, teachers, and academics don't perceive it as credible, because it has no formal review process.

The second problem, according to Sanger, is that the site in general and Wales in particular are too "anti-elitist." Established scholars might be willing to contribute to Wikipedia - but not if they have to deal with trolls and especially not if they're considered no different from any schmo with an iMac. Larry Sanger, 2005, via http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.03/wiki_pr.html

See also: content - Wikipedia - academia

2005, Sep 16; 07:35 ::: Genre fiction vs literary fiction

The term genre fiction is sometimes used as a pejorative antonym of literary fiction, which is presumed to have greater artistic merit and higher cultural value. In this view, by comparison with literary fiction, genre fiction is thought to be formulaic, commercial, sensational, melodramatic, and sentimental. By extension, the readers of genre fiction—the mass audience—are supposed to have coarser, less educated taste in literature than readers of literary fiction. Genre fiction is then, essentially, thought to be the literature that appeals to the mass market.

But from another point of view, literary fiction itself is simply another category or genre. That is, it can be thought of as having conventions of its own, such as use of an elevated, poetic, or idiosyncratic prose style; or defying readers' plot expectations; or making use of particular theoretical or philosophical ideas. Any work that could be termed "experimental" would usually fall into the literary category. The publishing industry itself treats literary fiction as one category among others.

In addition, it can be argued that all novels, no matter how "literary", also fall within the bounds of one or more genres. Thus Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is a romance; Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is a psychological thriller; and James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a coming-of-age story. These novels would usually be stocked in the general or possibly the classics section of a bookstore. Indeed, many works now regarded as literary classics were originally written as genre novels. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genre_fiction#Genre_fiction_and_literary_fiction [Sept 2005]

See also: genre fiction - literary fiction

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