Posts tagged literature
Posts tagged literature
Mark Twain’s library and conservatory
(And yes, the museum DOES stage live-action Clue in here, because really, why wouldn’t you?)
When Poe’s 1908 collection of short stories, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, was reprinted in 1919, a copy of the “deluxe” edition would cost you 5 guineas (in today’s money, that’s about 300 USA Fun Tickets).
The book was printed on handmade paper, bound in vellum, and lettered in gold. But its cost was mainly due to new illustrations: 24 full-page drawings by young Irish illustrator Harry Clarke, whose ink illustrations brought Poe’s characters to life with mesmerizing detail. Each copy was signed by Clarke, and according to rare book sellers, the edition topped Christmas lists in 1919.
The popularity of Clarke’s edition feel foreign to us today; DVD box sets have long since eclipsed books as the favored medium through which to consume spooky stories. But as some who owned the book as children have said, there was something meditative about being able to study a single image indefinitely, returning to it with every reading. These drawings invite dissection by the reader, something popular images rarely ask of us today.
Despite being known mainly for his illustration work today, these drawings were simply a side project for Clarke, who trained with his dad as a stained glass artist before being swept up in the Arts & Crafts movement. He died early of tuberculosis, but his work remains in churches and homes throughout Ireland.
I secretly love Male Lead. He must never know.
I secretly love Female Lead. She must never know.
(They find out.)
Daisy, I made all this money for you, because I love you.
I cannot reciprocate, because I represent the American Dream.
Now I must die, because I also represent the American Dream.
I hate New Yorkers.
Take this test and find out! How many of these apply to you? It’s sad to think how many of our friends and family need help!
- I have read fiction when I was depressed, or to cheer myself up.
- I have gone on reading binges of an entire book or more in a day.
- I read rapidly, often ‘gulping’ chapters.
- I have sometimes read early in the morning or before work.
- I have hidden books in different places to sneak a chapter without being seen.
- Sometimes I avoid friends or family obligations in order to read novels.
- Sometimes I re-write film or television dialog as the characters speak.
- I am unable to enjoy myself with others unless there is a book nearby.
- At a party, I will often slip off unnoticed to read.
- Reading has made me seek haunts and companions which I would otherwise avoid.
- I have neglected personal hygiene or household chores until I have finished a novel.
- I have spent money meant for necessities on books instead.
- I have attempted to check out more library books than permitted.
- Most of my friends are heavy fiction readers.
- I have sometimes passed out from a night of heavy reading.
- I have suffered ‘blackouts’ or memory loss from a bout of reading.
- I have wept, become angry or irrational because of something I read.
- I have sometimes wished I did not read so much.
- Sometimes I think my reading is out of control.
If you answered ‘yes’ to four or more of these questions, you may be a literature abuser. Affirmative responses to seven or more indicates a serious problem.
Once a relatively rare disorder, Literature Abuse, or LA, has risen to new levels due to the accessibility of higher education and increased college enrollment since the end of the Second World War. The number of literature abusers is currently at record levels.
Nothing quite prepares you for the culture shock of Jay Walker’s library. You exit the austere parlor of his New England home and pass through a hallway into the bibliographic equivalent of a Disney ride. Stuffed with landmark tomes and eye-grabbing historical objects—on the walls, on tables, standing on the floor—the room occupies about 3,600 square feet on three mazelike levels. Is that a Sputnik? (Yes.) Hey, those books appear to be bound in rubies. (They are.) That edition of Chaucer … is it a Kelmscott? (Natch.) Gee, that chandelier looks like the one in the James Bond flick Die Another Day. (Because it is.) No matter where you turn in this ziggurat, another treasure beckons you—a 1665 Bills of Mortality chronicle of London (you can track plague fatalities by week), the instruction manual for the Saturn V rocket (which launched the Apollo 11 capsule to the moon), a framed napkin from 1943 on which Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined his plan to win World War II. In no time, your mind is stretched like hot taffy.
Eleven years ago my fifth grade literature teacher told me that the only way to properly read a book is to open to the middle and smell the ink. You are about to embark upon an adventure that will change your life.
To this day I still open books that way.
Miss Auras, Sir John Lavery
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s study