Friday, July 5, 2019


Golden ear-rings in the form of dolphins. 3rd - 2nd century BC, Mediterranean Sea. More details:

P.S. Item from British Museum, London: here.

Der Meister

Look a this "tool" from 3rd century AD.


"In der Beschränkung zeigt sich erst der Meister". In that case: ...

P.S.  Item from The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK: here.
P.P.S. Quote from Goethe, 'Natur und Kunst' (1800): here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Favorite Day

A part of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories are situated at Cotchford Farm (UK). The country house of writer  Alan A. Milne (1882-1956). Lovely house.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Navigator of Print

Books, pamphlets, pictures and music. 

Printed books, pamphlets, pictures and music. 

Printed books, pamphlets, pictures and music in libraries. The birth of libraries confronted its owners, in the 16th century in Europe, with new challenges: how and where to put them on a shelf, how to avoid buying the same book, pamphlets, pictures and music twice, how to make good use of their content? Hernando Columbus (1488–1539) was one of the first (or the first?) to give an answer to these challenges. He solved it with four books and an umbrella process (“root system”). Four books:

Every year a small bookstore will send worth five “ducados” from printed material (books, pamphlets, pictures and music) from Rome, Venice, Nuremberg, Antwerp, Paris and Lyon to Hernando’s universal library (“Hernandina”) in Seville, Spain.  The bookstore will start first with buy as much “ephemeral” or “dunghill” pamphlets as possible and only then moving to larger printed books. They will collect, "all books, in all languages and on all subjects, which can be found both within Christendom and without" (page 316).
Every sixth year an agent from the Hernandina will sweep through a smaller series of cities to seek out titles that had been missed based on the catalogues of the Hernandina.

Hernado wanted his library to become a universal library, where the thoughts of the world were stored, all of the possible fields of knowledge covered and making all terrains one. This library needed to be guarded, ordered, arranged and tended like a garden. The universal library was an engine for extracting the writing of all mankind. To order things in such a way that all new things are sought out and gathered forever. Not bounded by language, subject or religion. A place of pleasure, magic and astonishment (page 84, 240 and 314-317).

Hernando’s father – Christopher Columbus – navigated to and discovered new, unknown physical lands on planet Earth. A navigator of oceans. Hernando wanted with his universal library a place in history equal to his father’s. A navigator of print.

In the book The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books. Young Columbus and the Quest for a Universal Library (London 2018) all the tiny little elements of a personal live that preceded his universal library is worked out with great detail by Edward Wilson-Lee. Lovely! Perfect read!

P.S. Did 'The Book of Authors' consist of one or two lists? (1) list from A to Z from Author with title(s) and year of publication; (2) list from A to Z from Title with its author(s) and year of publication? Did list 2 exist too?
P.P.S. I don't comprehend the relation between 'The Book of Authors' and 'The Book of Sciences' and 'The Table of Authors and Sciences'. Is the table based on the two books? How to order infinitely with physical catalogue or index cards? Catalogue or index cards bearing (hieroglyphic) symbols?
P.P.P.S. The universal library never got the name Hernando wished 'Hernandina' but was and is named 'Biblioteca Colombina'. Today housed in 'Institución Colombina' together with other libraries under one roof.
P.P.P.P.S. I get the impression the process of the universal library never started. The book doesn't tell if it did or not.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Tending Like Garden & Begin Magic

In 1522 Hernando Columbus, son of explorer Christopher Columbus, lost 1,637 of his books in a shipping disaster. Losing these books taught him an important lesson:
"his was not an imaginary library, like the storied one at Alexandria (...). It was a library of flesh and blood - or rather paper, inkt and vellum - and needed to be housed, guarded, ordered and arranged, tended to like a garden that must be restrained from the wilderness to which it always wishes to return. For the first time in his itinerant life, Hernando needed to put down roots, to find a place where his books could be safe; and one whence the library could begin to work its magic upon the world."

He found a house for his books in Seville (Spain):
P.S. Quote from Edward Wilson-Lee, 'The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books' (London 2018), 240.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

History of Snob Taste or Dandy in Age of Mass Culture or A "Sweet" Cynicism

Sunsan Sontag (1933-2004) wrote in 1964 the article Notes on "Camp" (here). Her 58 notes in  sometimes pollarded quotes (bold is added by me):

56. "Camp taste is a kind of love, love for human nature. It relishes, rather than judges."

50. "The history of Camp taste is part of the history of snob taste."  

45. "Camp is the answer to the problem: how to be a dandy in the age of mass culture. One can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious."

35 and 36. Bosch is camp. Rembrandt is not.

6. "The personality and many of the works of Jean Cocteau are Camp, but not those of André Gide."

8. "[Camp] is the love of the exaggerated, the "off," of things-being-what-they-are-not. The best example is in Art Nouveau, the most typical and fully developed Camp style. Art Nouveau objects, typically, convert one thing into something else: the lighting fixtures in the form of flowering plants, the living room which is really a grotto." 

10. "Camp sees everything in quotation marks. It's not a lamp, but a "lamp"; not a woman, but a "woman." To perceive Camp in objects and persons is to understand Being-as-Playing-a-Role. It is the farthest extension, in sensibility, of the metaphor of life as theater."

19. "The pure examples of Camp are unintentional; they are dead serious. The Art Nouveau craftsman who makes a lamp with a snake coiled around it is not kidding, nor is he trying to be charming."
28. "Again, Camp is the attempt to do something extraordinary. But extraordinary in the sense, often, of being special, glamorous."

55. "Camp is generous. It wants to enjoy. It only seems like malice, cynicism. (Or, if it is cynicism, it's not a ruthless but a sweet cynicism.)"

Friday, May 17, 2019

By The Way

How does reading work for you?

I read in the morning for 2 hours if I can and in bed for 1 to 2 hours in the evening. What I read continually changes. My reading list on Monday is not the same by the time I get to Friday. Mostly I read five books at the same time. I can "read" a book for years and finish it after three years. I always finish a book I started reading. Always! Even if it's a bore and not interesting. Why? Because I don't want to get tricked by my self-made presuppositions.

Once again, the strange thing is my to-do reading list changes every week. Better still, every day. Mostly because of what I actually read in another book. Sometimes a smell, a taste, a picture, wind in my face that brings back memories and that makes me wonder "How?", "What?", "When?", "Why?" and another book is "needed" to answer my questions. Another book on top of my to-do reading pile of physical books.

By the way, I think in the present song lyrics have taken over the meaning for "mainstream" cultural life what poems did between the 17th century and the Second World War. Meaning as in: feel alive, feel connected, touching the senses, cause dreams, repeat and ... - there must be more.


Friday, May 10, 2019

Heather Covered

I would love to visit the Lake District in North-West England - the port to Scotland - with you. Walk over the flowering heathland of 'Lingmoor fell'. Smell and see the colors of Beatrice Potter's her 'Hill Top Farm'. Drink cider. Have dinner. ... - there must be more ;)