Sculptured Melodies by Mera Sett

sett01.jpg

Another week, another link to the Internet Archive. It’s hard to resist reporting these discoveries when so many are either surprising, much-needed, or—as in this case—fantastically rare and obscure. Sculptured Melodies (1922) was a book of short stories published privately in Britain in an edition of 500 copies. The possibly pseudonymous author and illustrator, Mera Sett, is so off the map that almost all the available information seems to derive from a series of posts about the book by John Hirschhorn Smith of Side Real Press. (The Internet Archive scan is also from Smith’s own copy of the book.) Each story is inspired by a piece of music, and written “in a decadent style reminiscent of Pierre Louÿs”; Orientalist or Ancient World exotica is the predominant tone.

sett02.jpg

Whoever the author was, he (it does at least seem to be a he) illustrated his stories in the post-Beardsley idiom that continued to a feature of publishing in the 1920s. The drawings are very much the work of an enthusiastic amateur, although the same might be said of Sett’s better-known contemporary, Alastair (Hans Henning Voigt), another follower in Beardsley’s wake who compensated for his uneven figure drawing with copious decoration and outrageous costumes. Sett also uses decoration to disguise his shortcomings, borrowing some of Aubrey’s Japonisme peacocks along with other motifs from Persian and Indian art. The latter details suggest an unexplored artistic avenue that blends Beardsley’s black-and-white style with the tableaux of Persian miniatures.

sett03.jpg

sett04.jpg

sett05.jpg

Continue reading “Sculptured Melodies by Mera Sett”

Weekend links 420

nighttide.jpg

• I’ve wondered for years why there was such a difference in quality between Plight & Premonition (1988) and Flux + Mutability (1989), a pair of instrumental albums by David Sylvian and Holger Czukay. The former warrants repeated listening while the latter…doesn’t. David Sylvian‘s reminiscences about the recording sessions are enlightening.

• “There’s something evil and dangerous that is too old to comprehend.” Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, directors of The Endless, talk to Virginie Sélavy about the creepiness of recorded media, the science of the supernatural and their belated readings of HP Lovecraft.

• “I hope my site will inspire people to see the world a different way,” says Nicolas Winding Refn, writing about the forthcoming launch of byNWR.com, a home for his collection of restored cult films. Good to see Night Tide (1961) by Curtis Harrington among the titles.

Dennis Cooper‘s favourite fiction, poetry, non-fiction, film, art, and internet of 2018 so far. Thanks again for the link here! Also: Laura Dern Day.

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 660 by 7FO, and Light Entertainment Programme: PRExotica 1914–1952 by Jesús Bacalão.

David Bennun on thirty years of the animated masterpiece that is Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira.

Diane Mehta on the rare women in the rare book trade. Related: Pyewacket Books.

• At Greydogtales: One hundred years of Philip José Farmer.

• In Paris, an omnivorous Asian phantasmagoria.

• The Strange World of…Jon Hassell.

Night Tide (1994) by Scorn | Dark Noontide (2002) by Six Organs Of Admittance | Flowery Noontide (2004) by Espers