The Labyrinth

ulysses1.jpg

I may no longer post every day but I maintain some traditions so here’s the annual post for Bloomsday. This year all the offerings are courtesy of the British Library who recently expanded their online literary archives. Among the Joycean material there are these Ulysses-related items including one of the first editions published by Shakespeare and Company in 1922. I saw one of these up close in 1995 at a charity auction of banned books in London, not only a first edition but one of the copies that Joyce had signed. Salman Rushdie was in attendance at that event (and still being shadowed by a police escort), and ended up with the book after bidding something like £2000. If you want a signed first of Ulysses today then expect to add another zero to the price.

ulysses2.jpg

Also at the British Library is this copy of The Little Review from April 1920. The magazine was prosecuted for obscenity in the US after publishing the Nausicaa chapter (wherein Mr Bloom masturbates on the beach).

ulysses3.jpg

And another edition of the novel, the first US printing after the legal case against Ulysses was overturned in 1934. This is the edition of the book that opens with an arrestingly page-filling capital S.

The title of this post, incidentally, is taken from Anthony Burgess’s Joyce study Here Comes Everybody (1965), an excellent guide to the author’s works whose section on Ulysses is named after the structure built by Daedalus (Dedalus), The Labyrinth.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Duc de Joyeux
Dubliners
Covering Joyce
James Joyce in Reverbstorm
Joyce in Time
Happy Bloomsday
Passages from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake
Books for Bloomsday

Weekend links 269

cluster.jpg

Grosses Wasser (1979) by Cluster. Cover art by Dieter Moebius.

• RIP Dieter Moebius: one half of Cluster (with Hans-Joachim Roedelius), one third of Harmonia (with Roedelius and Michael Rother), and collaborator with many other musicians, including Brian Eno and Conny Plank. Geeta Dayal, who interviewed Moebius for Frieze in 2012, chose five favourite recordings. From 2008: Cosmic Outriders: the music of Cluster and Harmonia by Mark Pilkington. At the Free Music Archive: Harmonia playing at ATP, New York in 2008. Live recordings of Cluster in the 1970s have always been scarce but in 1977 they played a droning set at the Metz Science-Fiction Festival, a performance that was broadcast on FM radio (the Eno credit there seems to be an error).

• “I’ve since had the feeling that, if the attacks against The Satanic Verses had taken place today, these people would not have defended me, and would have used the same arguments against me, accusing me of insulting an ethnic and cultural minority.” Salman Rushdie on the fallout from the Charlie Hebdo killings.

• “The effect of these memories is to make you think you know the film better than you do, and wonder what it’s like actually to sit down and watch it.” Michael Wood on rewatching Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958). Related: Tipping My Fedora on the film’s source novel, Badge of Evil (1956).

“To me, it’s simple,” he says. “Fantasy became as bland as everything else in entertainment. To be a bestseller, you’ve got to rub the corners off. The more you can predict the emotional arc of a book, the more successful it will become.

“I do understand that Game of Thrones is different. It has its political dimensions; I’m very fond of the dwarf and I’m very pleased that George [R R Martin], who’s a good friend, has had such a huge success. But ultimately it’s a soap opera. In order to have success on that scale, you have to obey certain rules. I’ve had conversations with fantasy writers who are ambitious for bestseller status and I’ve had to ask them, ‘Yes, but do you want to have to write those sorts of books in order to get there?’”

Michael Moorcock talking to Andrew Harrison about fantasy, science fiction, the past and the present.

• “Architects love Blade Runner, they just go bonkers. When I was working on the film, it was all about, let’s jam together Byzantine and Mayan and Post-Modern and even a little bit of Memphis, just mash it all together.” Designer and visual futurist Syd Mead talking to Patrick Sisson.

• “Lucian of Samosata’s True History reads like a doomed acid trip,” says Cecilia D’Anastasio, who wonders whether or not the book can be regarded as the earliest work of science fiction.

• Mixes of the week: A Tribute to Dieter Moebius by Vegan Logic, and another by Totallyradio.

• The Phantasmagoria of the First Hand-Painted Films by Joshua Yumibe.

Islamic Geometric: calligraphic tessellations by Shakil Akram Khan.

Michael Prodger on The Dangerous Mind of Richard Dadd.

A chronological list of synth scores and soundtracks.

Touch Of Evil (Main Theme) (1958) by Henry Mancini | Badge Of Evil (1982) by Cabaret Voltaire | Touch Of Evil (2009) by Jaga Jazzist

Weekend links 109

magritte.jpg

Dreams before Surrealism: a sheet music cover from 1926 by René Magritte.

• The week in music: Listen to compositions by Annea Lockwood. | At the Free Music Archive: Uncomfortable Music, a tribute to David Lynch’s Eraserhead (and, it should be said, to Alan Splet’s unique soundtrack). | Alan Licht plays a track from Trout Mask Replica then loops some Donna Summer and improvises guitar noise over it. | Music Experiments with Terror: The Spooky Isles presents Joseph Stannard‘s list of recent eldritch sounds from British musicians.

Great art, or, let’s just say, more modestly, original art is never created in the safe middle ground, but always at the edge. Originality is dangerous. It challenges, questions, overturns assumptions, unsettles moral codes, disrespects sacred cows or other such entities. It can be shocking, or ugly, or, to use the catch-all term so beloved of the tabloid press, controversial. And if we believe in liberty, if we want the air we breathe to remain plentiful and breathable, this is the art whose right to exist we must not only defend, but celebrate. Art is not entertainment. At its very best, it’s a revolution.

Salman Rushdie on the censorship of art

• All Diamond, No Rough” says the School Library Journal about the first volume of The Graphic Canon. Volume two should be out in August.

Scientific American asks: Do Psychedelics Expand the Mind by Reducing Brain Activity?

• From 2010: A Dandy in Aspic – A letter from Derek Marlowe.

Tom Phillips and A Humument: how a novel became an oracle.

Timeline Maps at the David Rumsey Map Collection.

• Happy 50th birthday, A Clockwork Orange.

Jim Dandy (1956) by LaVern Baker | Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, part one (1972) by King Crimson, live on Beat Club.

A literary recluse: The mystery of Pynchon

pynchon_simpsons.jpgThe cult writer is about to publish his first novel for nine years. But the best-selling author of V and Gravity’s Rainbow remains an enigma to his millions of fans. By Louise Jury

August 17, 2006
The Independent

He is so elusive a writer that he makes Harper Lee appear a socialite. He gives no interviews and shuns all photo opportunities. Thomas Pynchon, cult figure of American prose, is a nightmare for his publicists.

But the mystery surrounding the 69-year-old author will serve only to increase the clamour when his next novel, Against the Day, is published in December simultaneously in the UK and the US. It will be his first novel in nine years and only his sixth—plus a collection of early fiction—since his astonishing debut with V in 1963.

Finally announcing the date yesterday, Dan Franklin of Jonathan Cape, his British publisher, said that to have a new work was “incredibly exciting”. He added: “Against the Day is an epic that is awesome in its scope and imagination.”

Continue reading “A literary recluse: The mystery of Pynchon”