Weekend links 93


One of a series of tremendous designs by Malika Favre for a new Penguin edition of the Kama Sutra.

• New interviews: “…Americans — mired in individualism — prefer to think in terms of identity than in terms of roles and masks. An American would never have called a novel Confessions of a Mask.” Nicholas Currie, better known via his Momus mask. | “The horror in music comes from the silence,” says John Carpenter. | “It’s dangerous to be an artist. That’s what we talk about in Naked Lunch — and it’s dangerous on many different levels. Politically it can be dangerous, but psychologically it can be quite dangerous too. You make yourself very vulnerable. You put yourself out there and of course you open yourself up to criticism and attack.” David Cronenberg at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

• New books: Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, a Joycean memoir by Mary M Talbot and Bryan Talbot. | A stack of new works from Strange Attractor including a collection of Savage Pencil‘s Trip or Squeek comic strips. | Robert Irwin’s Visions of the Jinn: Illustrators of the Arabian Nights. A shame about the high price on the latter but I’m sure it looks wonderful.

• The Blu-ray release of Wings (1927), William A. Wellman’s silent drama about air aces during the First World War, has prompted renewed attention for the passionate relationship between its two male leads, especially this deathbed scene which is tagged as the first same-sex kiss in cinema. That’s arguable, of course, but it’s certainly a touching moment.

• From 2009: Searching the Library of Babel, a list of all the stories in all 33 volumes of The Library of Babel, a 1979 Spanish language anthology of fantastic literature edited by Jorge Luis Borges.

• Lots of newpaper attention in the past week for the not-so-fresh news that magic mushrooms could help fight depression. Nature went into the detail of the latest studies.

French group Air have written the score for a rare colour print of Le voyage dans la lune (1902) by Georges Méliès. Air’s YouTube channel has extracts.

• From 1989: The Merchant of Shadows by Angela Carter.

Will Hunt on the Ghost River of Manhattan.

Selected Letters of William S. Burroughs

Sexy Boy (1998) by Air | Surfing On A Rocket (2003) by Air | Mer Du Japon (2007) by Air.

2 thoughts on “Weekend links 93”

  1. It would be nice at some point to have the Library of Babel translated completely into English-language anthologies. There are a distressing number of short stories by Meyrink that still have not been translated into English. Not long ago I purchased the massive and magnificent ‘Weird’ anthology by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, and while Mr. Meyrink was included I was surprised how very little they had to say about him in their introduction to his entry. The shape-shifting shadow cities of Meyrink’s narratives have more than a few qualities in common with the settings of Vandermeer in my opinion. Anyway, as remarkable as Meyrink’s novels are, I’ve always felt his short stories held their own just as well and for reasons distinct unto themselves. Whereas his novels were almost like complex and carefully-orchestrated rituals, his short stories were like immensely powerful yet fleeting dreams. I’ve heard a thousand different theories from a thousand different so-called authorities of knowledge holding a thousand different points of view as to what it all might mean, and I can honestly say there isn’t a single person who has tried to even marginally explain the significance of dreams, as wildly varied as their mere hypothoses are, that I didn’t think sounded like an utter buffoon, yet who with an imagination can deny that animate, world-shattering revelations seem to reveal themselves in the universe of dreams, often disguised as mundane things, only to hover away like moths made of ash and cinder adrift the wind taking all recollection with them, whenever the unfortunate dreamer should awake.

    I tried to keep that as simple as I could but it didn’t quite work, so I guess it could be said that I sounded like a buffoon as well. Anyway, Meyrink’s short works like ‘Dr. Cinderella’s Plant’s’, ‘the Violet Death’, and ‘Cricket Magic’, just to name a few, are utterly charged with this sense of fleeting revelation. Centipede press is doing fairly well, or at least it seems to be. I wonder if Jerad could afford a translator to do an anthology of all of Meyrink’s stories.

  2. Once again, John, I am in your debt for introducing me to that elaborate list of Jorge Luis Borges’ Library of Babel. Although I have already read a fair bit of it, mainly Kipling, Wilde, etc., there is much that I have not. How wonderful to find new things to read, especially when there are so many links that are available.

    I’ve been thinking, by the bye, of doing the research and figuring out how to code the hyperlinks so as to annotate Lovecraft’s Supernatural Horror in Literature. I suspect that were that done, you’d have perhaps as extensive a list of literature as the Library of Babel

    I must, however, take slight exception to Nicholas Currie’s statement (‘Americans — mired in individualism — prefer to think in terms of identity than in terms of roles and masks. An American would never have called a novel Confessions of a Mask.”’).

    Granted, most Yanks are so pig ignorant as not to be able to parse the etymology of the word person, i.e., from the Latin persona, or to have the mental equipment so as to realize that to oppose personhood with masks or roles is to attempt a false dichotomy.

    But that is the case for most Yanks; not for all of us.

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