Ratschläge einer Raupe

“Alice and the Caterpillar” by John Tenniel (1820-1914), from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (1865)

Ratschläge einer Raupe is one possible German translation of “Advice from a Caterpillar”, which is the title of chapter five of Alice in Wonderland. But the drawing above doesn’t need a translation. John Tenniel and Lewis Carroll were a classic combination, like Quentin Blake and J.P. Martin or Thomas Henry and Richmal Crompton. Tenniel drew fantastic things in a matter-of-fact way, which was just right.

But that makes me wonder about Ratschläge einer Raupe. In German, Rat-schlag means “piece of advice” and Ratschläge is the plural. At first glance, the title is more fun in German: it alliterates and trips off the the tongue in a way the English doesn’t. And Schlag literally means “blow, stroke”, which captures the behaviour of the caterpillar well. Like many of the characters Alice encounters in Wonderland, he is a prickly and aggressive interlocutor. “Advice from a Caterpillar” is plain by comparison.

So perhaps that makes it better: it’s a matter-of-fact title for a surreal chapter. Tenniel’s art echoes that.

Horn Again

Pre-previously on Overlord-in-terms-of-Core-Issues-around-Maximal-Engagement-with-Key-Notions-of-the-Über-Feral, I interrogated issues around this shape, the horned triangle:


Horned Triangle (more details)

Now I want to look at the tricorn (from Latin tri-, “three”, + -corn, “horn”). It’s like a horned triangle, but has three horns instead of one:

Tricorn, or three-horned triangle

These are the stages that make up the tricorn:

Tricorn (stages)

Tricorn (animated)

And there’s no need to stop at triangles. Here is a four-horned square, or quadricorn:


Quadricorn (animated)

Quadricorn (coloured)

And a five-horned pentagon, or quinticorn:

Quinticorn, or five-horned pentagon

Quinticorn (anim)

Quinticorn (col)

And below are some variants on the shapes above. First, the reversed tricorn:

Reversed Tricorn

Reversed Tricorn (anim)

Reversed Tricorn (col)

The nested tricorn:

Nested Tricorn (anim)

Nested Tricorn (col)

Nested Tricorn (red-green)

Nested Tricorn (variant col)

The nested quadricorn:

Nested Quadricorn (anim)

Nested Quadricorn

Nested Quadricorn (col #1)

Nested Quadricorn (col #2)

Finally (and ferally), the pentagonal octopus or pentapus:

Pentapus (anim)


Pentapus #2

Pentapus #3

Pentapus #4

Pentapus #5

Pentapus #6

Pentapus (col anim)

Elsewhere other-engageable:

The Art Grows Onda — the horned triangle and Katsushika Hokusai’s painting The Great Wave off Kanagawa (c. 1830)

Performativizing Papyrocentricity #63

Papyrocentric Performativity Presents:

Bullets and ButterfliesMad Dog Killers: The Story of a Congo Mercenary, Ivan Smith (Helion / 30° South Publishers 2012)

Jaundiced on GeorgeGeorge Orwell: English Rebel, Robert Colls (Oxford University Press 2013)

Crabsody in ViewRSPB Handbook of the Seashore, Maya Plass (Bloomsbury 2013)

Or Read a Review at Random: RaRaR

Oh My Guardian #6

[…] the whole vintage package – which started as essentially a rediscovery of simple skills, tying generations together and serving as a visual cake-based bulwark against modern turbulence – has been used to sugar-coat a free-market nationalism that isn’t sweet at all. — Zoë Williams, Let’s ditch the nostalgia that’s invaded our TV and seeped into our politics, The Guardian, 30iv2018.

Elsewhere other-engageable:

Oh My Guardian #5
Zo with the Flow
Reds under the Thread (more on mixed metaphory)