Album primo-avrilesque, meaning April-Foolish Album, is a collection of visual jokes published by the French humourist Alphonse Allais (1854-1905) on 1st April 1897. Note that some of the captions can’t be translated fully into English, because they use French idioms that refer to color.
I don’t know about you, but this is exactly what I like to see in the opening paragraph of an essay engaging issues around William S. Burroughs and the cult of rock’n’roll dot dot dot…
Naked Lunch is inseparable from its author William S. Burroughs, which tends to happen with certain major works. The book may be the only Burroughs title many literature buffs can name. In terms of name recognition, Naked Lunch is a bit like Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, which also arrived in 1959. Radical for its time, Kind of Blue now sounds quaint, though it is undeniably a masterwork. — William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock ’n’ Roll, Casey Rae
Did you spot it? Didja?
Illustrations from Teach Yourself Greek by F. Kinchin Smith and T.W. Melluish (1947), with accents added by another (and presumably Hispanophone) hand. (Is a “Hispanophone hand” like a “pivotal voice”?)
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.
[…] 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.
Papyrocentric Performativity Presents:
• Conteur Compatissant – Short Stories, Guy de Maupassant, translated by Marjorie Laurie (Everyman’s Library 1934)
• Riff-Raph – 100 Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces, Gordon Kerr (Flame Tree Publishing 2011)
• Fall of the Wild – A Fall of Moondust, Arthur C. Clarke (1961)
• Orchid and Oak – Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine et al (Thomas Nelson 1984)
• Hoare Here – Risingtidefallingstar, Philip Hoare (Fourth Estate 2017)
Or Read a Review at Random: RaRaR
Biblia anagrammatica, or, The anagrammatic Bible: a literary curiosity gathered from unexplored sources and from books of the greatest rarity, Rev. Walter Begley, Privately Printed for the Author, 1904
I. ANAGRAMMATIC DIALOGUES COMPOSED ENTIRELY OF THE LETTERS OF THE SALUTATIO ANGELICA: “AVE, MARIA, GRATIA PLENA; DOMINVS TECVM”
After considerable research, I have only discovered two writers who have attempted this excessively difficult literary device. One was the eccentric Pierre de St. Louis, a Carmelite, whose book is dated 1672, and the other an Hungarian priest, who gave his contribution to the public in a work published as recently as 1869.
Luc. i. 28.
Ave, Maria, plena gratia; Dominus tecum.
Pierre de St. Louis, Carmelite, 1672.
Nigra sum. At Janua Coeli demum aperta.
Amica pia et Rosa grata, Lumenve Mundi.
Gemma Vitis in ea clara Domu pure nata.
Virgo clemens pia miranda, Eva mutata.
Regia summa Patrona, Clientem adjuva.
Virgo meum lumen, pia et sacrata Diana.
Ira placata rigidum mutas Evae nomen.
O Musa, jam ad te levia carmina pergunt.
Area mea totiusve Mundi ampla Regina.
Mater Carmeli. In eo, pia, munda, augusta.
Magna diu semper, Carmeli o Janua Tuta.
In Te valida via, magna sperat cor meum.
Amate prodigium naturas sine macula.
Semper inviolatam, argute canam. Audi.
Gemma tuis pie cara, in Domu Lauretana,
Jam tum via miranda per angelos vecta
Permagna Domus aurea in alta emicuit.
Vera, Alma Domus Agri Piceni tuta mane.
Amica ad te unam, jam Peregrinus volat.
Tu Dia, quam Pia, ore angeli arcanum sume.
Sanctuarium a Dei mei Angelo paratum.
Eia, Pia, Caram Mundo genitura salutem.
Ea pia, edita Regula omnium sanctarum.
Virgo casta Diana Emmanuelem rapuit.
Alma Porta jam antea Decus Virgineum.
Summa Diva ac Virgo plane intemerata.
Tam magna Deipara, una te jure colimus.
Via mea, Paradisi gratum Lumen, te cano
Intus a gaudio camera impleatur. Amen.
Mater cujus amaritudo ei plane magna
Elucens Virgo, tu jam pia Mater amanda.
In Amanda vivam ego. Petrus Carmelita
Mea Virago Lauretana est prima mundi.
Mira simul et pia, erga Numen advocata.
O Luna magnum a Dei pietate sacrarium.
O Unica sanave Margarita, Dei templum.
Summa Regina Poli, tute ac jure amanda.
Tu Regia, non Eva prima, sed Immaculata.
Sum Luna Picena amata, Virgo Mater Dei
Tu mea ardua ara, olim in Picenum gesta.
O veri Dei Munus, Palma, caritate magna.
Alma vere Integra, Pudica. Nos jam muta.
Due Regina et viam tutam sine malo para.
Num pia amata, et sacra Virgo de Lumine.
Eva intacta Deum jam paris angelorum.
Ita amata parens miraculo Deum genui.
Ardua sancta pia meum Genitorem alui.
Tu pia amica Mundo. Salve Regina Mater,
O augusta mire pia. Nunc Dei Mater alma.
Ipsa ter magna aut nimium decora. Vale.
Optima, cara Mater Numinis. Vale. Gaude.
This very eccentric Carmelite who framed the above fifty-one anagrams, and the first anagrammatic dialogue in Part I., some pages back, has been presented entire, and not tithed. The reasons of this special privilege are that he is rare to a degree, an “original” here and always, and the specimens above have been picked out, for the first time, from different parts of his work, for which, and for more about him, see the Bibliography.
• Biblia anagrammatica (1904)
• καθῐλᾰρ-εύομαι c. gen., and —ύνω c. dat., sine expl., Suid. — Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon
• Es war, als ob er irgendwohin horchte, auf irgend ein unheimliches Geräusch. — Thomas Mann, Der kleine Herr Friedemann (1897)
• He seemed somehow to be listening, listening to some uncanny noise from nowhere. — “Little Herr Friedemann” (translated by David Luke)
“… for comic effect he also drew on neglected Arabic words, including buldah, or ‘freedom from hair of the space between the eyebrows’, and bahsala, to ‘remove one’s clothes and gamble with them’.” — Christopher de Bellaigue, The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle between Faith and Reason (2017), writing of the Lebanese Christian Maronite novelist Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq (1805-87) (ch. 5, Vortex, pg. 167)