Log24

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Signs and Symbols

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:07 PM

                      " … I feel I understand
Existence, or at least a minute part
Of my existence, only through my art,
In terms of combinational delight;
And if my private universe scans right,
So does the verse of galaxies divine
Which I suspect is an iambic line.
I'm reasonably sure that we survive
And that my darling somewhere is alive…."

— Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

Friday, April 6, 2018

Plan 9

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:18 PM

Salinger's 'Nine Stories,' paperback with 3x3 array of titles on cover, adapted in a Jan. 2, 2009, Log24 post on Nabokov's 1948 'Signs and Symbols'

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Frames

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:45 AM

"I just seemed to have more frames per second than other kids."

— Mary Karr, "Facing Altars: Poetry and Prayer"

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110327-GouldGoldbergs.jpg

 See also "Signs and Symbols."

Art based on a cover of Salinger's 'Nine Stories'

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday January 2, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:48 AM
Signs and Symbols

continued…
from the five entries
ending on June 3, 2008
and from yesterday,
New Year’s Day

The end of a story by Vladimir Nabokov in The New Yorker of May 15, 1948:

Rotary telephone dial

“You have the incorrect number. I will tell you what you are doing: you are turning the letter O instead of the zero.”

They sat down to their unexpected festive midnight tea. The birthday present stood on the table. He sipped noisily; his face was flushed; every now and then he imparted a circular motion to his raised glass so as to make the sugar dissolve more thoroughly. The vein on the side of his bald head where there was a large birthmark stood out conspicuously and, although he had shaved that morning, a silvery bristle showed on his chin. While she poured him another glass of tea, he put on his spectacles and re-examined with pleasure the luminous yellow, green, red little jars. His clumsy moist lips spelled out their eloquent labels: apricot, grape, beech plum, quince. He had got to crab apple, when the telephone rang again.

Art based on a cover of Salinger's 'Nine Stories'

Click for details.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuesday June 3, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 AM
Faith, Doubt, Art
and
The New Yorker

On Faith:

“God is the original conspiracy theory….

Among the varieties of Christian monotheism, none is more totalitarian, none lodges more radical claims for God’s omnipotence, than Calvinism– and within America, the chief analogue of Calvinist theology, Puritanism. According to Calvin every particle of dust, every act, every thought, every creature is governed by the will of God, and yields clues to the divine plan.”

— Scott Sanders, “Pynchon’s Paranoid History

On Doubt:
 
“a Puritan reflex of seeking other orders beyond the visible, also known as paranoia

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (Penguin Classics, 1995), p. 188

On Art
:

The current annual fiction issue of The New Yorker has a section of apparently non-fictional memoirs titled “Faith and Doubt.”

I suggest that faith and doubt are best reconciled by art– as in A Contrapuntal Theme and in the magazine’s current online podcast of Mary Gaitskill reading a 1948 New Yorker story by Vladimir Nabokov.

For the text of the story, see “Signs and Symbols.” For an excellent discussion of Nabokov’s art, see “The Signs and Symbols in Nabokov’s ‘Signs and Symbols,'” by Alexander Dolinin.

Friday, January 10, 2003

Friday January 10, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:15 PM

Story

“How much story do you want?” 
— George Balanchine

While researching yesterday’s entry on Balanchine, Apollo, and the nine Muses, I came across this architect’s remarks, partially quoted yesterday and continued here:

“The icon that I use for this element is the nine-fold square…. This is the garden of Apollo, the field of Reason….  This is the Temple of Solomon, as inscribed, for example, by a nine-fold compartmentation to provide the ground plan of Yale, as described to me by Professor Hersey.”

Duncanology Part 3

Checking this out yesterday, I came across the following at a Yale University Art Gallery site:

“This exhibition of nine boldly colored, asymmetrically designed quilts selected from a private collection will be displayed in the Matrix Gallery….

With the guidance of Professor Maude Southwell Wahlman, author of ‘Signs and Symbols: African Images in African American Quilts,’ the collector has explored and gathered examples….”

Exploring and gathering examples myself today, I received a book in the mail — W. M. Spackman’s On the Decay of Humanism (Rutgers University Press, 1967) — and picked up a second-hand book at a sale — Barbara Michaels’s Stitches in Time (Harper Collins Publishers, 1995).

The Spackman book includes the following poem at the end:

In sandarac etui for sepulchre
  lies the cered body of a poisoned queen;
     and in her mouth and hair, and at her feet,
     and in the grey folds of her winding-sheet,
  there sifts a dreamy powder, smooth and green,
the magic of an idle sorcerer,
  an ancient spell, cast when the shroud was spun.
     In death her hands clasp amourously a bowl
     that still contains the fragments of her soul,
  a tale of Beauty sought, and Beauty won,
his false lips kissed, and Beauty dead for her.

— Alexander B. Griswold, Princeton ’28, in the
    Nassau Literary Magazine of December 1925

From a synopsis of Michaels‘s Stitches in Time:

“Michaels follows Rachel, a graduate student studying women’s crafts–weaving, spinning, quilting, embroidery–and the superstitions connected with them. Linking all important rites of passage to the garments created as markers of these occasions leads Rachel to her theory: in societies in which magic was practiced, the garment was meant to protect its wearer. She gains evidence that her theory is valid when an evil antique bridal quilt enters her life.”

Although Stitches in Time is about a quilt — stitched, not spun — Griswold’s line

“an ancient spell, cast when the shroud was spun” 

is very closely related to the evil spell in Michaels’s book. 

The above events display a certain synchronicity that Wallace Stevens might appreciate, especially in light of the following remark in a review of Stitches in Time:

“…the premise is too outlandish for even the suspension of disbelief….” (Publishers Weekly, 4/24/95)

Stevens might reply,

The very man despising honest quilts
Lies quilted to his poll in his despite.

— “The Comedian as the Letter C,” Part V

Finally, those who prefer stories to the more formal qualities of pure dance (ballet) pure mathematics (see previous entry), pure (instrumental) music, and pure (abstract, as in quilt designs) art, can consult the oeuvre of Jodie Foster — as in my 

Pearl Harbor Day entry on Buddhism.

An art historian named Griswold — perhaps that very same Griswold quoted above — might have a thing or two to say to Jodie on her recent film “Anna and the King.”  In the April, 1957, issue of The Journal of the Siam Society, Alexander B. Griswold takes issue with Broadway’s and Hollywood’s “grotesque caricature” of Siamese society, and ultimately with Anna herself:

“The real fault lies in the two books they ultimately spring from — The English Governess at the Court of Siam and The Romance of the Harem — both written by Mrs. Anna Leonowens.”

Is a puzzlement.

See also The Diamond 16 Puzzle for some quilt designs.

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