Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What Seems Insanity

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:29 PM

On a way of seeingsuperimposition
that "seems insanity" (cf. C. S. Lewis's remarks below)

Combining last night's post Spectrum with
the August 14 post Valhalla Is Down

From An Experiment in Criticism 
by C.S. Lewis, 1961–

"If we go steadily through all the myths of any people
we shall be appalled by much of what we read.
Most of them, whatever they may have meant to
ancient or savage man, are to us meaningless and
shocking; shocking not only by their cruelty and
obscenity but by their apparent silliness— almost
what seems insanity. Out of this rank and squalid
undergrowth the great myths— Orpheus, Demeter
and Persephone, the Hesperides, Balder, Ragnarok,
or Ilmarinen's forging of the Sampo– rise like elms."

Voilà —

The Aug. 14 post Valhalla Is Down referred to a New York Times  blackout.
(Jill Abramson, on earlier being named executive editor at the Times, had
said it was like "ascending into Valhalla.")

Another Times blackout occurred today.

Lewis's term Ragnarok refers to the twilight of the gods of Valhalla.

A more conventional illustration from the gamer website Ragnarok/Valhalla Wiki —

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Figure in the Carpet

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:02 AM

"Why don't you come with me, little girl,
On a magic carpet ride?"

– Steppenwolf lyrics

"I like to fold my magic carpet, after use,
in such a way as to superimpose
one part of the pattern upon another."

Vladimir Nabokov in Speak, Memory


See also Nabokov at Harvard in today's Crimson
and the Russian boxes of Henry James.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

… Don't you know that when you play
at this level there's no ordinary venue?

— Lyrics from Chess

Why don't you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride?

— Steppenwolf lyrics in Star Trek: First Contact

I like to fold my magic carpet, after use,
in such a way as to superimpose
one part of the pattern upon another.

Vladimir Nabokov in Speak, Memory

See also recent Log24 posts.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday January 25, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:04 AM

Requiem for a Curator

"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment
of Pontius Pilate's unanswered question
'What is truth?'"

  — H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987,
book introduction quoted
as epigraph to
Art Wars

"I confess I do not believe in time.
I like to fold my magic carpet,
after use, in such a way
as to superimpose
one part of the pattern
upon another."

Nabokov, Speak, Memory


Figure by Coxeter
reminiscent of the
Ojo de Dios of
Mexico's Sierra Madre

In memory of
National Gallery
of Art curator
Philip Conisbee,
who died on
January 16:

"the God's-eye
 of the author"


— Dorothy Sayers,
    The Mind
    of the Maker

  "one complete
and free eye,
which can
simultaneously see
in all directions"

— Vladimir Nabokov,
    The Gift   

A Contrapuntal Theme

Sunday, June 6, 2004

Sunday June 6, 2004

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 1:28 PM

“I confess I do not believe in time.
I like to fold my magic carpet,
after use, in such a way
as to superimpose
one part of the pattern
upon another.”

(Nabokov, Speak, Memory)

From a review of On the Composition of Images, Signs & Ideas, by Giordano Bruno:

Proteus in the House of Mnemosyne (which is the fifth chapter of the Third Book) relies entirely on familiarity with Vergil’s Aeneid (even when the text shifts from verse to prose). The statement, “Proteus is, absolutely, that one and the same subject matter which is transformable into all images and resemblances, by means of which we can immediately and continually constitute order, resume and explain everything,” reads less clear than the immediate analogy, “Just as from one and the same wax we awaken all shapes and images of sensate things, which become thereafter the signs of all things that are intelligible.”

From an interview with Vladimir Nabokov published in Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature, vol. VIII, no. 2, Spring 1967:

When I was your student, you never mentioned the  Homeric parallels in discussing Joyce’s Ulysses  But you did supply “special information” in introducing many of the masterpieces: a map of Dublin for Ulysses….  Would you be able to suggest some equivalent for your own readers?

Joyce himself very soon realized with dismay that the harping on those essentially easy and vulgar “Homeric parallelisms” would only distract one’s attention from the real beauty of his book. He soon dropped these pretentious chapter titles which already were “explaining” the book to non-readers.  In my lectures I tried to give factual data only. A map of three country estates with a winding river and a figure of the butterfly Parnassius mnemosyne for a cartographic cherub will be the endpaper in my revised edition of Speak, Memory.

For more on Joyce and Proteus,
see the May 27 entry

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