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  • feedwordpress 09:01:30 on 2018/01/06 Permalink
    Tags: , Count de Waldeck, Dante, , , , , , Mayan Culture,   

    “All fantasy should have a solid base in reality”*… 


    One of the most notorious examples of Waldeck’s penchant for fantasy: an elephant head in this rendition of an Ancient Mayan temple

    Not a lot concerning the artist, erotic publisher, explorer, and general enigma Count de Waldeck can be taken at face value, and this certainly includes his fanciful representations of ancient Mesoamerican culture which — despite being brilliantly executed on-site at Mayan monuments like Palenque — run wild with anatopistic lions, elephants, and suspicious architecture.  Rhys Griffiths looks at the life and work of one of the 19th century’s most mysterious and eccentric figures: “Brief Encounters with Jean-Frédéric Maximilien de Waldeck.”

    * Sir Max Beerbohm, Zuleika Dobson


    As we ponder a predecessor of Photoshop, we might send delightfully-drawn birthday greetings to Paul Gustave Doré; he was born on this date in 1832.  An engraver, sculptor, and illustrator– indeed, the defining illustrator of works by Rabelais, Balzac, Milton, Cervantes, and many others– Doré is probably best-remembered as the man who showed us Heaven and Hell: the canonical illustrator of Dante.

    Don Quixote, his horse Rocinante, and his squire Sancho Panza after an unsuccessful attack on a windmill.


    The Tempest of Hell in THE DIVINE COMEDY




  • feedwordpress 08:01:57 on 2017/05/20 Permalink
    Tags: , , Dante, Divine Comedy, , , Michelangelo Caetani, persuasive cartography, , St. Lucifer,   

    “I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way”*… 


    Michelangelo Caetani’s “Cross Section of Hell,” an illustration of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and part of Cornell University’s P.J. Mode Collection of Persuasive Cartography (“more than 800 maps intended primarily to influence opinions or beliefs – to send a message – rather than to communicate geographic information”).

    An enlargeable version of the Cross Section is here; browse the full collection here.

    * Robert Frost


    As we ruminate on repentance, we might note that today is the Feast Day of  Lucifer– more properly, of St. Lucifer of Caligari.  At least, it’s his feast day in Sardinia, where he’s venerated.  Lucifer, who was a 4th century bishop fierce in his opposition to Arianism, is considered by some elsewhere to have been a stalwart (if minor) defender of the orthodoxy; but by more to have been an obnoxious fanatic.

    “Lucifer” was in use at the time as a translation of the the Hebrew word, transliterated Hêlêl or Heylel (pron. as HAY-lale), which means “shining one, light-bearer.”  It had been rendered in Greek as ἑωσφόρος (heōsphoros), a name, literally “bringer of dawn,” for the morning star.  The name “Lucifer” was introduced in St. Jerome’s Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate, roughly contemporaneously with St. Lucifer.  The conflation of “Lucifer” with “Satan” came later.




  • feedwordpress 09:01:35 on 2017/01/27 Permalink
    Tags: Dante, , , , , , , Sean Tejaratchi,   

    “From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere”*… 


    From Sean Tejaratchi, creator of the zine Crap Hound

    More– oh, so much more– at LiarTownUSA.

    * Dr. Seuss


    As we revel in the ridiculous, we might pour a cup of birthday tea for English mathematician, logician, photographer, and Anglican cleric, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson– better known as the author Lewis Carroll– born on this date in 1832.

    “There is no use in trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

    “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

    Alice in Wonderland (nee “Alice’s Adventures Underground,” then “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”)


    And we might might spare a sympathetic thought for Dante Alighieri, who was exiled from Florence on this date in 1302… sympathetic– and grateful– as it was on his subsequent wanderings that he wrote The Divine Comedy

    Dante, as painted by Giotto on the wall of the Bargello in Florence; the oldest surviving portrait of the poet, from before his exile


    Happy Mozart’s Birthday!

  • feedwordpress 08:01:22 on 2014/06/24 Permalink
    Tags: Ambrose Bierce, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Dante, Hell, , Inferno, , , , The Devil's Dictionary,   

    “Ah, to think how thin the veil that lies Between the pain of Hell and Paradise”*… 


     click here for enlargeable and navigable version

    From the remarkable Russian periodical, INFOGRAFIKA (see also here), a handy map of Hell.  per the title of this post, one just never knows when it might come in handy…

    * George William Russell (AE)


    As we bird-dog Beatrice, we might send sardonic birthday greetings to Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce; he was born on this date in 1842.  A journalist, editor, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist, Bierce is probably best remembered for his short-story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (which Kurt Vonnegut considered the greatest American short story, a “work of flawless genius”) and, pace Dante, for his scathingly satirical lexicon The Devil’s Dictionary

    • Advicen. The smallest current coin…
    • Boundaryn. In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of the other…
    • Yearn. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments…



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