Monday Writing: Re-visioning

Note to come back to!


copyright: Brandy Schillace (for "Fear of the Dark") copyright: Brandy Schillace (for “Fear of the Dark”)

You might say that today’s post is not entirely genre specific. It applies as easily to the Reboot as the Dose, as much to fiction writing as to work in the medical humanities or elsewhere. We all must revise.

Before you scream in horror (and sometimes I do, no lie), a word about what this word means: See. Again. And again. And again. This is a far cry from editing. It means going over the same ground and figuring out 1. is this fruitful? 2. is this necessary? 3. is this “right”? On some level, I think we dislike revision because it opens the prospect that hours of work will be thrown out, uprooted, cast aside. We worked on that sentence or section for hours–now it’s not going in? And the older the writing is, the more it has matured unchanged…

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Call for Papers | ISECS 2015 Panel—For the Greater Glory of Portugal


call for papers

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Now accepting proposals for this panel for next year’s ISECS Congress in Rotterdam:

For the Greater Glory of Portugal: Cultural Policy and Artistic Trade in the Age of João V
ISECS Congress, Rotterdam, 26–31 July 2015

Proposals due by 12 January 2015 (though earlier submissions are very much encouraged)

Organiser: Dr. Pilar Diez del Corral Corredoira, Art History Institute, New University of Lisbon:;

João V (1689–1750) propelled Portugal into the arena of international politics and raised the country’s prestige to new and unprecedented levels. His imperial policies affected vast swathes of territory in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. With his huge spending on art, music, and luxury items—intended to strengthen his position within European—he can be seen as a second Sun King. It is surprising, therefore, that relatively little interest has been shown in his kingship by non-Portuguese historians.

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Unfinished work?


The Le Nain Brothers, Three Men and a Boy, c.1647-8, oil on canvas, 54.1 x 64.5cm. National Gallery, London.

Very little is known about the French Le Nain brothers,  Antoine, Louis and Mathieu, other than that they shared a studio and took local town folk, children and people of very modest and humble means as their subjects. I have not researched their work but stumbled across this image today while looking for thesis related images. I have to admit that as a painter, it didn’t actually occur to me that this is an  ‘unfinished’ work until I read the catalogue entry alongside it. That is, the painting struck me as retaining a very beautiful, organic quality which I think would have been lost had it been ‘finished’. Though it is noted to show signs of wear in the right corner, finishing this piece in the sense of filling up the expanse of the canvas to the same level of detail and polish would have erased the variety of rich surface areas and use of colour which gives the work its lively, painterly qualities. In sum, rather than lament its apparent incompleteness, I am glad it wasn’t finished at all, and would have been more than happy to arrive at that artistic decision if it was on my easel.

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Exhibition | Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination

wonderful, wonderful!


Terror and Wonder 02 (resized for Web)

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This year marks the 250th anniversary of the publication of Horace Walpole’s ’s The Castle of Otranto, and the British Library celebrates with an exhibition exploring the the relationship between the Gothic and the British imagination up to the present. The wall colors are from Farrow & Ball, with Lulworth Blue (No. 89) providing the backdrops for most of the Walpole material at the beginning of the exhibition, along with Great White (No. 2006), before things go really dark with Pitch Black (No. 256) and Rectory Red (No. 217). Of course, there’s Rectory Red in this show.

From the BL:

Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
British Library, London, 3 October 2014 — 20 January 2015

Curated by Tim Pye

Horace Walpole. Portrait by John Giles Eccardt, 1754. © National Portrait Gallery, London. Horace Walpole in 1754 with his hand on a volume from his library and the Gothicised Strawberry Hill in the background. John Giles Eccardt, Portrait of Horace Walpole, 1754 (London: National Portrait Gallery)

Two hundred…

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Creative Types


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Selections from One-Star Amazon Reviews of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

This post from over at Biblioklept is wonderful if you have a strange sense of humour like mine, or you might see it as a terrible injustice to an enduring, amazing piece of literature. Actually, its both.


[Ed. note: The following citations come from one-star Amazon reviews of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstien. (See also: Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s RainbowGeorge Orwell’s 1984, Melville’s Moby-Dick, Joyce’s Ulysses and Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress). I’ve preserved the reviewers’ own styles of punctuation and spelling].

Take it from me, a seasoned man of literature.

This book had a really good idea for a story.

Well, Mary Shelley was a teen when she wrote this.

And why do they call it a “horror story”?

I would rather read the berstein bears.

How does a gathering of dead limbs and organs produce super human strength?

Mary Shelley uses a lot of fancy words and complicated sentence stucture but the book really doesn’t say anything.

I don’t really care what the mountains looked like.

I would not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 40.

horribly and…

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On humans and existence

Currently reading anything I can get my hands on to wrap my head around eighteenth-century French materialist philosophy for my thesis, I came across a passage where La Mettrie shares his thoughts on the origin of humans.  He ponders:

“Perhaps he [man] was thrown by chance on a point of the earth’s surface without anyone being able to say how or why, but simply that he has to live and die, like mushrooms which appear from one day to the next.”

Julien Offray de la Mettrie, Machine Man, in (trans. and ed.) Thompson, A., Machine Man and Other Writings, Cambridge, 1996, p.23.

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