Archive for the 'The Library' Category

The Voynich Manuscript Mystery Continues: It’s Still Probably Not Solved

“What could be so scandalous, so dangerous, or so important to be written in such an uncrackable cipher?”

 

Perhaps NOTHING? Perhaps it is just a bunch of nonsensical drivel? Or, perhaps, according to this new take on the manuscript, it is something relatively mundane (and even rather disappointing) written in a sort of homemade shorthand?

 

We like to think that the mystery remains unsolved and that this little book is still alive with the possibility of being remarkable. Many critics of this new research agree with us…

 

Voynich Manuscript Public Domain

 

From The Atlantic,

 

Has a Mysterious Medieval Code Really Been Solved?
Experts say no.

by Sarah Zhang

 

“The Voynich manuscript is not an especially glamorous physical object. It is slightly larger than a modern paperback, bound in “limp vellum” as is the technical term. But its pages are full of astrological charts, strange plants, naked ladies bathing in green liquid, and, most famously, an indecipherable script that has eluded cryptographers to this day.

 

What could be so scandalous, so dangerous, or so important to be written in such an uncrackable cipher?

 

This week, the venerable Times Literary Supplement published as its cover story a “solution” for the Voynich manuscript. The article by Nicholas Gibbs suggests the manuscript is a medieval women’s-health manual copied from several older sources. And the cipher is no cipher at all, but simply abbreviations that, once decoded, turn out to be medicinal recipes.

 

The solution should be seismic news in the Voynich world…”

 

For the rest, click here.

 

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The Truth at Long Last About The lynching of Emmett Till

Let us hope that all such cruel injustices are revealed in the light of the truth…

 

Emmett Till was 14 when he was killed in 1955. Credit Associated Press

 

From the NYT,

 

Woman Linked to 1955 Emmett Till Murder Tells Historian Her Claims Were False
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

 

“For six decades, she has been the silent woman linked to one of the most notorious crimes in the nation’s history, the lynching of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy, keeping her thoughts and memories to herself as millions of strangers idealized or vilified her.

 

But all these years later, a historian says that the woman has broken her silence, and acknowledged that the most incendiary parts of the story she and others told about Emmett — claims that seem tame today but were more than enough to get a black person killed in Jim Crow-era Mississippi — were false.

 

The woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, spoke to Timothy B. Tyson, a Duke University professor — possibly the only interview she has given to a historian or journalist since shortly after the episode — who has written a book, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” to be published next week.

 

In it, he wrote that she said of her long-ago allegations that Emmett grabbed her and was menacing and sexually crude toward her, “that part is not true.”…”

 

For the rest, click here.

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The invisible forces that make writing work…

For the writers and the readers…

 

“But the greatest, and in some ways, the most satisfying invisibility is that world which neither writer nor reader will ever see, and yet knows exists…”

 

 

From the NYT, Critic’s Take,

The Invisible Forces That Make Writing Work

by Robert Rosenblatt

 

“A couple of years ago, in an essay in The New Yorker, the critic and writer Kathryn Schulz pointed out that we cannot see most of the things that rule our lives. Magnetic fields, electric currents, the force of gravity all work unseen, as do our interior arbiters of thoughts, inclinations, passions, psyches, tastes, moods, morals, and — if one believes in them — souls. The invisible world governs the visible like a hidden nation-state.

 

The same is true of writing. You come up with an image, phrase or sentence. Your head snaps back, and you say to yourself, Where did that come from?! I’m not talking about automatic writing, though that may be part of it. I mean the entire range of invisible forces that produce and affect the work. There are things the writer sees that the reader does not; things the reader sees that the writer does not; and things neither of us ever sees. These, the most entrancing of the lot, have a power of their own. Like the ghost of Jacob Marley, they lead to unimagined, sometimes frightful yet fruitful destinations.

 

What the writer sees and keeps from the reader is the simplest of the three, because it deals mainly with craft. The planting of clues in poetry or prose, for instance. If we’re doing our job, readers have no idea that what they have just read — a name, a place — will be picked up later in the piece, heaving with meaning. The clue is invisible as a clue. In a sense, the whole novel, play, essay or poem is invisible. The reader does not recognize the work (what writers call “work”) that goes into the choices we fiddle with and blunder into before landing on the right ones. That’s as it should be. “If it does not seem a moment’s thought,” said Yeats, “our stitching and unstitching has been naught.”

 

Neither does the reader ever see the first draft, or the second, or the 19th. That the writer knows and recalls these drafts, even if dimly, has an invisible effect of its own…”

 

For the rest, click here.

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