Archive for the 'The Library' Category

Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things — and Happy Halloween!

These stranger things will get you into the Halloween spirit:

 

 

From The Public Domain Review,

Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1904)

 

Kwaidan: stories and studies of strange things, by Lafcadio Hearn; 1904; Houghton Mifflin Company, New York.

 

“Deriving its title from the word for “ghost story” in Japanese Kwaidan is a book by scholar and translator Lafcadio Hearn in which are compiled an array of ghost stories hailing from Japan. Hearn writes in his introduction, written only months before his death, that the majority of the stories were translated from old Japanese texts (some of which themselves were based on earlier Chinese tales), although one of the stories, “Riki-Baka”, he declares to be of his own making, based on a personal experience. Unmentioned in the introduction, another of the stories — “Hi-Mawari”, written in the first person — appears almost certainly to be born from his own experience also, a recollection of a childhood experience in Wales (he’d spent time near Bangor when a child living with his Aunt). Among the many curious and spooky happenings related in the other stories, we hear of a musician called upon to perform for the dead, man-eating goblins, a mysterious face appearing in a cup of tea, and, rather terrifyingly, a featureless girl with a face as smooth as an egg. The final section of the book, titled “Insect-Studies”, is a presentation of Chinese and Japanese superstitions relating to the insect world, specifically butterflies (personifications of the human soul), mosquitoes (Karmic reincarnation of jealous or greedy people) and ants (mankind’s superior in terms of chastity, ethics, social structure, longevity and evolution).

 

For the rest, click here, also below:

 

Housed at: Internet Archive | From: California Digital Library

Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights

Download: PDF | Text and eBook option at Project Gutenberg

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The most interesting man in the world is actually at the New York Public Library

You’re going to want to read this.

 

 

From The Village Voice,

 

Keepers of the Secrets

by James Somers

 

“I was told that the most interesting man in the world works in the archives division of the New York Public Library, and so I went there, one morning this summer, to meet him. My guide, who said it took her a year to learn how to get around the Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street, led us to an elevator off Astor Hall, up past the McGraw Rotunda, through a little door at the back of the Rose Main Reading Room. Our destination was Room 328.

 

A sign above the door called it the “Brooke Russell Astor Reading Room for Rare Books and Manuscripts.” Inside, there were a handful of quiet researchers stooped at large wooden desks, and in the corner, presiding over a cart of acid-free Hollinger document boxes, was the archivist Thomas Lannon.

 

Lannon is younger than you’d expect, just thirty-nine years old. Clean shaven, with slacks, well-kept shoes, and a blue knit tie over a light button-down shirt, he looks less like an assistant director for manuscripts/the acting Charles J. Liebman curator of manuscripts than a high-level congressional aide. He talks with a kind of earnest intensity, and fast, with constant revisions, so that he sounds almost like a scientist who can’t quite put his discovery into words.

 

Having grown up in Exeter, New Hampshire, Lannon had always wanted to get to New York, the fount of his heroes (Sonic Youth, John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg). But he makes a point of the undistinguished academic career that led him to the library a decade ago. He went to Bard (“a middling to decent liberal arts school”), where he first met his now-wife, also an archivist, in an early Greek philosophy class. Later, he studied library and information science at Pratt, before getting a master’s in liberal studies at The Graduate Center at CUNY.

 

Before he started pulling out boxes, I was asked to trade my pen for a pencil, for fear that I might get ink on the ledger from the late 1700s that came out of the first one. Lannon held it with bare hands (because gloves, I learned later, would dull his sense of how fragile a page is). The ledger belonged to Samuel Bayard, a wealthy New York landowner whose ancestors had married into the Stuyvesants, and whose estate, when he died, may have fueled the feud between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. It seemed full of accounting minutiae, Lannon said, but if you knew what you were looking for it told a story…”

 

For the rest, click here.

 

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A full-size Parthenon made of banned books…

Art can heal. It is the opposite of repression.

 

 

From Bored Panda,

 

Artist Uses 100,000 Banned Books To Build A Full-Size Parthenon At Historic Nazi Book Burning Site
by Rokas L

 

“Argentinian artist Marta Minujín, 74, has created a monumental replica of the Greek Parthenon from 100,000 copies of banned books. According to the artist, it symbolizes the resistance to political repression.

 

The Parthenon of Books in Kassel, Germany is part of the Documenta 14 art festival. With the help of students from Kassel University, Minujín identified over 170 titles that were or are banned in different countries around the world, and constructed the full-size replica of the iconic temple from those books, plastic sheeting, and steel.

 

But probably what is Germany’s most controversial book – Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” – will not figure on the Parthenon. And for a good reason: the Nazis were notorious censors of books. In fact, Minujín’s work stands on a historic site where the Nazis burnt some 2,000 books in 1933 as part of a very broad campaign of censorship. “Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people,” Heinrich Heine said in the 19th century…”

 

For the rest, and more photos of this incredible piece, click here.

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