Raymond Carver, The Art of Fiction No. 76
The Codex Gigas
The Codex Gigas (or ‘Giant Book”) is also known as “The Devil’s Bible.” A curious illustration of Lucifer gives the tome its nickname.
The 13th-century manuscript is thought to have been created solely by a Herman the Recluse, a monk of the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice near Chrudim in Czech Republic. The calligraphy style is amazingly uniform throughout, believed to have taken 25 to 30 years of work. There are no notable mistakes or omissions. Pigment analysis revealed the ink to be consistent throughout. The book is enormous - it measures 36.2” tall, 19.3” wide, and 8.6” thick; it weighs approximately 165 pounds. There are 310 vellum leaves (620 pages). The leaves are bound in a wooden folder covered with leather and ornate metal.
The manuscript is elaborately illuminated in red, blue, yellow, green and gold. The entire document is written in Latin, and also contains Hebrew, Greek, and Slavic Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets. The first part of the text includes the Vulgate version of the Bible. Between the Old and New Testaments are Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews and De bello iudaico, as well as Isidore of Seville's encyclopedia Etymologiae and medical works of Hippocrates, Theophilus, Philaretus, and Constantinus. Following a blank page, the New Testament commences.
Beginning the second part is a depiction of the devil. Directly opposite is a full picture of the kingdom of heaven, juxtaposing the “good versus evil.” The second half, following the picture of the devil, is Cosmas of Prague's Chronicle of Bohemia. A list of brothers in the Podlažice monastery and a calendar with necrologium, magic formulae and other local records round out the codex. Record entries end in the year 1229CE.
In 1648 at the end of the Thirty Years’ War, the Swedish army invaded Prague and the Codex was stolen as plunder. It is now held at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm. For more information, check out this short National Geographic documentary and/or flip through this digital copy.
( Wikipedia entry, et. al)
Several short National Geographic videos ~
** If you have the least amount of intellectual curiosity or interest in history, the short vids above will only whet your appetite: might as well grab a cold drink & some popcorn, then settle in to watch the whole thing ~
— Karl Ove Knausgaard (via mttbll)
The act of protest has blossomed into also being an opportunity for tremendous creativity. In the first exhibit of its kind, the Victoria and Albert Museum has gathered a healthy sampling of items designed and produced by grassroots social movements since the mid-1970’s. “From Suffragette teapots to protest robots” the Disobedient Objects exhibit ”will demonstrate how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity and collective creativity that defy standard definitions of art and design.”
Everyday objects have become part and parcel of protest. From homemade gas masks to book blocs protesters are perfecting the use of the world around them to help fight the powers that be.
One of our favorites is the book bloc. As the curators of the exhibit noted:
The idea originated in Italy in 2011, during student protests against severe budget cuts to public education. The protestors created cardboard and plexiglas shields decorated like books. Each shield was decorated differently, with students picking their own book design to protect and represent them. The book blocs were used to non-violently push back against police baton strikes and punches. The ‘book bloc’ idea spread like a meme. It can now be seen around the world in protests against cuts to public education and libraries
These and many more objects are featured in the exhibition catalog.
"I’m really interested in making something that is entirely alive in each frame."
Two ways of dealing with tear gas grenades from comrades in Turkey: Either submerge them in water. Make sure you can close off the container cause the gas will still spread for a while. Or throw them in the fire so the gas burns off before it can spread.
Words that equally support genius and mania:
"I couldn’t talk about it, because the slightest intrusion into the book, the slightest ‘objective’ opinion would have erased everything, of that book. […] The illusion one has—entirely correct—of being the only one to have written what one has…
- “The little segments present a way for me to be obsessive—if I only have a few hours, I can read through one, revise and try to improve it. I loved...”
- “you say you don’t have any interest in what Scott McClanahan and I somewhat jokingly (but mostly seriously) refer to as ‘bleeding on the page.’ Why...”