Tag Archives: history

1937 Virginia Woolf Audio Meditation on Craftsmanship

The only surviving recording of Virginia Woolf’s voice, chalk full of wisdom on the art of craftsmanship in the art of writing.

A few excerpts:

Words, English words, are full of echoes, of memories, of associations — naturally. They have been out and about, on people’s lips, in their houses, in the streets, in the fields, for so many centuries. And that is one of the chief difficulties in writing them today — that they are so stored with meanings, with memories, that they have contracted so many famous marriages.”

“You cannot use a brand new word in an old language…Our business is to see what we can do with the English language as it is. How can we combine the old words in new orders so that they survive, so that they create beauty, so that they tell the truth? That is the question.”

“A few trifling rules of grammar and spelling are all the constraint we can put on them…they hate anything that stamps them with one meaning or confines them to one attitude, for it is their nature to change.”

Don’t confine yourself to these few teasers. Listen to the recording and read missing first part and the entire transcript at Brainpickings.

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Scrooge or Marley’s Ghost 1901 Film Adaptation

“Scrooge, or, Marley’s Ghost, directed by Walter R. Booth, is the oldest known film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel A Christmas Carol – featuring the miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge confronted by Marley’s ghost and given by visions of Christmas Past, Present and Future. The film, “although somewhat flat and stage-bound to modern eyes,” according to Michael Brooke of BFI Screenonline, “was an ambitious undertaking at the time,” as, “not only did it attempt to tell an 80 page story in five minutes, but it featured impressive trick effects, superimposing Marley’s face over the door knocker and the scenes from his youth over a black curtain in Scrooge’s bedroom.” It was presented in ‘Twelve Tableaux’ or scenes and is thought to contain the first ever use of intertitles in a film. (Wikipedia)”

Public Domain Review


December 5, 2013 · 7:47 am

Curator Ponders Emily Dickinson’s Eclectic Paper Choices

Emily Dickinson, like many writers scribbled words, phrases and complete poems on a wide variety of papers. In The Manuscripts of Emily Dickinson at The Public Domain review, curator Mike Kelly considers some of the items in the collection at Archives and Special Collections of Amherst College, and wonders if the media might have inspired the message.

“The way hope builds his house”, Amherst Manuscript # 450

“In this instance, Dickinson has cut apart an envelope so all that remains are the flap and a portion of the body. She orients the paper so the point of the flap is at the top then she fills that peak with words: “The way hope builds his house…” Or, to phrase it more directly, she writes a poem about a house on a piece of paper that looks like a house.”

“To be forgot by thee”, Amherst Manuscript # 484

“…it is important to remember that Dickinson was never at a loss for paper, stamps, ink, or pencils. Her father and brother were both lawyers, a profession that depends on ample stores of paper and ink, and many of Dickinson’s extant manuscripts are on standard stationery paper. So when we come across irregular pieces such as this one, one needs to stop and think about her motives…what are we to make of the many…fragments she left behind?”

I imagine Dickinson with a small pencil perched permanently in her hair or on her ear, ready for the instant that inspiration strikes. Too terribly aware that the words must flow as they form in her mind, she did not gamble that they would still be there after scrambling to the writing desk and retrieving stationary, but scribbled them – stream of consciousness – on the nearest media at hand.

How many of those fleeting bursts of creativity have been lost for the lack of a pencil behind our ear?

“This selection of Dickinson manuscripts is merely the tip of the iceberg – all 850 discrete manuscript objects held by Amherst College are freely available online for all to explore. Our hope is that the ability to browse the collection virtually will spark new questions and new approaches to understanding one of the world’s most beloved and enigmatic poets.”

Read Mike Kelly’s full review at The Manuscripts of Emily Dickinson at the Public Domain Review.

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Clever Bookmark from the 13th or 14th Century

“This object was in common use in medieval libraries, even though very few survive today. It’s a bookmark – and a smart one for that matter. As with our own bookmarks, it tells you where you are in the book: the rope was attached to the binding and placed between two pages. The reader subsequently pulled down the marker along the rope to the line where he had stopped reading. Since an open medieval book often presented four text columns, the reader then turned the disk to indicate in which column he had left off. In this case we read “4” in medieval Arabic numerals – the column on the far right.”

From Erik Kwakkel via TYWKIWDBI

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Happy? Valentine’s Day

Who knew those folks back then could be so nasty?


More ‘Vinegar Valentines’ at 22Words

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Forgotten Tales

Illustration by Arthur Rackham from the 1916 English translation edition of Kinder-und Hausmärchen – Source.

Illustration by Arthur Rackham from the 1916 English translation edition of Kinder-und Hausmärchen

“The Grimms have often been criticized, especially by critics in the last 50 years, for having changed and edited the tales from the first to the seventh edition. That is, they never lived up to their own words that the task of the collector is to record the tales exactly as they heard them. In other words, various critics have complained that the Grimms’ tales are inauthentic folk tales. But this is a ridiculous if not stupid argument, for nobody can ever record and maintain the authenticity of a tale. It is impossible. And yet, the Grimms, as collectors, cultivators, editors, translators, and mediators, are to be thanked for endeavoring to do the impossible and to work collectively with numerous people and their sources to keep traditional stories and storytelling alive. In this respect their little known first edition deserves to be rediscovered, for it is a testimony to forgotten voices that are actually deep within us. Hence, the irresistibility of the Grimms’ tales that are really not theirs, but ours.” Read more at The Public Domain Review

You can view/download the original book at Wikisource (in German).

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The History of Education Technology: Infographic




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Do you read during your break?

From The Library Time Machine, via Edwardian Era

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Mark Twain on Video – 103 Years Ago!

Via 22 Words


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Bookmobile: LA Public Library Service 1928

Via BoingBoing

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