Monday, September 21, 2009

Ruskin's ad copy

We've all seen it happen: the reviewer pronounces the new movie "an astonishing waste of time – banal beyond belief." Then the full-page ad comes out in the Times: "Leonard Maltin: 'astonishing...beyond belief.'"

In an March 1867 letter in Time and Tide, Ruskin commented on an edition of Balzac's Contes Drôlatiques with illustrations by Gustave Doré:
Both text and illustrations are as powerful as it is ever in the nature of evil things to be – (there is no final strength but in rightness). Nothing more witty, nor more inventively horrible, has yet been produced in the evil literature, or by the evil art, of man: nor can I conceive it possible to go beyond either in their specialities of corruption.... of all the 425 [illustrations], there is not one, which does not violate every instinct of decency and law of virtue or life, written in the human soul.
Seven years later, Chatto & Windus (the firm Beckett referred to as "Shatupon & Windup") issued an English edition of the Balzac with its Doré illustrations; their catalogue copy read as follows:
"The illustrations to the Contes Drôlatiques are full of power and inventiveness.... Nothing more witty, nor more inventively horrible, has yet been produced." John Ruskin in Time and Tide by Weare and Tyne.
Ruskin was not amused.


Ed Baker said...

you gonna make two careers?

and the sum toatal of your legacy..

and now

why not Addison
or De Quincy



I( mean

lets get REALLY


how about Jane Harrison?

or Mathew Arnold!

geeze.. how'd you like Sketches of Boz? of the movie version of
For Whom the Bell Rings!

you were on thew way to writing down your own bones... why take the wrong fork in the road.

do what Yogi did..

take it!

Mark Scroggins said...

Ed, whaddya mean "write my own bones"? Say more, my friend.

We can't control our obsessions -- I'm obsessed with Ruskin right now. (Jane Harrison is tempting, but Arnold's a bit of a snooze, & Pater doesn't have the moral edge I like.)

You want I should write more little squibs about folks' poem-books? Or write some of my own?

Ed Baker said...

here and there and in-be-tween
I've read some of your own poems

some solid stuff..

so wanna see not so much the poems
but the trek you take via the process in the writing..

when you are old and grey and retired with your teeth in a glass of salty water

then folks can write bio of you!

a fun book that you can inhale in a moment:

Natalie Goldberg's: Writing Down the Bones

That little Rilke book (Letters to a Young Poet) is good, too...

etc. (for what it s worth for those who dig it)

pee est:

Mike Rothenberg and David Meltzer and their Rockpile gaggle will be here for a week (in environs of D.C) between

Oct 31 and Nov 5

y'all come

check out the performance vids...

Vance Maverick said...

Ed, you're a bit rough on Mark -- and Mark, you're a bit weak in response. Even if you could "control" your obsessions, you wouldn't need to apologize for them. Ruskin is perfectly legitimate. A strong book on JR would be as good as ten mothers.