Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Furthering the print and digital discussion

Boingboing, an eclectic and geeky news source which is quite entertaining recently posted an interview with a bookbinder.  An American teacher in Casablanca, he learned the trade from a local shop.  For a fun project he created an analog-digital version of genesis.  Read on when you get a chance, it's quite interesting.

Boingboing interviews a digital bookbinder.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Burton (another one) publishes Poe

In an interesting coincidence,  the next short story we will read as part of our unit on American Gothic Literature, Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, was first published in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine.  Check Friday for a link to the story which I will ask you to read over the weekend.

Tim Burton's rejection letter at 17

If the secret to success is failure, Tim Burton started early with a rejection letter from Disney at 17 for an illustrated children's book submitted while he was still in high school.

I hope this adds some perspective to the immensity of the exhibit we are soon to see.  Had he stopped at this first rejection he would not have become the Tim Burton we know today.

Disney to Tim Burton

In preparation for our field trip Thursday

LACMA has a thorough write up on the exhibition, as well as several interesting related blog posts which I encourage you to check out.  The perspective of the gift shop personnel is especially entertaining.

Tim Burton at LACMA

It's a fine time for a visit the Sleepy Hollow cemetery

Washington Irving is actually buried in the Sleepy Hollow cemetery.

And you could visit, were you in upstate New York.

Furthermore, the churchyard described in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is an actual place which still exists two centuries  after the story was penned, and would be worth a visit as well.

Please see the attached link to the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Poughkeepsie Journal article on Washington Irving's Final Place of Rest

Puritans and the Apocalypse

PBS has a very informative piece about the Puritans, which explains precisely what the apocalypse meant to them. 

The earliest Puritan settlers are discussed, along with Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening. 

Cotton Matther is discussed as well.  You will remember that he plays a pertinent role in Sleepy Hollow as the source of all Ichabod Crane's scary witch stories.

The Apocalypse in Cinema

As we discussed in class, the end of the world is a perennial favorite for blockbuster, and increasingly, indie films.  Apocalyptic ideas were popularized through the early Christian church and powered the Middle Ages, as the ascendancy of Catholicism owes much to a pliable laity who lived in fear of judgement and damnation at Christ's imminent return.  While Protestant Christianity took a variety of forms the Puritans refined the idea of apocalypse as a continual impending threat through such works as The Day of Doom, America's first best seller.  To this day American writers look to this trope as a way to spin a tale.  The apocalypse, regardless of religious affiliation, is part of our shared language.  As fictional narrative such a high-stakes tale makes for fine entertainment.  But as part of the collective unconscious the implicit risks are revealed in short-sighted political decisions.  Were we thinking more long-term, perhaps we would not be facing an environmental crisis.

The Los Angeles Times recently did an interesting round up of recent films centered on an apocalyptic theme.  I encourage you to read this to further contextualize the discussions we will be pursing in class over the course of the semester.

There's no end of apocalypse movies