GLITTERING SCRIVENER

MARIA DAHVANA HEADLEY'S MANUSCRIPTS, ILLUMINATED

YES, BUT


Even if it were true
Even if I were dead and buried in Verona
I believe I would come out and wash my face
In the chill spring.
I believe I would appear
Between noon and four, when nearly
Everybody else is asleep or making love,
And all the Germans turned down, the motorcycles
Muffled, chained, still.

Then the plump lizards along the Adige by San Giorgio
Come out and gaze,
Unpestered by temptation, across the water.
I would sit among them and join them in leaving
The golden mosquitos alone.
Why should we sit by the Adige and destroy
Anything, even our enemies, even the prey
God caused to glitter for us
Defenseless in the sun?
We are not exhausted. We are not angry, or lonely,
Or sick at heart.
We are in love lightly, lightly. We know we are shining,
Though we cannot see one another.
The wind doesn’t scatter us,
Because our very lungs have fallen and drifted
Away like leaves down the Adige,
Long ago.
We breathe light.

—James Wright, 1979

UNTITLED

Death is not an end to this,
This siren song, this midnight kiss
And all our pain to trade for bliss
Though endless strings of things to miss
A skein of yarn, the rain, the barn,
The kettle’s hiss.

Take me with you when you go
Your melting hands, your falling snow
And all these days, these joys, this woe
Train past beside us, rolling slow.
Your gaze still blue, your face, this view
What things to know.

Kill me, spill me, claim my soul
Its rising smoke, its burning coal
For all the years that we were whole
I’m willing now to pay the toll
At nearing dark, the searing stars
The central role.

Dying is no bitter end
The drive around a winding bend
And all the heights we’ve hoarded, lend
To those whose hearts need mending
The lights of earth, wild nights, bright birth
Sweetly sung surrender.

Dying is no death at all
These cooing doves, this ringing hall
And all our words, the soothe, the scrawl,
The deeper mercy of the fall
The herds still roam, a bird flies home
To heed her lover’s call.

— Maria Dahvana Headley
Written at Macdowell, 2006

BURROWERS - Alannah Currie. Fox Chair. 2008. 

So, formerly 1/2 of the Thompson Twins, at some point Alannah Currie took a huge detour, went to upholstery school, and began to make very weird and wonderful chairs. Which are also nests, burrows, curiosities in the Victorian mold, but hybrids. 
All the animals are roadkill, so memento mori. 
The chairs are roadkill too - begin-agains that Currie has deconstructed and then reconstructed, some stuffed with stories, some with hair.
Needless to say, I love them. 
A great interview with Allanah Currie regarding upholstery, death, and shifting lives: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/apr/26/homes
See also: Nicola L’s anthropomorphic furniture; Cloud furnishings; Moth bulbs; Rats Reaching for the Moon; Roadside Attractions. (and almost everything else on this Tumblr, too. There is common ground in my beloved things category.)

BURROWERS - Alannah Currie. Fox Chair. 2008. 

image

So, formerly 1/2 of the Thompson Twins, at some point Alannah Currie took a huge detour, went to upholstery school, and began to make very weird and wonderful chairs. Which are also nests, burrows, curiosities in the Victorian mold, but hybrids. 

All the animals are roadkill, so memento mori. 

The chairs are roadkill too - begin-agains that Currie has deconstructed and then reconstructed, some stuffed with stories, some with hair.

Needless to say, I love them. 

A great interview with Allanah Currie regarding upholstery, death, and shifting lives: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/apr/26/homes

See also: Nicola L’s anthropomorphic furniture; Cloud furnishings; Moth bulbs; Rats Reaching for the Moon; Roadside Attractions. (and almost everything else on this Tumblr, too. There is common ground in my beloved things category.)

The fantastic is no longer a property of the heart, nor is it found among the incongruities of nature; it evolves from the accuracy of the knowledge, and its treasures lie dormant in documents. Dreams are no longer summoned with closed eyes, but in reading; and a true image is now a product of learning: it derives from words spoken in the past, exact recensions, the amassing of minute facts, monuments reduced to infinitesimal fragments, and the reproductions of reproductions. In the modern experience, these elements contain the power of the impossible. Only the assiduous clamor created by repetition can transmit to us what only happened once. The imaginary is not formed in opposition to reality as its denial or compensation; it grows among signs, from book to book, in the interstice of repetitions and commentaries; it is born and takes shape in the interval between books. It is a phenomenon of the library.

THE TEMPTATIONS OF SAINT LIBRARY - Michael Foucault, writing about Flaubert’s doomed novel The Temptation of Saint Anthony. 

The Temptation, as it turns out, was Flaubert in full geek mode: essentially a bestiary, a compendium of creatures meticulously taxonimized and sourced out of documents, paintings, and poems. He considered it a work of the imagination, but it is, apparently, a catalogue of the creations of other creatives. 

Which? Wow. I love this notion: Gustave Flaubert in a fervor, making lists of monsters, unable to control himself and just, totally, losing his way. This has happened, after all, to every writer, at one point or another. Lists! If one lists the contents of a universe, does that count as world-building? Surely, if one diagrams everything a world contains, there must be a story there, right? 

Alas, no. Oh, shit, the story became a sidebar to the monsters. 

I’ve not read The Temptation, but apparently it’s quite bad - over several days in 1849 Flaubert read it aloud to a group of friends, who frantically urged him to throw it in the fire. He’d been working on it feverishly for 4 years. Flaubert subsequently wrote Madame Bovary. However, he kept coming back to The Temptation (it was, after all, a Temptation), and finally, in 1874, he published it. 

I’m sympathetic and charmed by the notion of Flaubert worriedly cataloguing creatures as though he was an ecologist, trapping things between pages before they got away. The same impulse haunts me, every time I search vainly for something arcane that isn’t digitized, (as I am a hopeful hunter, I regularly assume everything I’m seeking has been added to the internet, SOMEWHERE, but no. Wrong.) or think frantic thoughts about the notion of technological obscurity, the demise of discs for clouds, the nervous child in me longing for the physical comforts of a library. 

Ultimately, Flaubert’s Temptation was translated into English by Lafcadio Hearn as well as being the basis shortly after its publication, for a series of magnificent lithographs by Odilon Redon. Not too shabby. The Redon illustrations are exquisite.

As for the book itself, I’m with Foucault here, in my tenderness for the tempted:

 ”Henceforth, the visionary experience arises from the black and white surface of printed signs, from the closed and dusty volume that opens with a flight of forgotten words; fantasies are carefully deployed in the hushed library with its columns of books, with its titles aligned on shelves to form a tight enclosure, but within confines that also liberate impossible worlds.” - Foucault. 

More reading: Colin Dickey's terrific article about same, The Redemption of Saint Anthony

Eyeball - Maria Dahvana Headley, 2013

It doesn’t take much to make a monster.

Eyeball - Maria Dahvana Headley, 2013

It doesn’t take much to make a monster.

TOTALLY SECRETIVE MAN-LIFTING WAR KITE - Samuel Franklin Cody, 1901
So, the notion of sky-spying isn’t a new one. There’ve been a variety of intriguing inventions specifically purported to quietly convey a passenger into a dangerous viewing zone. In this case, these kites were invented to bring a man within spying distance of various wicked things, including artillery.
Or, failing that, cause him to crash spectacularly into said wicked things, depending on the wind.
The Man-Lifting War Kite was created by Samuel Franklin Cody (not his real name - he changed it from Cowdery, because he was a fan of Wild Bill Cody) a one-time Wild-West show performer within Forepaugh’s Circus.

It was first patented in 1901, and offered to the British War Office for spotting services in the Second Boer War. He also developed a motorized kite, which he wanted to turn into an airplane, and was on the testing team of British Army Dirigible No. 1, the Nulli Secundus (England’s first powered airship.) Ultimately, Cody flew the first official flight of a piloted “heavier than air” machine in Britain. 
Here’s a terrific article about Cody. 
Here’s a photo of Cody’s common law wife, Lela Cody, the first woman in Great Britain to fly, in 1902 (or so?). I mean, look at this lovely shot, and the following, showing her skirt tied to preserve modesty…

See here for more on Cody’s kites - and some wonderful museum photos of one of them. 

Even more bizarre than these - and kind of lovely, too -  is the below, Samuel F. Perkins riff on the same theme.  In the top right corner, there is a “lead kite” which was flown first to test wind conditions. Then additional kites were raised one at a time, until there were enough kites aloft to lift a man with them. The pilot was reeled in and out via a winch on the ground. 

TOTALLY SECRETIVE MAN-LIFTING WAR KITE - Samuel Franklin Cody, 1901

So, the notion of sky-spying isn’t a new one. There’ve been a variety of intriguing inventions specifically purported to quietly convey a passenger into a dangerous viewing zone. In this case, these kites were invented to bring a man within spying distance of various wicked things, including artillery.

Or, failing that, cause him to crash spectacularly into said wicked things, depending on the wind.

The Man-Lifting War Kite was created by Samuel Franklin Cody (not his real name - he changed it from Cowdery, because he was a fan of Wild Bill Cody) a one-time Wild-West show performer within Forepaugh’s Circus.

It was first patented in 1901, and offered to the British War Office for spotting services in the Second Boer War. He also developed a motorized kite, which he wanted to turn into an airplane, and was on the testing team of British Army Dirigible No. 1, the Nulli Secundus (England’s first powered airship.) Ultimately, Cody flew the first official flight of a piloted “heavier than air” machine in Britain. 

Here’s a terrific article about Cody

Here’s a photo of Cody’s common law wife, Lela Cody, the first woman in Great Britain to fly, in 1902 (or so?). I mean, look at this lovely shot, and the following, showing her skirt tied to preserve modesty…

See here for more on Cody’s kites - and some wonderful museum photos of one of them. 

Even more bizarre than these - and kind of lovely, too -  is the below, Samuel F. Perkins riff on the same theme.  In the top right corner, there is a “lead kite” which was flown first to test wind conditions. Then additional kites were raised one at a time, until there were enough kites aloft to lift a man with them. The pilot was reeled in and out via a winch on the ground. 

- Edward Steichen. MELPOMENE - Landon Rives. 1904-05. Gum bichromate over platinum print
This photo of amateur photographer/painter/sometimes socialite, Sarah Landon Rives (born 1874, which makes her around 30 in the above and below portraits) of Virginia has always haunted me. It’s Melpomene, originally the Muse of Singing, who evolved into the Muse of Tragedy. I went hunting to see if I could find out anything of interest, and I did, a bit.
She was photographed in startlingly modern fashion by both Steichen and Coburn (below)  - and her image, which I assume to be something she chose, given the fact that she hired Coburn to set up a darkroom at her home, was completely contradictory to the typical Gibson girl look. In  both these portraits, she looks directly and unromantically at the camera. These were taken the year after her father, Alfred Landon Rives (a Confederate engineer) died. She seems never to have married.
She and her sister were the last of the Rives family to inhabit Castle Hill, their Virginia plantation.  Amélie Rives Troubetzkoy (a novelist, poet and playwright who wrote 24 books, Broadway plays, an erotic novel called The Quick and the Dead? which was about the hot passions of a new widow) had an extremely colorful life of her own, which included her second husband, the penniless and possibly not really a prince Prince Troubetzkoy being introduced to her by Oscar Wilde  - um, goddamn. I knew nothing about her til this research wander, but she’s pretty unapologetically wild herself.  See: The Temptress of Castle Hill and here, Francine Prose reviewing a book about Amelie and Archie Chandler, Amelie’s first husband and a scion of the Astor family, because why not. Amelie was married several times, and did really kind of whatever she wanted to do. 
Then look at this photo of her younger sister, because. Well. 
, 
-Alvin Langdon Coburn, Study: Miss R. 1904. Gum bichromate over platinum print









"The portrait’s subject, Sarah "Landon" Rives, presented a singular challenge to Coburn, whom she hired to set up a darkroom on the grounds of her historic plantation home of Castle Hill, in Virginia. Her gaunt face, tousled hair, and uncompromising stare emerge from the dark ochres of the pigmented print, intent on countering the vestigial ideal of passive femininity so common in the concoctions of Pictorialist photographers of the day."
(Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alfred Steiglitz Collection, 1933.)












A more typical portrait of Landon Rives:




And another:

Frances Benjamin Johnston, Landon Rives.
And see this: a self-portrait of Amelie Rives. Because, damn. Kind of irresistible, but absolutely the opposite sort of siren. She apparently made copies of this and gave them out. 

- Edward Steichen. MELPOMENE - Landon Rives. 1904-05. Gum bichromate over platinum print

This photo of amateur photographer/painter/sometimes socialite, Sarah Landon Rives (born 1874, which makes her around 30 in the above and below portraits) of Virginia has always haunted me. It’s Melpomene, originally the Muse of Singing, who evolved into the Muse of Tragedy. I went hunting to see if I could find out anything of interest, and I did, a bit.

She was photographed in startlingly modern fashion by both Steichen and Coburn (below)  - and her image, which I assume to be something she chose, given the fact that she hired Coburn to set up a darkroom at her home, was completely contradictory to the typical Gibson girl look. In  both these portraits, she looks directly and unromantically at the camera. These were taken the year after her father, Alfred Landon Rives (a Confederate engineer) died. She seems never to have married.

She and her sister were the last of the Rives family to inhabit Castle Hill, their Virginia plantation.  Amélie Rives Troubetzkoy (a novelist, poet and playwright who wrote 24 books, Broadway plays, an erotic novel called The Quick and the Dead? which was about the hot passions of a new widow) had an extremely colorful life of her own, which included her second husband, the penniless and possibly not really a prince Prince Troubetzkoy being introduced to her by Oscar Wilde  - um, goddamn. I knew nothing about her til this research wander, but she’s pretty unapologetically wild herself.  See: The Temptress of Castle Hill and here, Francine Prose reviewing a book about Amelie and Archie Chandler, Amelie’s first husband and a scion of the Astor family, because why not. Amelie was married several times, and did really kind of whatever she wanted to do. 

Then look at this photo of her younger sister, because. Well. 

image

-Alvin Langdon Coburn, Study: Miss R. 1904. Gum bichromate over platinum print

"The portrait’s subject, Sarah "Landon" Rives, presented a singular challenge to Coburn, whom she hired to set up a darkroom on the grounds of her historic plantation home of Castle Hill, in Virginia. Her gaunt face, tousled hair, and uncompromising stare emerge from the dark ochres of the pigmented print, intent on countering the vestigial ideal of passive femininity so common in the concoctions of Pictorialist photographers of the day."

(Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alfred Steiglitz Collection, 1933.)

A more typical portrait of Landon Rives:

image

And another:

image

Frances Benjamin Johnston, Landon Rives.

And see this: a self-portrait of Amelie Rives. Because, damn. Kind of irresistible, but absolutely the opposite sort of siren. She apparently made copies of this and gave them out. 

image

THE MOVEMENTS OF THE SPHERES - Paul Nougé, La Jongleuse, 1929
The poet and philosopher, Paul Nougé (1895-1967) was an influential (though now fairly obscure) member of the Belgian Surrealist school, and a cohort of René Magritte. He was a founding member of the Belgian Communist party in 1921.  Also a photographer, his images are pretty great. If inclined, you might wish to listen to this song, A New Way of Juggling, by Portland band Print (the) Seas, inspired by the image above.

- Paul Nougé, Woman Frightened By A Ball of String, 1929-30
My research - admittedly annoying flawed, oh, internet, you have such gaps when it comes to the women of Surrealism - tells me that the woman in the photos above is Paul’s wife, Martha Nougé (or at least, this is how she’s credited in other group photos of the Belgian Surrealists) who otherwise has little in the way of visible biography. However…
Here is a poem by Paul about Martha, translated (by William Kulik) and published long after both of their deaths, in 2006.
It’s got echoes of Joyce’s Nora letters, I warn you, if you’re easily offended by graphic - and it also has some insight into the way a man such as Nouge might look at his wife (as well as other women - woefully). And the way she might look at him. There’s something desperately intimate, and blind as well, in this narrative. 


Outline of a Hymn to Martha Beauvoisin
This blank page scares me
because I've got to fill it with so many signs
because I haven't lost a single drop of the life
I've shared with you

The drops of your life
or if you like or even if you don't
those delicate everlasting periods

So I'll get right down to the sunlight of our days

When did I see you for that famous
FIRST TIME?
I don't picture you the whole you any more
only your lower lip trembling
your incredibly white forehead
the yellow Poiret coat
and the odor of Jiky that male scent
That lesbian perfume

I remember you saying
(how I love the rich resonance of your voice)
you wanted to know if you could
sit on the mantel
I watched your hands that barely moved
your lovely tapering finger
and your nails

Now I have to tell
about the celebrated skin-tight
white dress
your breasts sticking out
and what you knew that I didn't
about your period
Then you smoked a cigarette
and started to cry
speaking of S ...
that you wanted to continue
to make love to him
then we were at it again

Martha don't forget the rue de la Tulipe
and the little street that opens onto the Galeries Saint-Hubert
where we came so many times
And remember while I had you
my finger was inside you
and yours in me
--your nails glittered--
while you beat me with your heel
between my cheeks

Don't forget Odilon-Jean Pierre
who surprised us
by candlelight

And rue
De Tabora

The banister and the staircase
were so beautiful

Where you aborted
by coincidence
on Bastille Day

I remember Achille Burgoignie
ogling your honeypot
I remember we started making love again
much too soon
I remember your lovely shadow
moving along the wall
your belly in pain
my father at the door bringing
I'm not sure what concoction
the picture of your brother I didn't even know yet
your family portraits
and the mother you had to be tactful with

You recall my jealousy you unquestionably suffered from
more than I did
true I made you wear a bra because
I wanted to hide your breasts from everyone
which I can't recall without getting a lump
in my throat
or rue St-Jean entered by a huge slanting sun
around six in the evening
opposite the shop window of Monsieur Brin Gaubast
where you saw yourself
and told me at long last that you wore
a little too much makeup

Funny how I show no respect for sequence
pressed by so many images

Where was I?
And who will I prey on now?

On you
Martha
for certain

For, as many have said,
life's a funny thing

I'm skipping years now
I'm on rue Franklin
thinking of that filmed procession
of that New Year's Eve
when we made love
beside the radio
which gave us the news
of the horrible war in Spain
--I still have the mark of your teeth
on my penis--
and I instantly
recall the first time
I had you from behind
You were kneeling on the edge of the bed
and in my mind's eye I still have the image of your back
more lovely than a grand sunset
and the look on your face when you turned
to see us one more time
in the mirror

(We don't need to fear repetition
we never tire of that phrase
"make love"
repeated over and over in the mind
like the magic tom-tom
of impenetrable forests
like Ravel's Bolero)

The night is over
it's starting to get cold
think of the ballet you danced with your fingertips
on the bare wooden table
of the opening bars
of the Toselli serenade

(And why be afraid of
the intimate reference
to personal despair
the knowing winks
too bad for those
who will not understand)

Now I understand
--and through what mental twists and turns--
the suffering I put you through
I had you blindfolded
cheated on you from the start
You were called Paulette
There was Jeanne Crickboom
and Billy with her shiny nose
There was that girl Breuer
loved so much that wound up--
through what mystery of the telephone?--
being connected with me
There was weeping Claude
always in someone's arms
There was Jenny Poteau
with her saggy tits
and her wide-open ass
There was Jeanne Abel who we share memories of
that may still be circulating on rue Markelbach

There are so many things
plus the horde
of little maids and old ones

(The exegete who later dives
into this poem
will not find swimming easy)

There's also the cafe on avenue Cortenberg
where you gave me Duchamp's address
on rue Campagne-Premiere where you told me
you made love to him
"just one time"

And Yvonne George who I loved so much
who taught you to piss in a toilet
the two of you watching the whore across the street turn a trick
Yvonne who went down on you
--I went down on her too--
poor little fool
a great life wasted
- Paul Nouge, 1953




- Rene Magritte, Portrait of Paul Nouge, 1927
See also, UNDERKNOWN WOMEN OF SURREALISM: Claude Cahun, Adrienne Fidelin

THE MOVEMENTS OF THE SPHERES - Paul Nougé, La Jongleuse, 1929

The poet and philosopher, Paul Nougé (1895-1967) was an influential (though now fairly obscure) member of the Belgian Surrealist school, and a cohort of René Magritte. He was a founding member of the Belgian Communist party in 1921.  Also a photographer, his images are pretty great. If inclined, you might wish to listen to this song, A New Way of Juggling, by Portland band Print (the) Seas, inspired by the image above.

image

- Paul Nougé, Woman Frightened By A Ball of String, 1929-30

My research - admittedly annoying flawed, oh, internet, you have such gaps when it comes to the women of Surrealism - tells me that the woman in the photos above is Paul’s wife, Martha Nougé (or at least, this is how she’s credited in other group photos of the Belgian Surrealists) who otherwise has little in the way of visible biography. However…

Here is a poem by Paul about Martha, translated (by William Kulik) and published long after both of their deaths, in 2006.

It’s got echoes of Joyce’s Nora letters, I warn you, if you’re easily offended by graphic - and it also has some insight into the way a man such as Nouge might look at his wife (as well as other women - woefully). And the way she might look at him. There’s something desperately intimate, and blind as well, in this narrative. 

Outline of a Hymn to Martha Beauvoisin
This blank page scares me
because I've got to fill it with so many signs
because I haven't lost a single drop of the life
I've shared with you

The drops of your life
or if you like or even if you don't
those delicate everlasting periods

So I'll get right down to the sunlight of our days

When did I see you for that famous
FIRST TIME?
I don't picture you the whole you any more
only your lower lip trembling
your incredibly white forehead
the yellow Poiret coat
and the odor of Jiky that male scent
That lesbian perfume

I remember you saying
(how I love the rich resonance of your voice)
you wanted to know if you could
sit on the mantel
I watched your hands that barely moved
your lovely tapering finger
and your nails

Now I have to tell
about the celebrated skin-tight
white dress
your breasts sticking out
and what you knew that I didn't
about your period
Then you smoked a cigarette
and started to cry
speaking of S ...
that you wanted to continue
to make love to him
then we were at it again

Martha don't forget the rue de la Tulipe
and the little street that opens onto the Galeries Saint-Hubert
where we came so many times
And remember while I had you
my finger was inside you
and yours in me
--your nails glittered--
while you beat me with your heel
between my cheeks

Don't forget Odilon-Jean Pierre
who surprised us
by candlelight

And rue
De Tabora

The banister and the staircase
were so beautiful

Where you aborted
by coincidence
on Bastille Day

I remember Achille Burgoignie
ogling your honeypot
I remember we started making love again
much too soon
I remember your lovely shadow
moving along the wall
your belly in pain
my father at the door bringing
I'm not sure what concoction
the picture of your brother I didn't even know yet
your family portraits
and the mother you had to be tactful with

You recall my jealousy you unquestionably suffered from
more than I did
true I made you wear a bra because
I wanted to hide your breasts from everyone
which I can't recall without getting a lump
in my throat
or rue St-Jean entered by a huge slanting sun
around six in the evening
opposite the shop window of Monsieur Brin Gaubast
where you saw yourself
and told me at long last that you wore
a little too much makeup

Funny how I show no respect for sequence
pressed by so many images

Where was I?
And who will I prey on now?

On you
Martha
for certain

For, as many have said,
life's a funny thing

I'm skipping years now
I'm on rue Franklin
thinking of that filmed procession
of that New Year's Eve
when we made love
beside the radio
which gave us the news
of the horrible war in Spain
--I still have the mark of your teeth
on my penis--
and I instantly
recall the first time
I had you from behind
You were kneeling on the edge of the bed
and in my mind's eye I still have the image of your back
more lovely than a grand sunset
and the look on your face when you turned
to see us one more time
in the mirror

(We don't need to fear repetition
we never tire of that phrase
"make love"
repeated over and over in the mind
like the magic tom-tom
of impenetrable forests
like Ravel's Bolero)

The night is over
it's starting to get cold
think of the ballet you danced with your fingertips
on the bare wooden table
of the opening bars
of the Toselli serenade

(And why be afraid of
the intimate reference
to personal despair
the knowing winks
too bad for those
who will not understand)

Now I understand
--and through what mental twists and turns--
the suffering I put you through
I had you blindfolded
cheated on you from the start
You were called Paulette
There was Jeanne Crickboom
and Billy with her shiny nose
There was that girl Breuer
loved so much that wound up--
through what mystery of the telephone?--
being connected with me
There was weeping Claude
always in someone's arms
There was Jenny Poteau
with her saggy tits
and her wide-open ass
There was Jeanne Abel who we share memories of
that may still be circulating on rue Markelbach

There are so many things
plus the horde
of little maids and old ones

(The exegete who later dives
into this poem
will not find swimming easy)

There's also the cafe on avenue Cortenberg
where you gave me Duchamp's address
on rue Campagne-Premiere where you told me
you made love to him
"just one time"

And Yvonne George who I loved so much
who taught you to piss in a toilet
the two of you watching the whore across the street turn a trick
Yvonne who went down on you
--I went down on her too--
poor little fool
a great life wasted
- Paul Nouge, 1953

image

- Rene Magritte, Portrait of Paul Nouge, 1927

See also, UNDERKNOWN WOMEN OF SURREALISM: Claude Cahun, Adrienne Fidelin

BEASTS OF THE DEVIL - Maria Sybilla Merian, Lizard from “Metamorphasibus Insectorum Surinamensium”, 1705. 
Look at the date. 1705. Yes, thank you. Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717) was a fabulous naturalist and scientific illustrator. Everything she did was beautiful, but also odd. The above lizard, for example? 
In her time, insects, her particular interest, were viewed as “beasts of the devil”
Merian was intrigued by metamorphosis, beginning with butterflies, and moving on to life stages of insects, with a lot of side interest in lizards, and various other creatures. Her early work was often used as patterns for embroidery - but clearly, she was interested in science as well as beauty.

-  Branch of guava tree with leafcutter ants, army ants, pink-toed tarantulas, c. 1701-5

Daughter to Matthaus Merian the Elder, who was a noted Swiss engraver and publisher, she was also stepdaughter to Jacob Marrel, a still-life painter. Clearly, both traditions moved through her work. When she was eleven, she engraved her first copperplate for illustration.  She married her father’s apprentice in 1665, when she was 18, and had two daughters with him. (Though interestingly, she seems not to have ever changed her surname.)

- Surinam Caiman Fighting a South American False Coral Snake 1699-1703 
In 1686, she moved to the Netherlands with her mother and daughters, and in 1690 divorced her husband. 
In 1699,  the now 52-year-old Merian - having  resided in the home of the Governor of the Dutch colony of Suriname and observed his tropical specimens (I have no idea quite how this happened - was there romantic involvement? Maybe?) Merian sold most of her belongings in order to travel to Surinam with her youngest daughter Dorothea. The result was the extraordinary Metamorphasibus Insectorum Surinamensium. 
She says - rather amusingly, given her clear passion for same:




“So I was goaded to undertake a huge and costly trip, traveling to Suriname in America, a hot and humid land where swarms of insects are there for the capture.”
She spent two years in Surinam, before returning to the Netherlands due to malaria. 





After Merian’s death in 1717, her daughters continued to produce fabulous work in the entomological field. Six plants, nine butterflies, and two beetles bear her name. 

See this catalog from the Getty Museum’s 2008 Exhibition of Merian’s work. 
And more biographical information here. 

BEASTS OF THE DEVIL - Maria Sybilla Merian, Lizard from “Metamorphasibus Insectorum Surinamensium”, 1705. 

Look at the date. 1705. Yes, thank you. Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717) was a fabulous naturalist and scientific illustrator. Everything she did was beautiful, but also odd. The above lizard, for example? 

In her time, insects, her particular interest, were viewed as “beasts of the devil”

Merian was intrigued by metamorphosis, beginning with butterflies, and moving on to life stages of insects, with a lot of side interest in lizards, and various other creatures. Her early work was often used as patterns for embroidery - but clearly, she was interested in science as well as beauty.

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-  Branch of guava tree with leafcutter ants, army ants, pink-toed tarantulas, c. 1701-5


Daughter to Matthaus Merian the Elder, who was a noted Swiss engraver and publisher, she was also stepdaughter to Jacob Marrel, a still-life painter. Clearly, both traditions moved through her work. When she was eleven, she engraved her first copperplate for illustration.  She married her father’s apprentice in 1665, when she was 18, and had two daughters with him. (Though interestingly, she seems not to have ever changed her surname.)

image

Surinam Caiman Fighting a South American False Coral Snake 1699-1703 

In 1686, she moved to the Netherlands with her mother and daughters, and in 1690 divorced her husband. 

In 1699,  the now 52-year-old Merian - having  resided in the home of the Governor of the Dutch colony of Suriname and observed his tropical specimens (I have no idea quite how this happened - was there romantic involvement? Maybe?) Merian sold most of her belongings in order to travel to Surinam with her youngest daughter Dorothea. The result was the extraordinary Metamorphasibus Insectorum Surinamensium. 

She says - rather amusingly, given her clear passion for same:

“So I was goaded to undertake a huge and costly trip, traveling to Suriname in America, a hot and humid land where swarms of insects are there for the capture.”

She spent two years in Surinam, before returning to the Netherlands due to malaria. 

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After Merian’s death in 1717, her daughters continued to produce fabulous work in the entomological field. Six plants, nine butterflies, and two beetles bear her name. 
And more biographical information here

A FELLOW OF INFINITE JEST - Ernst Bohne Söhne (Ernst Bohne & Sons) - Porcelain skull-shaped demitasse cups on tooth tray, late 1800’s.

Look at how each of these little skulls (the cups are 2 inches tall) is balanced on a book. Bohne’s company was known for its character steins in forms such as (my majorly coveted)  ”Apple & Snake” 

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But they also did lots of things more peculiar. I love the set above even more than I do the company’s more typical skull steins - perhaps because the cup set is rougher and odder, while the glass-eyed stein below is more conventionally scary.

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Look at the spectrum. Ooh, that alligator. I love that one too. 

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More on Bohne’s character steins.

The skull set above is for sale on Ebay, and has been for some time. It’s $5000, but maybe its new owner is out there, looking at this.