Allegra Lab's recently published list of 30 essential books in cultural anthropology overlaps substantially with Ryan Sayre's earlier list, 100 influential ethnographies and anthropological texts, but neither provides many details. Angela Stuesse's Engaged Ethnography site provides an up-to-date list of politically-engaged ethnographies (etc.) with descriptions of what to expect, and the Staley Prize each year selects and describes a book at least two years old but not more than eight to recognize recent work of lasting interest. Incidentally, many books on these lists are available online. [more inside]
Alex Gonzalez's "Lovecraft Letters" re-imagine problematic online dating messages as NSFW communication with unnameable creatures from beyond (1 2 3 4). Mallory Ortberg's hilarious "Texts from H.P. Lovecraft" focus on HPL himself, while Richard Svensson's brief video "The Lovecraft Alphabet" and David Haden's "Consult Mr. Lovecraft" plot generator present cute illustrations or parodies of HPL's work. [more inside]
The LiederNet Archive is the world's largest reference archive of texts and translations of art songs and choral works, currently cataloguing 135,129 vocal pieces and 25,078 translations. [more inside]
Creepy texts get even creepier when they're read out loud. Creepy Text Theater [NSFW SLYT]
"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, which would later be called The Harvard Classics." (Via) [more inside]
Texts from Jane Eyre. Texts from Scarlett O'Hara. On a more serious note, Text Messages From A Ghost and The Return of Ghost. (Mallory Ortberg for The Hairpin)
"When you send a text message on the Verizon network, you can address your text by choosing a name out of your contact list, or you can address it by typing in a phone number. You can also type in a name. And if you type in L-E-I-L-A, then—bizarrely—your text will come to me. This is a blog about the texts I have received. All of them are from strangers, intended for other Leilas, but obviously they missed their marks."
Twenty-nine Tao te Chings, a line at a time. For Sunday evening, a spare, meditative post. The Tao-te-Ching in 29 translations, line by line and side by side. I'll leave you to investigate the writings on your own; here alone are just the words to consider. Suggested: Mitchell. [more inside]
"Schools should continue to require library research so they can see how old folks used to Google stuff."
The continuity I have in mind has to do with the nature of information itself or, to put it differently, the inherent instability of texts. In place of the long-term view of technological transformations, which underlies the common notion that we have just entered a new era, the information age, I want to argue that every age was an age of information, each in its own way, and that information has always been unstable. Let's begin with the Internet and work backward in time.The Library in the New Age by Robert Darnton, historian and Director of the Harvard Library. A wide-ranging overview of the status of libraries in the modern world, touching on such subjects as: journalist poker games, French people liking the smell of books, bibliography at Google, news dissemination in the 18th Century, book piracy and the different texts of Shakespeare. Some responses: Defending the Library of Google, The Future in the Past and Librarians Need a Better Apologetic.
Gutenkarte: "Gutenkarte is a geographic text browser, intended to help readers explore the spatial component of classic works of literature. Gutenkarte downloads public domain texts from Project Gutenberg, and then feeds them to MetaCarta's GeoParser API, which extracts and returns all the geographic locations it can find." [note: works in Firefox but not IE, for me.]
The Illuminated Middle Ages database presents several hundred recently digitized illuminated texts from French national library collections.This web site gives access to the entire database. Only a portion of the full collection has been translated into English for the web site, but visitors may also view the French-language galleries in the site, where a dozen texts from each of the ten themes are presented daily. You are sure to enjoy this collection of breathtaking texts dating from the year 500 through the 1400s.
Greg Lindahl presents scans and transcriptions of several early modern texts at his website: for example, there are partly-searchable facsmilies of John Florio's New World of Words, an Italian-English dictionary published in 1611, and, from the same year, Randle Cotgrave's Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues. Also, there are manuals on swordsmanship, dance, cookery, brewing and needlework.
CELT, the Corpus of Electronic Texts, "brings the wealth of Irish literary and historical culture to the Internet, for the use and benefit of everyone worldwide. It has a searchable online database consisting of contemporary and historical texts from many areas, including literature and the other arts." It has texts in Irish, Latin, Anglo-Norman French, and English, ranging from the annals of the fifth century to the Agreement reached in the Multi-Party Negotiations in Northern Ireland of 1998. "Great my glory/ I that bore Cuchulainn the valiant..."
Visible Traces: Rare Books and Special Collections from the National Library of China. Rare books, maps and other texts, viewable online in this exhibition at askasia.org.
"Saint's Lives" are some of the most important primary sources from the late ancient, Byzantine, and medieval periods. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook links to hundreds of these texts, translated for your benefit, as well as thousands of other documents. Celebrate All Saint's Day by reading about your favorite saint in a text written while your saint was still alive.