Bookworms with Ink
August 6, 2009 3:05 PM   Subscribe

We've seen tattooed librarians, but so-called literary tattoos are a growing trend. See the lively LiveJournal group, or the folks over at Contrariwise. Recently, "A couple of independent editors have decided to take the trend and invert it -- to put the literary tattoos back in a book." It appears the call for submissions is still on-going.
posted by litterateur (26 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
The Literary Tattoos LJ community can be fantastic, when it isn't full of posts like "here is a picture of a fairy. It is inspired by my favorite band's lyrics, kind of. Yay literature!"
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:09 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

For some reason I was expecting to see tattoos of the Bennet family in a sitting room, or maybe a tattoo of a man hanging from the gallows inspired by the one in Treasure Island, or at least Ahab vs. Moby. But I guess quotes from books work, too.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:21 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hey, how about that. I received an email yesterday morning from the artist (in Shanghai) who did my first tattoo asking if she could submit it for this book and include some information about me. Now I really hope "we" get published.
posted by thebergfather at 3:22 PM on August 6, 2009

Weird. I hate tats, everything about them, but yesterday I was cleaning up and found a copy of a poetry anthology. Leafing through it, I found this:

The apparition of these faces in the crowd.
Petals on a wet, black bough

and thought, y'know, with the right font, this would look pretty sweet on my bicep or forearm.

Damn, I'm getting old.
posted by John of Michigan at 3:26 PM on August 6, 2009

Oh hey, thanks for posting this! The day I get home from vacation, it seems I'll be figuring out how to take the picture.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:29 PM on August 6, 2009

apparently there is an entire subset of humanity which get muted trumpet tattoos in honor of Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying Of Lot 49".
posted by hippybear at 3:29 PM on August 6, 2009

I have considered doing that myself one of these days.
posted by hippybear at 3:29 PM on August 6, 2009

This really reminds me of Peter Greenaway's film The Pillow Book (which I've just noticed is available on Youtube). For example, check out this scene, tattooed librarians!
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:32 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Pillow Book also features a full frontal naked shot of Ewan McGregor. What more could one ask for in a movie?
posted by hippybear at 3:34 PM on August 6, 2009

Body Type is a decent book about text tattoos.
posted by box at 3:39 PM on August 6, 2009

I've thought before that some of those old black and white Victorian illustrations would make for nice tattoos. Something like this maybe, or any of these. Books of old fairy tales in particular had awesome illustrations.
posted by CheshireCat at 4:01 PM on August 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

Hippybear, that's actually how I first discovered Lot 49, and Pynchon in general.

I saw the tattoo on someone in a bar, didn't get a chance to ask owner WTF it was, did my own researchin' later, and ended up buying the book.

Tattoo marketing!
posted by rokusan at 4:07 PM on August 6, 2009

Viral tattoo marketing, no less!
posted by hippybear at 4:08 PM on August 6, 2009

and thought, y'know, with the right font, this would look pretty sweet on my bicep or forearm.

I've seen tattoo quotes from books I haven't even read, and been jealous just because of the font. For example, this font makes the tattoo in my mind. With a lesser one it might be banal. I like this Kerouac one, too. Maybe one day I'll get a literary tattoo, but first I need to find the perfect typewriter font.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:09 PM on August 6, 2009

see also ...
posted by feckless at 4:46 PM on August 6, 2009

My first tattoo is literary in bent. I have the compass rose from House of Leaves inked on my foot (inspired by someone else's placement, but I went for a more muted colour scheme than they did). And I'm pretty sure that I will end up with more.
posted by cerulgalactus at 4:48 PM on August 6, 2009

Oh, for an editor - or proofreader, at least.
posted by memewit at 6:16 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hey! cerulgalactus! :) Small world. I saw a pic of your tat and it's indeed awesome.

My husband asked if I were to get a tattoo, where and what would it look like. I told him my bicep and something using Dagmar Berkova's illustrations from Alice in Wonderland. Then I sat down and figured out a concept I really want.

One day I'll get it done.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:58 PM on August 6, 2009

If you get a tattoo inspired by House Of Leaves, do you then have to have 3 other tattoos, in different typefaces, one of which is about someone seeing the main tattoo, and two others which are footnotes and sub-notes about the original tattoo?
posted by hippybear at 9:02 PM on August 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

Wow, that LJ group sure is infested with pretentious teenagers. I'll bet thinking back on one's insufferable younger self and cringing is a pretty universal experience--but how much worse would it be if you had to look at some stupid Perks of Being a Wallflower quote in the mirror every morning?

(Also, what is it about the Internet that encourages so many people to cultivate a "literary" image? I swear, it's so thick with poseurs nowadays, it's worse than St. Marks.)
posted by nasreddin at 1:03 AM on August 7, 2009

If I didn't have as much self-control and strict rules about tattooing (one being that any tattoo idea must stand at least a year's worth of active contemplation before being worthy of further consideration), you would have to read me instead of look at me. I love text tattoos.

I only have one text tattoo and that's not a quote from anywhere so I felt having it in my handwriting was appropriate. All other text tattoos I have planned have either not stood the test of time or I was never able to find the right font or location on my body... I also fear that once I begin, I won't be able to stop.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:18 AM on August 7, 2009

Welcome to Jamaica and have a nice day.
posted by applemeat at 9:24 AM on August 7, 2009

Wow, that LJ group sure is infested with pretentious teenagers.

posted by booticon at 9:28 AM on August 7, 2009

I have a tat of Sam I Am, holding a platter of Green Eggs and Ham. Hey, it's quite possibly one of the most important pieces of American literature most kids have read...

Oh wait; I didn't do it ironically...I suppose it doesn't count.
posted by dejah420 at 7:19 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

dejah420: no, that means you win, because you have a tattoo you'll still want in ten years.
posted by hippybear at 6:51 AM on August 8, 2009

That is a fun (if mockable in places) LJ community. Some things I thought were noteworthy:

Really pretty: ee cummings

Pretentious and funny: Almost all of the comments of this tattoo pic from Look At This Fucking Hipster are of the opinion that this was actually a GOOD tattoo concept.

Heartbreaking: David Foster Wallace tribute from one of his students

I was also a little sad, although unsurprised, to see that I am not the only person out there who wants a VFD eye tattoo (from Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events).
posted by naoko at 3:41 PM on August 10, 2009

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