Archive for July, 2008

Is it just my vivid imagination…

… or is this 16th century painting of the Colossus of Rhodes – special?

Hm… maybe I spend too much time studying ships…

30 July, 2008 at 11:06 am Leave a comment

Books: “Hubbub: Filth, Noise and Stench in England, 1600-1770” by Emily Cockayne

Hubbub:
Filth, Noise and Stench in England, 1600-1770
by Emily Cockayne

Paperback: 352 pages (from page 250 on, it’s notes, bibliography and index)
Publisher: Yale University Press (29 April 2008)

ISBN-10: 0300137567
ISBN-13: 978-0300137569
Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 2.5 cm

There’s only one handful of authors who have the gift of perfectly describing experiences of the senses. H.P. Lovecraft, for example, deserves the title of “Master of Olfactory Horror”, and Patrick Süskind did a decent job in “The Perfume”. Putting scents and music into words is like explaining the concept of a spiral staircase without using one’s hands. How can one write a three-dimensional description of a lovely scent without trivializing or stumbling right into the corny field? And how much more difficult is it to put stench into words, and the atmosphere it creates?

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17 July, 2008 at 3:45 pm Leave a comment

Books: “Napoleon’s Privates” by Tony Perrottet

NAPOLEON’S PRIVATES
2,500 Years of History Unzipped

by Tony Perrottet
Harper Entertainment, ISBN 978-0-06-125728-5

From the blurb on the author’s website:

What were Casanova’s best pick-up lines?
(They got better as he got older).
Which Italian Renaissance genius “discovered” the clitoris?
(He could have just asked the Venetian nuns).
What was the party etiquette at Caligula’s orgies?
(Holding one’s own could be a stressful business in ancient Rome).
How were impotence sufferers put on trial in medieval France?
(And why this should be a new reality TV show).
What were the kinkiest private clubs of Hogarthian London?
(Austin Powers would have blanched).

And what was the truth about Napoleon’s privates?
(Was it a big baguette or petit éclair? And did size matter to Josephine?)

There are some books you just have to order, even if you fear the worst when it comes to content. I hang my head in shame – when I stumbled over “Napoleon’s Privates” (now please don’t take that literally!) I couldn’t resist. Yes, yes, I know, my mind’s in the gutter at times. But if everything else fails, there’s still eBay, right?

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8 July, 2008 at 8:09 pm 2 comments

Books: “A Fine Old English Gentleman” by William Davies (1875)

I have three reviews of books about Collingwood in the pipeline; let me start with the oldest one. Legally available for download on the internet, it makes an excellent resource for those of us who live on a tight budget. Being the geek that I am, I’ve made a colour print-out with ring-binding. Yes, I know. Don’t mention it.

A FINE OLD ENGLISH GENTLEMAN,
EXEMPLIFIED IN THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF
LORD COLLINGWOOD.

A Biographical Study by William Davies

The book is available as DjVu, PDF, TXT and, very handy, flip book

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5 July, 2008 at 11:56 pm Leave a comment


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