On books as Bondmobiles . . . and a translation web site

When books become Bondmobiles, I expect that writers will be trans-textual getaway artists cobbling together scribbles, recorded music, spoken words, . . . moving and still pictures – some of all that newly minted, and the rest borrowed, licensed or filched.

Bondmobiles – who dat? You’ll know exactly what I mean if, like me, you hadn’t grasped the powers of special effects when you gasped, the first time you saw 007’s getaway wheels leave the ground — or dive into water and speed away serenely, just as the baddies close in on the Prince of Suaveness.

But what will scribes of the future escape through technologically assisted shape-shifting? I mean, aside from poverty – if they are lucky, and the audiences for mixed media creations prove larger than for old, purist forms. Perhaps they will evade the years of concentrated effort it takes to get good enough at any one craft – for instance, writing — to justify sacrificing the rest of your life at its altar. Yesterday I saw that early research by one Anders Ericsson and colleagues at a university in Florida suggests that it takes an average of ten years or 10,000 hours of ‘persistent, focused training and experience’ to reach the threshold of ‘world-class expertise in any discipline – music, sports, chess, science . . .’.

What I’m trying to say – the long way around — is that the push from computerised tools towards media scrambling in the arts could well mean that virtually all the great literature there will ever be has already been written. When most works of art are blends of several forms, why should anyone strive to outdo the old masters of any one form?

I recognise this as prejudiced thinking. But there’s no alternative to it since, as some of our youngest (twentysomething) comrades were recently complaining on this site, professional writers have lagged behind other creators in investigating the possibilities of mixed media. That means that there is hardly any basis for comparison. Some bloggers are heavy users of graphics and sound clips, but I’ve yet to see an established, serious, literary writer with a site like that – posting long-ish texts up to his or her mark.

I’d suggest two reasons for this:

The fear of artistry interruptus – losing the seductive powers of unified form, development and close attention.

In an essay I’ve posted in another part of this site, Robert Frost mentions ‘the figure a poem makes’. Works in all the art forms we’re used to have a shape and a progression – which are present even when deliberately subverted, so that our brains reflexively reassemble one of Picasso’s beauties with an eyeball in her cheek and luscious lips in an ear lobe to give us a fair idea of what his model looked like, in life.

‘No one can really hold that the ecstasy should be static and stand still in one place,’ Frost said of the shape of a poem, in one of the most beautiful sentences ever written. A poem ‘assumes direction with the first line laid down . . . has denouement . . . has an outcome that though unforeseen was predestined from the first image of the original mood … ’.

As for poetry, so for other kinds of literature. Wouldn’t bloggers who have posted literary fiction on the net want us readers to be utterly absorbed by the structures they have chosen for those stories or novels – whether loose or tight, classic, modernist or post-modernist? Some of these dear comrades have been complaining about writers not incorporating at the very least, music, into their works.

But if music or, say, striking images were spliced into texts, wouldn’t that steal both attention and the tension of their unfolding – and in the end, amount to the artistic equivalent of coitus interruptus? . . . It’s different with, for instance, cinema, which has always been a more diffuse and inclusive medium, blending elements of theatre, painting, sculpture, music and literature — at least, for the lifespan of anyone blogging here. Looking backwards at early mixed-media objects, I can’t think of any part of the text of an illuminated manuscript that a language-lover would quote with as much pleasure as, say, ‘Consider the lilies of the field,’ from a book not intended to share creative effort or concentration with pictures.

The lack of a ‘killer-app’ for the textual revolution – so far.

. . . for instance, microwave ovens – the accidental discovery of an engineer working with radar in the 1940s – never took off as substitutes for conventional ovens, for most people. These gadgets only found customers when presented as accelerated reheaters and defrosters of food, the ‘killer applications’ of this particular invention.

I’m guessing that media scrambling by writers won’t happen in any significant way until it meets a vital need that has so far gone unmet, or has yet to be invented . . . I’m thinking, for instance, of a scaling-up of a relatively trivial proposition I posted almost exactly two years ago. It was in a discussion of translating Don Quixote, on another site – and I was suggesting a way of making the literary heirlooms of other cultures less impenetrable, and of giving foreigners deeper insight into what makes them great.

I reposted those thoughts a few days later on a blog about digital publishing on the same site by Chris Meade, the head of an organisation — Bookfutures— that has been using public funds to look into what comes after print. He liked the idea well enough to come below the line to suggest getting in touch with him to discuss it in detail. I’m pasting in some of the original posts below, and putting a more complete record of our conversation about multimedia translation in the Long Posts section of this site.

Everyone who hates the idea will please spell out exactly why, being as insulting as you like. If it’s a flightless bird, I’d like to know that as soon as possible and free the mental patch it’s been occupying for other (far madder) uses.

farofa
03 Mar 07, 11:57am

[…]

Maybe it is enjoyable for me because I am reading it in Portuguese translation (he’s pronounced key-SHO-chee in Brazilian Portuguese – I hear much 16th/17th-century Castilian pronunciation is closer to Portuguese than modern Spanish) as my limited Spanish would make it too laborious. Perhaps the humour, historical assumptions and other bases for the humour, the funny turns of phrase etc aren’t as e asily translatable in English as into languages closer to Castilian.

[. . .]

wordnerd7
07 Mar 07, 6:28pm

[…] The passion of a reader much closer than I am to the original language of a book could make up for the chief annoyance of translations, not being able to hear the language and harmonies (or dissonance) that the author chose. . . [W]ouldn’t it be wonderful if each of the great classics could have its own web site, with experts or lovers of the original language on hand to answer questions and help foreigners struggling with uninspired and stodgy renderings into their mother tongues? To cheer that foreign reader through longueurs – if only with an excellent chat?

The site I have in mind would also make it possible to highlight a passage, and then listen to a beautiful reading of it in the original, to get the kind of feeling for the language that bypasses a literal understanding of it. It’s already possible to do this at the movies, when you can stop reading the subtitles in, say, a film by Almodovar (surely another Spanish artist indebted to Cervantes, as maybe Dali was, too) and just listen for a while.

farofa
07 Mar 07, 7:16pm

It’s a good idea wordnerd. Some works really lend themselves to that kind of treatment. Some kind of English site with a direct per-chapter linkage to the Spanish site could be a starter. [. . .]

. . . I didn’t take Chris Meade up on his invitation. Government-funded organisations tend to substitute endless meetings and white paper-drafting for action – and I like to move fast (as some of us did in a a flash blogging experiment organised by @ISA a few weeks ago). Yes, another kind of prejudice, I’ll admit. The explosively irate reaction of a few fellow-bloggers to Meade and his blog (see Long Posts) didn’t help matters.

But there you have it: one miniature case study of the obstacles to textual or indeed any other kind of innovation – an example of a low-grade Bondmobile blueprint that found some support but still got nowhere.

. . . It’s not hard to imagine laughing at myself, some day, for the reservations I’ve expressed about artistic hybrids replacing _all_ today’s pure forms – not just supplementing them, as in a captivating YouTube video I recently mentioned. Just as I smiled at reading, the other day, about Samuel Beckett’s disgust with a venerable media hybrid in which it takes effort for the rest of us to perceive aesthetic miscegenation. ‘It is precisely because music has a subordinate part in it that ballet annoys me,’ he said. ‘For serious music cannot be of use.’

The 20th century’s greatest playwright was being a grump: No one can really hold that the medium should be static and stand still in one place.

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18 Comments

Filed under Book publishing, Music and words, Poetry, The blogosphere, The sound of blogging

18 responses to “On books as Bondmobiles . . . and a translation web site

  1. My post is rather long, so I’ve put it in ‘Long Posts’.

    [ 19 March 2009: have pasted that excellent post into the bottom of this comment — since it also belongs in this thread, and is far from too longwordnerd7 ]

    Synopsis:

    I think you’re correct in your artistry interruptus forecast: new forms will certainly be created but will be as far from the private immersion of modern reading as a quiet night in with a Penguin Classic is from the original, public recitations of the Odyssey.

    https://acacciatura.wordpress.com/longueurs-november-2008/#comment-2289

    BaronCharlus
    March 17, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    ‘virtually all the great literature there will ever be has already been written’

    This could well be true. The quality of illuminated manuscripts has really gone down, recently. Whilst books are still popular as a form of entertainment, anyone with a true spirit of radicalism, the need to be seen at the forefront of something new, is very unlikely to choose to work in fiction/books. Also, much of what we call literature now is enjoyed by us in ways that the original authors could not have imagined. The Don Quixote conversation does suggest a way in which the great literature of the past may be consumed – just as Chaucer could not have foreseen his works flying across the ether as spoken-word recordings or digital texts (or even distributed as a printed text).

    I can’t read and listen to music – there was a Jordison blog on this recently – and I think the addition of multi-media makes a novel into something else, something we don’t yet have a name for.

    A good friend of mine is a computer games designer. I asked him recently if he thought that – just as all emergent artforms seem to have a moment when they present the potential to cross from generic entertainment/functionality into art – computer games had produced a game/series that showed such potential. He said they probably hadn’t although he felt elements of Grand Theft Auto IV revealed a depth of character, complexity of motivation and perspectives, that he’d not seen before. But then is the territory being encroached on here more cinematic?

    As with the Quixote concept, everyone seems to agree that interactivity will be central to whatever literature will become. How the autonomy and vision of the artist will interlock with the readers’ input I can’t imagine although, as someone was saying recently, the idea of the ‘patriarchal voice’ is dissipating, replaced by a more chaotic, more fecund and febrile process – creativity as natural selection, all happening in a public space. You could say a gentle version of this is happening on this week’s Poster Poems.

    Wordn, from how I understand your model – custodians would be required to offer alternatives/guidance. This sounds more like a tutorial or interactive lit-class than a model for new fiction. A wonderful idea but how would you apply this to new fiction? I guess the author could – like a theatre company director – be curator of his/her own work, offering clues/hints/disclosure/playlists/updates etc. But I think you’re correct in your artistry interruptus forecast: new forms will certainly be created but will be as far from the private immersion of modern reading as a quiet night in with a Penguin Classic is from the original, public recitations of the Odyssey.

  2. a very thoughtful piece of writing.

    I’m very much a fan of the mongrel approach – a revelation for us was a show called Head Quarters. An audience of 5 sat opposite another audience of 5 in a strange little barn structure- above them all was a counterweighted box. This was lowered down and corresponding holes on the underside of the box meant that all 10 heads could enter inside the box. Once inside they discovered that each head was in a little bed and they could all see each other’s heads in these beds. It was as if they were in a miniature dormitory The response was fantastic and for few minutes we left them to enjoy the moment. what happened was for them – we were not a part of it.

    It was a strange collision between our imagination and the response of the audience. One could not exist without the other and I think it was an interaction that couldn’t happen in the usual theatrical set up ( I may be wrong about this of course ).

    It made us realise why we work in this way. But we’re not dogmatic about this. Part of the joy of working like this is to invent the wheel or re-invent the wheel with no obligation to either approach. The idea drives the form. Our latest will be very much a more traditional audience watches show affair. We seem to produce an endless series of prototypes. I don’t know whether this is good or bad.

  3. wordnerd7

    @BaronC

    Exquisitely considerate, thank you for your Long Posts post and for inserting a bridge to it – although that comment could easily have gone here. . . Once again, I’m flinging bouquets of virtual roses at your feet for getting a thread started (unless you’d prefer orchids . . .? 😉 )

    On the translation site:

    This sounds more like a tutorial or interactive lit-class than a model for new fiction.

    . . . sorry to be so confusing. Not a tutorial at all. I mentioned using mixed media for richer and more subtle translations of foreign classics merely as one way of getting the literati accustomed to multi-media – in the way internet shopping got a lot of people to make their maiden voyages online, or ‘instant’ defrosting got people to use microwave ovens.

    We’ve all been in innumerable discussions of the limitations of conventional (old-media) translation – and of how important it is to learn about the cultural treasures of other countries. So a media-scrambling translation site would meet a real need that has so far gone unmet. (the key to getting innovations to take off, in my experience.)

    Hmm . . . I wouldn’t call a reader’s helpers on a Don Quixote site mediators or barriers between an author and his readers because _any_ translation – even the old-fashioned print kind – has a piggy-in-the-middle. . . At the very least, you could see such a site replacing one kind of faute-de-mieux experience with a less unsatisfying one. I actually think that it could add more than that – a great deal more – to the appreciation of a foreign classic. . .In one of the original discussions (the links are in Long Posts), I asked whether the DQ project might ideally be a collaboration between a Spanish university and one in England.

    . . . It’s the ideal book, since it’s widely considered the world’s first novel.

    As with the Quixote concept, everyone seems to agree that interactivity will be central

    … Interesting that you focus on the interactivity in the idea: much as I like that, I’d be most excited about being able to listen to the sounds of the original.

    . . . For your continuing conversation with your game-designer friend – here’s a rather different possibility:

    If games are supposed to be fun, Adorno and Horkheimer might have asked, why do they go so far to replicate the structure of a repetitive dead-end job? Increasingly, videogames seem to aspire to a mimesis of the mechanized work process.
    http://stevenpoole.net/trigger-happy/working-for-the-man/

    An all-round excellent source of stimulating thinking about videogames where you might enjoy browsing: http://stevenpoole.net/trigger-happy/

    . . . More to say to you about your wonderfully engaged post, and I’ll be returning soon to respond to @Alarming’s characteristically head-spinning vision .. . what would we do without him . . .

  4. wordnerd7

    @BaronC again,

    So we’re in complete agreement here, then:

    ‘virtually all the great literature there will ever be has already been written’

    This could well be true. The quality of illuminated manuscripts has really gone down, recently.

    Funny, what you’ve noticed about those mss. – have had to send the same one back to Amazon at least three times, now – and the excuse always is that the monks are tired (tired-and-emotional, more likely . . . hmmmph!)

    On biblio-Bondmobiles and other craft hybrids. . . – it seems as if others share my suspicions about what lacks mixed media experiments might be trying to conceal.

    Didn’t think I’d ever see a headline like this, and were I feeling less robust when I read it, I could have collapsed in a dead faint – just think of what many of these lovely people look like _clothed_: Take It Off, Brünnhilde: On Opera and Nudity . . .

    Extract:

    ‘Is actual nakedness, if the dramatic situation justifies it, such a big leap?

    ‘Maybe not. Still, if opera ventures increasingly down this path, it will have to grapple with the same questions of relevance, gimmickiness and sensationalism that have dogged theater, film and dance. … There is no question that in many plays explicit nude scenes have been used to compensate for shallow writing . . . Here is where opera may soon court trouble if things get too cavalierly explicit. First and foremost, opera is a vocal art form. Never underestimate the visceral dramatic impact of fine singing. A great voice can be very sexy. Listen to Birgit Nilsson’s recording of “Salome.” For sheer sensual power, it’s hard to match Nilsson’s incandescent singing. … The question of exposing flesh in opera to make up for subpar music hovered over “The Fly.”’ . . . http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/18/arts/music/18nude.html

    . . . Then I was wasting time over at The Daily Beast and found a link to another multi-media experimenter, a woman writing a watch-the-paint-dry blog on how she goes about her work of researching and writing articles . . .

    Extract:

    Monday, March 16, 2009
    Shooter

    Last week, I started chronicling the “story” of creating a feature story I’m doing on the adult movie industry. This is the first story I’ve done with this editor, […]

    I […] asked her if she was interested in photographs to go with the piece, and she said: Yes. And suggested the possibility of a companion slideshow. And I found that to be very interesting, indeed. For a variety of reasons, now more than ever, I’m interested in taking more photographs. To be honest, I’m probably more excited about taking the photographs than writing the damn thing, probably because I’m so damn used to writing, and I’m so not an expert at taking photographs.

    http://reversecowgirlblog.blogspot.com/

    . . . see? Someone else who would rather run off and fiddle with another medium than be a good cobbler sticking to her last, and improving her craft . . .

  5. wordnerd7

    @Alarming

    … I loved imagining that – I mean, imagining my own surprise, if I could have been a participant (if only!).

    Obviously, I love mongrels too . . . but was considering the fate of pure forms, now that scrambling’s begun in earnest.

    I also know that innovations in the arts that look like indeterminate, if not quite shapeless, puddings to people in one era can be seen in later eras as the epitome of strict form.

    I read this last week about Gabrieli, the late-Renaissance Venetian composer, working in a time when Venice was a hotbed of wild experimentation and breakthroughs:

    [H]e appears to have been the first composer to employ the term ‘sonata,’ which he used in a generalised way to describe instrumental works that didn’t adhere to any other established form.

    … a sort of grab-bag term. . . I found that a very great surprise . . . The wikipedia would, too. It quotes one authority as follows, on the sonata: ‘”the most important principle of musical form, or formal type, from the Classical period well into the 20th century”.’

  6. wordnerd7

    For @Sean and @Alarming . . . something I ‘clipped’ for you last month but have kept forgetting to give you: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/28/arts/design/28wall.html . . .

    Thank you for introducing me to Bruno Schulz, who is very special indeed.

  7. WN what I meant to add was that many of us mongrels often find ourselves using more traditional forms from time to time. The problem then being are we up to the disciplines needed.

    The problem also being that some traditions can over-power the initial idea so much that the result is a dry academicism rather than something vibrant. Puppetry consistently falls foul of that. It’s such a seductive technical medium – bringing a figure to life – that you can get sidetracked in technical virtuosity alone and end up another one of those performers who gives a perfect demonstration of a ballerina and nothing else.

    Glad you are enjoying Bruno Schulz. I’m just re-reading the Tin Drum and getting a lot more out of it this time – so in the spirit of that Bruno Schulz may be up next as I’ve not read him for many a year.

  8. @Wordn

    My personal definition of ‘interactivity’ would include sound files and such – anything where one can ‘interact’ with the work at a moment selected by the user, rather than the author/artist.

    I think Quixote, as you say, is a perfect example as a case study. Possibly my favourite book – favourite, not most personal – as the Kundera quote on the back of my edition says: ‘the modern author need answer to no one but Cervantes’. Or something like that.

    I know I’m going to fall into a trap I got grumpy about a few weeks back here, by mentioning WS, but I think this concept of ‘mastery’ is dangerous (Des has quoted it as well). Shakespeare was an actor, probably fulfilled elements of the role we now term director (see Hamlet’s instrctions to the Players) wrote verse for the reader and verse and prose for the stage. For all we know, he mended the costumes and argued with the caterers. Those that we now call masters were not always – would not even have seen themselves as – proficient in one skill alone, many would be surprised at which aspect of their work achieved longevity.

    Great work can also happen as if by accident, driven by ideas, not lashed down by ‘how it’s done’. One of my favourite films is Night of the Hunter; a directorial debut by a man who never made another film and yet I’d place alongside the work of many ‘masters’.

    @Al

    Glad you’re enjoying Tin Drum. It’s what I’d describe as a personal work – it touches something in me that feels very private and true – that corrosive satire, the focus on decay and indignity – whilst the humanity, joy and generosity of Quixote is what I falteringly aspire to.

  9. Baron, what strikes me this time is the sheer energy of it. Not all of it works but it’s presented with such vim that it hardly seems to matter. I like Grass but in his later books the more he thinks about the images he uses and the more he works out their symbolic value the less evocative they become for me. But in the Tin Drum image after image has an incredible subconscious power

    With Quixote I read it all including the incredibly tedious camp-fire stories. It wasn’t until I finished the book and looked at the preface that I noted that the translator suggests skipping those bits as they are irrelevant to the story! I dislike reading prefaces beforehand but now look in case there are similarly useful disclaimers.

  10. ‘the images he uses and the more he works out their symbolic value the less evocative they become’

    I think this is true with many artists; the more they systemistise, even understand, their own symbolic language and motivations, the more formal and tamed they become. I love to read prose where you can almost hear the author taking him/herself by surprise.

    It sounds like we have the same edition of Quixote. I can’t bring myself to skip passages in books (although I confess I went rather speedily through the Captive segment of A La Recherche…). I was also interested to read the Cardenio story as it was the foundation of a lost Shakespeare&Fletcher play.

  11. I have a similar “read” ethic but it was severely tested in some of those long passages. Given that the book has such a special quality it’s odd they should seek to dilute that with rambling stories.

    Perhaps it’s the Marx Brother’s effect? You eagerly wait for the Groucho/Harpo/Chico bits in between the songs/the plot and Zeppo’s lurve interests. So perhaps the gallantry and tenderness of Don Quixote seems more so because you’ve waded through a long shaggy dog story????

  12. @wordnerd7

    @BaronC,

    === but I think this concept of ‘mastery’ is dangerous (Des has quoted it as well). ===

    Interesting to be reminded of that discussion between you and @Des, … It was the Wall Street Journal article I quoted that mentioned the word ‘mastery’ — and . .. ahem … its subject was golf (was there ever a more boring game? played in more boring artificial landscapes? . . . 😦 . . . ) .

    I’ve been wondering far less about ‘mastery’ than about focus and attention.

    . . . for instance, about the implications of the shift to multimedia for artists strongly gifted in one traditional art form. Does it make sense to concentrate on developing their talent in that form, or should they treat their gift as just one part of a much larger bag of tricks they’ll need in the near future for a seat above the salt? . . . Something like someone superb at drawing (perspective, draughtsmanship, etc) realising — in an earlier century — that s/he would also have to get a lot better at painting . . . and in fresco, tempera, oils, . . . to be considered a contender.

    I hadn’t thought of ‘interactive’ the way you do . .. interesting . . .

    . . . @farofa told us in the original Don Quixote discussion that in the Iberian tradition, you just dip into the book now and then for the pleasure of immersing yourself in its very special world . . . and that almost no one reads it straight through. That works for me . . . I can truthfully say that the conversation with @farofa transformed my view of a literary work in a way no other blog chat ever has . . . although @Alarming and @Sean have got me reading Schultz, riveted . . . @ET: Krazy Kat hasn’t ‘taken’ so far, but I’ll try it in different moods before I give up …

  13. wordnerd7

    post-post on mastery for @BaronC,

    In going over your original post related to this piece, now pasted in here to make it easier to follow the discussion (hope that’s okay; see your extended first comment in the thread) . . . I particularly liked the way you said this:

    === The idea of the ‘patriarchal voice’ is dissipating, replaced by a more chaotic, more fecund and febrile process – creativity as natural selection, all happening in a public space.===

    @Des hasn’t popped in here, alas – but I wonder if you aren’t thinking of ‘mastery’ in different ways. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you have in mind Voltaire’s ‘Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien’ – originally relayed to me as ‘The best is the enemy of the good.’ . . . And I wonder whether @Des is perhaps thinking of thoroughly mastering the craft in any art form, . . . if putting it like that makes sense.

    If I’m right, there’s no contradiction, necessarily.

  14. Sorry to hear you are not falling for Krazy Kat – I am not sure which vintage you are reading. The stuff from the 20’s being more like a conventional comic strip and the whole page colour strips of the 40’s expanding the world into even more poetic realms.

    It hovers on the overly-whimsical but the relationships between the 3 main characters are based on such innate cruelties that, for me at least, it over-rides such concerns. I do love the scratchy pen-work as well – simple but also incredibly skillful. The indeterminate gender of the cat is also very prescient re; today’s cyber-personalities. Early on Krazy is a he, then a she and we just give up botherings in the later strips.

  15. wordnerd7

    @Alarming,

    === The indeterminate gender of the cat is also very prescient re; today’s cyber-personalities. Early on Krazy is a he, then a she and we just give up botherings in the later strips. ===

    Thank you for that — will certainly encourage me to persist. Can’t imagine why anyone would needlessly complicate life for a creation/character like that.

    . . . I don’t make a habit of getting upset about the fates of people I don’t know, since so many of the ones I do need my sympathy far more, but Natasha Richardson is a real loss. . . I thought that The Comfort of Strangers, for which Harold Pinter wrote the script, was a rare example of fiction translating almost perfectly onto the screen. All the actors in it — and I remember her as being particularly convincing — seemed to have sucked up the macabre early McEwan sensibility in every pore. Not great cinema for the ages, I suppose, but still an outstanding and unforgettable film.. . And I was looking forward to seeing how this particular actress refined her craft as she got older. Very sad indeed.

  16. wordnerd7

    . . . wandered off to look at the Gruan’s obit and I’ve just seen that her performance in TCoS has also been noted by Michael Billington as showing that she was someone to reckon with.

  17. ‘Does it make sense to concentrate on developing their talent in that form, or should they treat their gift as just one part of a much larger bag of tricks they’ll need in the near future for a seat above the salt?’

    I think, as always, differing approaches will work for different people. Some are nourished by learning a variety of different forms, others become dispersed.

    Full disclosure: I should note that citation of the ‘patriarchal voice’ drew directly from a conversation between, I think, Steven Augustine and Sean (?) that I was trying to follow a while back. It was an interesting idea I hadn’t thought of before.

    @Al (and Wordn)

    I used to read Charlie Brown obsessessively when a child. I usually have one comic going. It’s currently Achewood online (which has very developed characters so not sure where the place to start is). But what i should dig down from the attic is my grandfather’s pile of Giles annuals. The grotty vision of Britian – with occasional flourishes of absurdity and magic – is definitely worth revisting.

  18. wordnerd7

    === I think, as always, differing approaches will work for different people. Some are nourished by learning a variety of different forms, ===

    Yes indeed, @BaronC, but what are the majority most likely to do? Am interesting question, don’t you think? … More than one artist usually worked on the pictures in illuminated manuscripts and on the texts, too — but computers mean that a single artist can produce results so fast in so many forms that I’m not sure that most of the multimedia works of the future will be collaborative.

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