on gifts

Also, a Tangent du jour.

Short post, it being a day of rest as my birthday: have been enjoying one of the best gifts ever, one of those perfect presents, “the gift that keep on giving”:

the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. There will be further hours, and indeed days, to be spent in its company.

My other best gift ever was the OED, some years ago.

Know someone whose birthday is coming up? Looking for the perfect present, one that they’ll use in years to come, that will become part of their daily lives, and through which they’ll recall you with gratitude and fondness? A reference book like this does it every time. Especially one like this with lots of words in it.

Philological heaven on a stick.

“Philological heaven” is, by the bye, a glorious Googlewhack–the first real one I’ve encountered. Showered with gifts today, yea verily and even from the Internet Gods:

Arthur Chapin
Cafe Momus: On Critics, Academics, Poets, et al.

(screenshot, to try to prevent illicit copying…) Arthur Chapin being a poet; see also ArthurChapinPoetry, Arthurchapinpoetry (whence the above, and “philological heaven”), and (along withThe Vile Scribbler) The One True Blog.

The image search is even more whacky, in that the exact phrases produces no results; but terms in looser proximity leads the virtual explorer to the following–alas, out of time by a couple of years–from Comic Research & SuchGene Kannenberg, Jr.‘s blog, and ComicsResearch.org‘s chattier sibling.

CFP: Classics and Comics (2/5/07; APA, 1/3/08-1/6/08)

The first of several comics-related calls for papers I’ll be posting here today…

Classics and Comics
Outreach Panel Session at the American Philological Association
January 3-6, 2008; Chicago, Illinois

Proposals are invited for a special outreach panel on the topic of “Classics and Comics,” to be held at the annual meeting of the American Philological Association (APA) in January 2008. There are many examples of comics appropriating the classics for serious or comic purposes, including Frank Miller’s300, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Messner-Loebs’ Epicurus the Sage, van Lente’sAction Philosophers, Shanower’s Age of Bronze, Goscinny and Uderzo’s /Asterix/ series. Since Classics Illustrated Comics’ The Last Days of Pompeii in 1947, comics have been drawing (on) material from Greek and Roman myth, literature and history. At times the connection was cosmetic—as perhaps with Wonder Woman’’s Amazonian heritage —and at times it was almost irrelevant—as with Hercules’ starfaring adventures in the 1982 Marvel miniseries. But all of these make implicit or explicit claims about the place of Classics in modern literary culture.

The APA’s committee on Outreach is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding and appreciation of Classics – Greek and Roman culture of the ancient world. Each year the Outreach Committee hosts one panel on a topic designed to attract an audience from outside the APA’s traditional audience (students and faculty of Classics Departments in North America). This panel is open both to members of the APA and the general public and will be advertised in the Chicago area.

The comic book has been a major element of North American popular culture for over a century and has been increasingly regarded as a legitimate artistic and literary medium. This legitimization has happened on at least two fronts: through the emergence of the ‘graphic novel’ and through scholar/ practitioners such as Scott McCloud and Will Eisner attempting to define the relationship of the comic book to audience, artist and other artistic media. Yet to date there has been very little work attempting to integrate the medium into a larger understanding of Western artistic and literary culture.

The following is a list of possible topics that contributors might explore, though the organizers invite proposals for exciting and engaged papers that will reveal aspects of comics and their Classical sources from any disciplinary perspective that might be relevant to the overall theme:the depiction of myth or ancient history in comics

• visual representations of myth or history in ancient sources and in the comics format
• discussions of any specific use of the Classics in the comics medium
• the transformation of narrative structure between ancient source material and comics
• the appropriation of motif or character typology from Classical literature
• the synthesis of visual art and text in the ancient and modern worlds
• the effect of comics on modern perceptions of Greek and Roman material
• the influence of comics on other artistic media depicting Greek and Roman material
• the legitimization of comics as literature through the use of Classical material
• Classical narratives in Manga
• comparison of comics with other forms of ‘low’ culture in the ancient world

The organizers are also welcoming the participation of comics writers and artists.

Contingent to the success of the panel, the organizers may wish further to develop and publish the proceedings.

Papers will be 20 minutes in length; use of visuals (through PowerPoint) is expected.


Another item, producing several images–that I looked into as the same appeared more then twice, and the images were curious stellar maps, and I do like a good map–although less, um, immediately related than the old APA CFP:

Image at top: The Moustache: True or False“, from The Lemonade Stand‘s Movember posts:
Unfortunately, people have misconceptions about moustaches. Here’s my attempt to set the record straight.
[…] 2. True or False:
The moustache is a universal aphrodisiac. Guys: I’m all about traditions, and yes, I agree; there’s something truly special about a dozen red roses and a heart-shaped box of Hershey’s Kisses; however, this Valentines Day, give [her] the “gift that keeps on giving”–a “spicy,” noncaloric, impenetrable stache of tangible masculinity. And you thought chocolate increased a woman’s libido…
Note: (a) Re. chocolate: Either it’s all a matter of YMMV or I am by definition–the above post being all about definitions–not a woman.
(b) Hershey’s Kisses are not chocolate.
(c) HK are unlikely to increase the libido of anything save maybe a sugar-consuming, taste-bud-deprived, and otherwise near-insentient lower life-form. Something in the mould department, say. Hence fundamental flaw in the above hypothesis, a tragic error leading doubtless to a tragic (or otherwise incomplete) amorous life. Except, perhaps, for tragic affairs between men and moulds, alas doomed to failure due to incurring social wrath for the breaking of inter-species taboos, plus that whole consent thing.
(d) I did not receive a moustache for my birthday, and do not intend to do so. In any sense, way, or manner. Just for future reference.

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