Posts Tagged ‘Milton’
“The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries”*…
Jonathan Basile, a Brooklyn author and Borgesian Man of the Book, taught himself programming so that he could recreate Borges’ Universal Library [the Library of Babel, which “contained all books”] as a website. The results are confounding. A true site-as-labyrinth, Basile’s creation is an attempt to write and publish every story conceivable (and inconceivable) to man. In the process, Basile encountered new philosophical conundrums, French rappers, and unheard-of porno search strings. The possibilities, after all, are endless…
* Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel” [“La Biblioteca de Babel”]
As we renew our Library cards, we might recall that it was on this date in 1667 that John Milton sold the rights to Paradise Lost to printer/publisher Samuel Simmons for £10. Milton, who’s worked for Cromwell, was on the outs in those early days of the Restoration. (Indeed, Simmons kept his name off the title page [below], naming only his sellers.)
That original edition was structured into 10 sections (“books”). Milton revised his work and reordered it into 12 books, the form we know today; it was published in the year of his death, 1674. While his motive may well have been, as some critics have suggested, to emulate the structure of Virgil’s Aeneid, a second payday probably also figured in.
“Monsters are born too tall, too strong, too heavy, they are not evil by choice; that is their tragedy”
– Ishiro Honda (Kurosawa friend, Toho director, and creator of Godzilla)
As we rethink our attraction to urban centers, we might compose a birthday rhyme for Torquato Tasso, the 16th Century Italian poet; he was born on this date in 1544. Tasso was a giant in his own time– he died in 1595, a few days before the Pope was to crown him “King of the Poets”– but had fallen out the core of the Western Canon by the end of the 19th century. But he resonates still in the poems (Spencer, Milton, Byron), plays (Goethe), madrigals (Monteverdi), operas (Lully, Vivaldi, Handel, Haydn, Rossini, Dvorak) , and art work (Tintoretto, the Carracci, Guercino, Pietro da Cortona, Domenichino, Van Dyck, Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Tiepolo, Fragonard, Delacroix) that his life and work inspired.