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« Music, Math, and the Mathematical Piano: Pascal, 1645 | Main | Word Balloons (continued): an Early Version in a Printed Book, 1523 »



When I read the headline, I thought, "I shall say something funny about scrofula," by which I meant the word, not the affliction. But you have claimed the wit in that turf already. At least scrofula, as an awful word, names an awful thing. Another word that bothers me is "marginalia." It strikes me as medical, or sexual, or both, and fails to the live up to the thing it names (although much if not most marginalia seems pointless or incomprehensible; however, enough of it is brilliant and beautiful to enoble the entire species.) Yes, I fully recognize that this post qualifies as modern marginalia.


I am surprised at the paucity of dots in Durer--I thought, when I read your post, that surely there must be stippling or something dotty in those etchings, but no, he went in for little lines as far as I can tell from looking hard at a few online images.
Can't wait until you get into pointillism.


"Rose moles all in stipple upon trout that swim / Fresh fire-coal chestnut-falls ..."

John Ptak

Jeff. Yes, indeedy. Sometimes I think it is nothing but marginalia, which, on its freckled face, ain't so stinking bad. I side with Poe and M. Teste. BTW, are you sure that your modern marginalia isn't really a gloss?

John Ptak

Joy! I think Durer was a line man, not so much for dots. Maybe it was the medium. After all, doesn't "Durer" mean "I don't *do* dots" in German? Well, maybe not. And I really don't know what to do about pointilism yet...something about seeing it from the side, like a cross section, sumpin' sumpin'.


Poe and Teste? Oh, dear. All I see with those names are Valery and Borges and ... oh, dear. I have some reading to do. And it's such a nice day. Maybe later.


How lovely that Jeff thinks of Hopkins, one of England's weirdest and most wonderful poets. You are right, he was into the dot thing big time...

John Ptak

Joy: that's because Jeff is a lovely man, really. I know almost nothing of Hopkins except who he was--I'll be reading him tonight. Thanks!

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