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Browsing the 1874 volume of the London Punch an interesting but truly bad poem slid from the page. The poem certainly suffers from itself, but there are interesting insights, and poetics aside there's some good thinking going on in spite of a probably-very-quick composition time.
For example, the first line of this stanza "In this autoplastic archetype of Protean protein lay" is a real tooth-popper, but it does dig down into some interesting turf:
All the humans Space has room for, or for whom Time makes a day,
From the Sage whose words of wisdom Prince or Parliament obey,
To the Parrots who but prattle, and the Asses who but bray–
So full was this Atom-Molecule,
Of the young World’s proto-prime!
The poem wobbles and wrangles within its own very tight and bumpy twists (" Of the young world’s proto-prime!") though the essence of existence does seep through:
In it slept all the forces in our cosmos that run rife,
To stir Creation’s giants or its microscopic life;
Harmonious in discord, and cooperant in strife,
To this small cell committed, the World lived with his Wife–
In this fine old Atom-Molecule,
Of the young world’s proto-prime!
It is a curious work which I liked in the end, or at least I liked it as a vehicle to get you to another place:
In it Order grew from Chaos, Light out of Darkness shined,
Design sprang up by Accident, Law’s rule from Hazard blind,
The Soul-less Soul evolving–against, not after, kind–
As the Life-less Life developed, and the Mind-less ripened Mind,
In this fine old Atom-Molecule,
Of the young World’s proto-prime.
THere is just something very offputting about sharp turns made by unusual things in unnatural settings, a sort of unwanted geometry applied to unneccesary objects found in cringing and chaffing places.
For example--this image of a ship steaming in for a roudn of reapirs as though it was coming into a first-decade strip mall seems to have a frightful sesnse of wrongness to it. Not to mention that it seems a little impossible for the ship to have made those four turns to get in/out of the "car park".
[Source: W.H. THomspon, Devon. A Survey of its Coast, Moors, and Rivers with some Suggestions for their Preservation, London, 1922.]
This reminds me very much of an earlier sharp turn found in an 1875 engineer's drawing ("Plan of
Ten-Stall Stable....for W.D. Wight's paper on Underground Horses")--and
yes indeed these were horses kept underground, used for hauling the
heavier wagons (on tracks) of whatever, brought out to these larger
chambers by men doing the same work with lighter loads in smaller areas. (There's more on this in an earlier post on this blog, here.)
Obviously there is nothing but everything else in the very wide world of the history of sharp turns--these two just happened to come together fo rme, and looked very similar in their own ways.
In the long term, there are no unusual jobs-- it is only the labeling of the action that makes it "unusual", especially when it comes to something like a paid occupation, and that the "payment" part is supporting someone's life. (Some jobs are harder than others, and then there are jobs harder than almost all others, and then there are the jobs that may be the hardest--and that is a completely different story from being "odd". See this old post "The Worst Job of the 19th Century? Tongue-Pullers, Nipple-Pinchers & Anal Tobacco Blowers Try to Revive the Dead", here.)
I remember thinking this precise thought about oddness when walking through the airport in Helsinki somewhere in the past and seeing an old woman on her hands and knees scrubbing away at the tile of the large concourse with a small brush. It was "odd" for a moment, and then not so. She was diligently working at her job, and her job just happened to be on her hands and knees. (And in my opinion that is really the only way to clean a floor--the walking around with a mop or fancy hardwood cleaning machine just won't do.)
Which brings me to this article on Minneapolis' George White, who was a professional bubble gum scaper. "White chases the trodden sticky pellets ["quids'] from morning to night" says the writer of Illustrated World's "Little Oddities of Life" columnist in their August 1916 issue.
Mr. White took his job seriously, devising his own solutions to loosen the gum, and his own brush.
And of course he wore a cap.
Just because someone is a scraper doesn't make them a scrapper--not that there's anything wrong with that, either.
[My thanks to Rebecca Onion at Slate Vault for finding and surfacing this incredible document]
"One of the most remarkable productions of Fort Delaware was the
Prison Times, a newspaper published in April, 1865, by Capt. Geo. S.
Thomas, 64th Georgia Regiment, and Lieut. A. Harris, 32d Florida. It was
written in a small but very clear handwriting by Capt. J. W. Hibbs, of the
13th Virginia Cavalry [sic], who proved himself a most expert
penman." --from Edward R. Rich, Comrades! page 120, a small but dense 167-page book printed in Easton, Maryland, and published by S.E. Whitman, in1898, containing his recollections of his experiences in the Union prison.
The Prison Times was a hand-written, four-page newspaper produced by Confederate prisoners in April 1865 in the Union prison at Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River. It was a short lived effort, the war ending just weeks after the paper appeared1. As a matter of fact the editors hoped that the newspaper effort would not have to last very much longer, longing for the end of the war and to return home:
"Trusting that the difficulties of conducting an enterprise of
this kind under the circumstances are duly appreciated by an intelligent
public, we send forth this our first number hoping that ere we can have
time to issue many numbers our prison times will be discontinued forever
and our patrons and ourselves be far away in our
loved Sunny South."
It is a remarkable document, enlisting the hope for normalcy of the 33,000 (or so) prisoners2. The newspaper made a statement of intent (and to avoid political
discussion), and displayed useful information like barracks directors
and a short piece on "our prison world". There were also interesting
short advertisements which were apparently real: folks placed their
services into play in the newspaper for engraving, jewelry (rings,
chains, gutta percha), tailoring, washing & ironing, barbers,
dental, music instructions, and shoe-making. There were also a few
short notices for debating and chess clubs, as well as a few pieces of
poetry. Overall, there was a lot of information packed into four 12x8" pages, an effort that showed that in this town-sized prison that there were definitely some forms of society and commerce taking place.
I don't often have a chance to purchase manuscripts by significant scientists in their edited state, back from the journal to which they were being submitted. This is the case with the material below, a paper written by Dr. Hans J. Reissner in 1944. It is a remarkable thing to look at, a precise and elegant archaeology of thinking, a sort of synesthesic display of thinking on different levels. It is a beautiful thing:
[Hans J. Reissner (1874-1967) was a leading German pioneer in aeronautics and aeronautical engineering and mathematical physics. He was appointed to the chair vacated by Arnold Sommerfeld at the Technische Hochschul at Aachen, where he established the aerodynamics laboratory and designed the great experimental wind tunnel at Aachen where he was the second director (after T. von Karman). He went on to the University of Berlin where he remained until 1938, when he left Germany for the United States. Reissner held a chair at the Illinois Institute of Technology and in 1944 joined the faculty at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. Van Karman spoke very highly of Reissner and attributed his work in aerodynamics to be as important as those advances made by Prandtl (see von Karman’s Wind and Beyond). Reissner was also celebrated with two anniversary volumes of Applied MAthematiics for his 60th and 75th birthdays (in 1934 and 1949).]
Images of rivers and oceans in 16th century maps can be beautifully-rendered objects. Water can appear as lines thick and languid, curling and wavy, sparse, tentative, adventurous, willing, dashed, timid. Cold. Mostly cold, and full of loneliness and foreboding. And sometimes the sea is just a blank--it is more common to see blank skies in engravings and woodcuts before, say, the 1540's, but the blankness is usually covered by rhumb lines and compass roses and lines of longitude and latitude, compared to the blankness of blank skies, where there is usually nothing to spare us from the blank.
Today I'd like to have a look at the strong and long lines delineating activity in water as the first part of a short series of posts looking at the design of the representation of water by lines. Then, when the lines are done, we'll take a look at dots.
This example occurs in Masuccio Salernitano's (Tommaso Guadati, fl. c. 1476) Novellino, published in Venice by Bartholomeo Zanni in 1510, a tall book of a Decameron-ish flavor, with 50 stories told in five sections, mostly of a waning erotic nature. The lines here are long and very languid. I also like the face in the window.
This complex of lines illustrates the map of Africa found in Montalboddo Fracan's Itinerarium Portugallensium, which was about the earliest published collection of Spanish and Portugese travel and exploration relating to the New World. The work was exceptional and very significant--and very popular, going through fifteen editions in 22 years to 1528.
Titus Livius (59 BCE-17 ACE), better known to the English-speaking world as Livy, was a superior among superiors of Roman historians, writing on the history of his city and country. His work, Romische Historie…,published in Mainz by Johann Schoeffler 1450 years later in 1514, was one of the most beautifully illustrated books ever produced in that city. This is a considerable statement, as Mainz was the birthplace/hotbed of moveable type printing, being home to Johann Gutenberg and a number of other early presses.
One of the most famous printed water scenes is from the (numerous) editions of Christopher Columbus' letter describing his voyage to the New World. It was written (or at least finished) soon after his arrival in Lisbon 4 May 1493, almost exactly 520 years ago, and quickly found its way into print. This image (depicting Hispaniola and Isabella) was printed in Basel in 1494, and served to illustrate the somewhat hopeful and inflated description of what he found on his new voyage.
This image from the mid-16th century is found in the fantastic work on the history of Scandanavia (and etc.) in Olaus Magnus' Histotria di gentibus septentrionale ("History of the Northern Peoples", 1555).
The seas in the map of the Western Hemisphere in Joannes de Stobnicza's Introductio in Ptholemei Cosmographium (Cracow, 1512, and widely believed to be copied or at least very heavily inspired by the Martin Waldseemueller's 1507 map of the world) are very tightly drawn, neatly unifrom, and lovely, as wesee below). This recitation could go on for quite some time, but this gets the point across on heavy lines. Next stop: dots.
"These leaves were cut out by my predecesor and put/ in by me. D.H. Clark, January 20, 1808", detail, inscribed on page 29 of Simson's Elements, 1808.
There was a leaf missing in Mr. Clark's book--the leaf for page 27/28--some of which he salvaged and placed back into the book on tabs, which you can see at the side of the book. He also did not want to have any future owner of this book to think ill of him for having disfigured it.
The text is by Dr. Robert Simson, and called Elements of the Conic Sections, and was printed in New York in 1804. It was owned at some earlier point by Joseph Cheetham ("Princeton"), and then by L(ewis) D. Bevier ("bought of Cheetham") and then probably by Clark. They were all at Princeton College, and all associated with the bachelor of arts class of 1806 (though Cheetham seems to have graduated some years later).
I am the owner of the book today, some 200 years later, and I hear Mr. Clark. Somehow the page got loose Mr. Clark put it back. The end.
There is also a bit of found poetry in that bit of text:
I hear Jeremy Brett--as the ultimate Sherlock Holmes--reading this in my head.
The energy of Dr. Johnson must have been heroic--had to have been. In addition to all of his other work, he sat down and wrote a dictionary--the first of its kind for the English language: A Dictionary of the English Language, which was printed in 1755.
I've collected what he had to say about the letters of the alphabet, which is in itself a small and remarkable thing of sweep and brevity. He sites the "labial" P, the "canine "R", the unhappy hissing of S, the "note of aspiration" in H, and so on, in a forceful march to recording the language. His book is a work of high beauty.
All of the material below comes from the JohnsonDictionaryOnline site, here.
~ A ~
A, The first letter of the European alphabets, has, in the English language, three different sounds, which may be termed the broad, open, and slender.
The broad sound resembling that of the German a is found, in many of our monosyllables, as all, wall, malt, falt; in which a is pronounced as au in cause, or aw in law. Many of these words were anciently written with au, as sault, waulk; which happens to be still retained in fault. This was probably the ancient sound of the Saxons, since it is almost uniformly preserved in the rustic pronunciation, and the Northern dialects, as maun for man, haund for hand.
[Image: the anatomical furnace for the distillation and diagnosis of urine. From: Walter Pagel, Paracelsus: An Introduction to Philosophical Medicine in the Era of the Renaissance, second edition, Basel/New York 1982, page 193/194. the image also found on line here.]
While the ancient aspects of the inspection of urine as medical discovery seem distant, it is not so, the practice continuing for thousands of years, deep into the 17th century. There are some surprises, though, here and there, in the recent history of uroscopy, particularly involving Paracelsus (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, 1493-1541), and specifically with his Anatomy, that is, the Dissection of the Living Body or of Distillation of the Urine, printed in 1577. This is one of the many of the works of Paracelsus printed posthumously--in his relatively short but very full life of 84 years, he published four books, but then in the 40 years or so following his death there were at least 14 more works that were published. (A general overview of the works by and about Paracelsus--who worked in the areas of medico-occult and philosophy, alchemy, astronomy/astrology, theology, magic and more--can be found by piecing your way through the always-useful OCLC/WorldCat, here).
In the practice of general uroscopy urine was seen as a window into the health of the body--rather the lack of health. For centuries urine was simply observed, its color plotted against color wheels. Paracelsus worked in a different vein, and although this approach seemed as antiquated as possible after hundreds of years of practice, he adopted a proto-scientific approach to his urine inspection. The idea of urine and his "anatomical furnace", wherein the urine was distilled in a cylinder the size of the subject for interpretation, was a wide but interesting sidestep in the history of uroscopy, filled with some slight hope and more-than-slight abundance of need in belief. The point though is that Paracelsus went about this scientifically--no longer just an observational inspection: the urine was distilled, and coagulated bits (the "morbid species") was separated from the urine, and the precipitated items were studied, a "chemical dissection" (according to Walter Pagels in his standard biography of Paracelsus 1982). The cylinder was graduated in proportion to the subject; there was careful collection and handling of the specimen, and attempts were made to see beyond the standard practice of centuries past. So there was some hint of scientific method in this work--something that Pagels notes but still labels the work "disappointing, albeit a subtle new brand of uroscopy".
With the endless images of the Land of Oz in our minds from the book and movie it is easy for the other lands generated by their creator L. Frank Baum to escape our attention Oz isn't the only place that Dorothy traveled to--far from it. She went very far and wide in the mind of Baum, who was extraordinarily prolific both inside and outside of the Oz series.
From 1900-1919, Baum (1856-1919) wrote 17 Oz books, as well as another 18 books in the non-Oz realm, plus 17 books in a juvenile series for girls under the pseudonym of Edith Van Dyne, plus six more books under the name of Floyd Akers, plus another seven other books under five other names, plus a pretty wide assortment (200+) of short stories, plus plays. Plus all of the stuff he wrote before 1900. That's a LOT of writing in 19 years.
It was a very interesting idea, especially given the time 260 years ago. I wonder if this was influenced at all by the construction of mathematical machines? Blaise Pascal (1623-1662--I don't have any idea how he did what he did and live to be only 39) constructed his machine that was capable of doing addition and subtraction problems more than 110 years before this machine, and perhaps there was this hopefulness in the mechanically-reasoned approach to saving lost memories of composition. Perhaps there was the belief that since calculations seemingly so impossible as the Earth's (periodic 304-day that turned out to be 428-day) wobble (by Leonhard Euler, or the illustrated collection of human knowledge in the vast and controversial Diderot/d'Alembert encyclopedia, or the capturing of nature iin the systematic binomial nomenclature of the Swedish Carl Linnaeus--all taking place in this year or so brought something to bear on this seemingly inescapable problem of recording quick and complicated thought?
Changing the Mind's View of Simple and Complex Ideas via Different Image Perspectives
I’m always very interested in curious things, or standard, “average” things pictured in non-standard ways, as the
change in perspective can lead to entirely new observations and discovery. Seeing this illustration in an article by J. Norman Lockyer (Nature 1881) I was shocked by its clarity and usefulness—Lockyer was simply showing the arrangement of his apparatus for his solar spectrum experiments but the angle of observation (being at such an oblique angle as is normally found) was just, so, well, “correct”. The image I thought was perfect for the reader—not only that, it was designed artistically and with grace, and one can see exactly what Lockyer was up to. Diagrams would’ve worked almost as well, but there is just something so extraordinary here that you could just about work from the image if there was no description.
Looking at things differently is hard work—that’s why I think it is always good to refresh the neuronal sap and look at great examples of unusual , insightful imagery.
Sometimes it works to read the description of what the image is before actually viewing it to see the differences of the image that you form in your brain before seeing the thing itself. For example, when reading about the Dogon, a cliff-dwelling people of the plateau of Bandiagara, south of Tombouctou, and how they would make houses and then towns out of the rocks fallen from cliffs, you get what is probably a pretty benign image. When you see photographs of these structures it seems as though the brain just simply isn’t ready for their impossible nature, though you quickly, instantly, recover (once you convince yourself the photo is real) and—voila—your mind has been expanded. (This photo is from an expansive work by Bernard Rudofsky, Architectures without Architects, Doubleday, 1964.)
The (internally) spectacular Etienne Boullee can greet us in the same way with some of his eye-popping architectural
creations (unbuilt architecture by an architect, in this case, compared to the built architecture of the non-architects above). Boullee’s “Plan du Cenotaphe de Newton”, a gigantic memorial to Newton that was dancing with necessary privacy in Boullee’s brain during the French Revolution (and also during a particularly un-Newtonesque time in on-your-knees-to-Cartesian-principles France) is another superior example. Reading the description of the structure just doesn’t quite do, and it seems whatever grand comes of that is tarnished and stripped away by the obesely florid sentiment of none other than Ledoux’s poetic sentiments “…O Newton! Sublime Mind! Vast and profound genius! I conceived the idea of surrounding thee with
thy discovery…”. Oy. Boulle adds to this inspirational atrocity by saying of the sphere: “…we must speak of a grace that owes its being to an outline that is as soft and flowing as it is possible to imagine…” And once the demand of “oh dear god just please show me the picture” is met, we are left with a turned-around brain and another heavenly exaltation, or profanity. The Cenotaph is just Grand-Canyon-Spectacular.
Complex can turn on the simple in this way, where we can have those “a-ha” moments from, say, early efforts at picturing the fourth dimension or non-Euclidean geometry to a new perspective of looking at Roman ruins. The arrival on the non-Euclidean geometries in the 19th century posed new issues, not the least of which was representing the ideas. Our saintly Hermann von Helmholtz believed –contrary to most elevated opinions—that the human mind could indeed intuit complex space and figures of these geometries. (The difficulty not only from the obvious intellectual hardships in picturing the concepts but also because the geometry of Lobachevsky http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Lobachevsky.html was called somewhat into doubt when some of its results were cast in doubt by contemporary astronomical observations.—and this even though so far as the great Gauss was concerned there was no deviation in Euclidean values.) Helmholtz did this by employing the three-dimensional pseudosphere model of Beltrami. (Reluctance to these ideas would end soon enough, for, as Linda Dalrymple Henderson points out with such sotto voce, “the convenience of Euclidean geometry would prove inadequate once Einstein” hit in 1905.)
The work of Beltrami and H.P. Manning (Geometry of Four Dimensions, 1914), and Jouffret (Traite elementaire de geometrie a quarte dimensions, Paris 1903) in illustrating these complex ideas (the titles of which were in themselves daungting as with Jouffret’s “plane projections of the sixteen fundamental octahedrons of an ikosatettrhroid”) would in themselves prove to be entirely irresistible to the world of the arts. Charles Howard and Maurice Princet I think had as much to do with the creation of cubism and abstract art and the imaging of time than anyone, including the painter (I shudder to say his name) of Les Demoiselles (1907) or the lovely Georges Braque (Houses at Estaque, 1908) or Jean Metzinger or even the sublime comedian Duchamp’s Nude Descending(1914). The hypercube starts to show up a lot in some Bauhaus genres and even into the palette of Frank Lloyd (“Stinky”) Wright (with his St. Mark’s Tower plan, NYC, 1929). I can only imagine the shock to the brains of these creative geniuses in seeing the display of such a novel idea. (For the ultimate treatise on this see Linda Dalrymple Henderson’s The Fourth Dimension and Non Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art, Princeton 1983). And no the art didn’t come first.
But coming back to the simple, and in the same frame as the first example that we mentioned in Lockyer, we have the unlikely find of Giovanni Piranesi. In my opinion his most spectacular work is found in his frammeni (the diverse bits and pieces of architectural and sculptural bric-a-brac found objects that are collected together on one stage) and in his archaeological detail. His attention to new perspective in showing the crucial aspects of structure and building in Rome is tremendous and
unexpected—as an example we see here the child’s-eye-height view of three steps of the reconstruction of the theatre of Pompey. I must say that I’ve seen a lot of architectural images in my time but nothing quite comes to me so surprisingly as this step-level view of the reconstruction of a Roman theatre, This happens throughout the lesser-known Piranesi, with great details of tools, and cross sections of the very deep
footings of bridges, and so on. It is really refreshing, lovely, unexpected work.
We’ll return to this subject from time to time as I have hundreds of interesting examples to draw from—for example, the remarkable Emily Vanderpoel’s Colour Problems (which has surfaced in this blog from time to time) which is ostensibly an undecipherable attempt to quantify color arrangement in art but through the lovely examples displaying this attempt pre-date the modern re-invention of non-representational art by at least a dozen years. Stay tuned!
Putting objects of different classifications into the same scale for the sake of comparison is a relatively recent idea in the history of printing. It really wasn't until Etienne Durand's architectural textbooks of the 1850's that buildings by different architects were displayed on the same scale on the same page. Likewise, too, the cartographic depiction of mountain heights and islands and lakes and rivers side-by-side and on the same scale didn't take place in earnest until mid-19th century.
My favorites relating to geographical items are those that take, say, all of the major islands in the world and remove them to a single sheet of paper, all in scale, so that it would be easier to compare their sizes without the distraction of the rest of the map.
Here's another, just recently found in the warehouse:
This map, "Relative Sizes of the United States and the European Powers" was published by the People's Handy Atlas of the World in ca. 1920, appearing in print just a couple of years after the map of Europe was changed by WWI. (As a matter of fact this map very liberally used and without credit an earlier version published by the Geo. F. Cram company in their war atlas of 1914; it again appeared in the European War Book (by Canfield, published in 1917), calling on the information in this version and adding color. The People's History also published a 1913 version of this map though I cannot find an example of it.) Here's the map in full:
It really does put things into perspective, giving the reader a good, strong look at just how small some of these countries were in comparison with the United States. Many of the combatants of WWI are here--and its quite sobbering to think of the enormous casualties incurred in some countries and the very small area that those millions of dead and wounded would have taken if placed in a similar locale in the U.S. An excellent example of this is Belgium, fitting very nicely into less than a tenth of the state California, where so much killing and suffering occurred. Thinking of France as battlefield that was limited to about 60% of the size of the combined four states of New Mexico, Arizon, Utah and Colorado, and then thinking of most of the largest battles of WWI taking place in an area about a quarter of that is, well, incredible. Using this as a guide, less han half the state of Colorado would've been the seat of the battles of Verdun (976,000 casualties), Marne (750,000), Somme (1.2 million), Cambrai (700,000) Arras (278,000), the Spring Offensive (1.5 million) and the Hundred Days Offensive (1.8 million),plus all of the rest of the action, and you get a little bit of a better idea of the bloodiness of that acreage.
Placing things in comparison in the same scale, side-by-side, is an excellent means of insight.
There are in the history of belief and art instantaneous evolutions of various sorts--most famously of course in creation myths, and these most easily followed today in their images relating Old Testament belief, such as in the creation of the world, or more specifically in the example1 (left) the creation of light. But here we see the post-creation part, the vision of creation, the achievement. It seems as though we don't really get to see the instantaneous creation half-way-through, or rarely so, the instant-evolution not quite complete.
I guess that we are recommended to believe the stuff in the middle, to assume it complete, to accept the Angel of Presumption to fill in the necessary blanks. (And here I'm not talking about the "Angel of Presumtpion" of Caedmon who refers to Satan in this way--I'm just taling about the Angel that bridges the missing bits in neural napping parts of real and suspect stories and events, the aid to continuity in imagination).
There are exceptions of course, though it seems like there are not many--one good example is the creation of Eve. In many Renaissance examples illustrating the Old Testament story we see Eve as she is emerging from the side of Adam, a snapshot of the process of the creation of woman that is also in some special way also a product of evolutionary development, only instantly. This would seem to remove this from consideration of being an "evolutionary" development, though there are more modern examples of a "faster" evolution, quicker and more reactive adaptation (as in the case of Galapagos finches study by Peter and Rosemary Grant2 (Princeton), or the mercurial DNA changes to white flies in response to the introduction of certain bacteria.
[Source:woodcut from Biblia cum postillis, Nicolai de Lyra, printed in Venice in 1489.]
But the creators of creations myths from which the stories of Adam and Eve have descended are long and very old, and the process of change in these cases didn't concern them--it was the outcome that was important.
We do see this process displayed elsewhere to be sure, but it is a very uncommon peep into the creation of certain states of affairs. Here's a another good example again coming from the Adam and Eve saga, this one showing the creation of man from clay--"Erschatflung des Menschen aus Lehm", from the great Liber cronicorum, and printed by Anthonis Koberger in Nurnberg in 1493:
The images showing partial development of a theme do seem to rest more heavily on the shoulders of Eve than anything else I can think of, presently. There are many images that show events simultaneously, where on a single panel or canvas we will see a painting depicting multiple periods of time in a person's life, or a depiction of the Fall of Man showing temptation/apple-eating/Archangel banishment--but this is not a depiction of the instantaneous event in the process of creation.
Lewis Carroll created a lovely, simple cipher in the midst of his Alice and Snark and Logic and Sylvie publications. It really is just a simple bit of polyalphabetic substitution, bu tit gets the job done. (Many others have walked this royal road: Leon Battista Alberti, A Treatise on Ciphers, [De componendis cyfris]; Giovan Battista Belaso, La cifra del Sig. Giovan Battista Bel[l]aso, gentil’huomo bresciano, nuovamente da lui medesimo ridotta à grandissima brevità et perfettione, Venetia 1553 (and also his Novi et singolari modi di cifrare de l’eccellente dottore di legge Messer Giouan Battista Bellaso nobile bresciano, Lodovico Britannico, Brescia 1555); Giombatista Della Porta, De furtivis literarum notis vulgo de ziferis, G. M. Scoto, Neapoli 1563; Galileo Galilei, Intorno a due nuove scienze, Opere, . Vol. VIII, Firenze; Blaise de Vgenere, Traicté des chiffres ou secrètes manières d’escrire, Abel l’Angelier, Paris, 1586; and so on...its a very wide literature, even pre-18th century). Louis Carroll. Louis "Cipher" Carroll. Comes sort of goofily close to "Louis Cipher". Lucifer. Not the case, of course unless you were trying to figure out one of his tricky puzzles.
Perhaps it is the cipher's presentation and design and simplicity, its elegance, that I like so much. It reminds me in some ways of the Henry Holiday masterpiece of nothignness created for Carroll's Hunting of the Snark--and that of course would be the Bellman's map, a map of nothing, a map showing nothing at all to the sailors who must follow it and who were all happy that the map had nothing to obstruct their vision of possibility and blank expectation. (I wrote about that in The Most Beautiful Map in the World, here). It is interesting to note that none of the illustrators who followed Holiday chose to illustrate the nothing map with such nothingness as in Carroll--there would be hands on it, or the map would be oblique, or not the central image of the illustration. Holiday's map was just that--straightforward, simple, strong).
I've decided to make this a part of the History of Blank, Empty and Missing Things series simply because everything is missing unless you have the missing key--here you have all the parts of the puzzle, and then some, everything that you need to solve it, save for the integral part of ordering.
From Carrolls's text:
Each column of this table forms a dictionary of symbols representing the alphabet: thus, in the A column, the symbol is the same as the letter represented; in the B column, A is represented by B, B by C, and so on.
To use the table, some word or sentence should be agreed on by two correspondents. This may be called the 'key-word', or 'key-sentence', and should be carried in the memory only.
In sending a message, write the key-word over it, letter for letter, repeating it as often as may be necessary: the letters of the key-word will indicate which column is to be used in translating each letter of the message, the symbols for which should be written underneath: then copy out the symbols only, and destroy the first paper. It will now be impossible for any one, ignorant of the key-word, to decipher the message, even with the help of the table.
For example, let the key-word be vigilance, and the message 'meet me on Tuesday evening at seven', the first paper will read as follows—
v i g i l a n c e v i g i l a n c e v i g i l a n c e v i
m e e t m e o n t u e s d a y e v e n i n g a t s e v e n
h m k b x e b p x p m y l l y r x i i q t o l t f g z z v
The second will contain only 'h m k b x e b p x p m y l l y r x i i q t o l t f g z z v'.
The receiver of the message can, by the same process, retranslate it into English.
If this table is lost, it can easily be written out from memory, by observing that the first symbol in each column is the same as the letter naming the column, and that they are continued downwards in alphabetical order. It would only be necessary to write out the particular columns required by the key-word, but such a paper would afford an adversary the means for discovering the key-word.