Today's edition introduces you to some fabulous resources, from the Ministry of Stories to the animated Bayeux Tapestry, plus an extraordinary art project that has occupied its maker's time for more than forty years.
✭ Google has published an illustrated, interactive (hyperlinked) e-book, 20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web, which demonstrates just what's possible for virtual readers. (I found this worked best with Safari.)
✭ A new and marvelous Ministry of Stories, set up in Hoxton High Street in East London and based on writer-publisher-education activist Dave Eggers' 826 Valencia in San Francisco, aims to "inspire a nation of storytellers" in the United Kingdom, and anyone with any narrative intention who visits will be provided with whatever's needed, including writing materials, to tell his or her story. Spend some time on the wonderfully designed site to "get the gist, get inspired, and get involved." You'll find "dispatches" from the ministry, lists of "essential" and "supplementary" requirements to volunteer, schedules of free workshops and mentoring for young people, news, inspired stories, and Hoxton Street Monster Supplies. And don't forget the ministry's blog.
Dave Eggers' Once Upon a School
Dave Eggers' Profile on TED
✭ A fabulous collection of out-of-print art books is available to view via The-Dor on issuu. Included are Sol Lewitt Photo Grids and Four Basic Kinds of Straight Lines, John Baldessari Four Events and Reactions and Brutus Killed Cesar, and Bruce Naumann LA AIR.
✭ Writers, students, and anyone else who loves words will want to know about and use OneLook, a dictionary search tool. In addition to providing definitions for more than 19 million words in more than 1,000 indexed (and browsable) dictionaries, OneLook will locate translations, let you customize a search, and increase your vocabulary with a daily word. If you don't know how to spell the word you're looking for, you may make use of wildcards. The reverse dictionary is especially noteworthy, for it allows you to describe a concept for which a list of related words and phrases will be returned from a behind-the-scenes electronic search of online dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference sites. A list of FAQs is here. Bookmark this site and recycle your printed tome.
✭ The Bayeux Tapestry of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 is justly famous, marking a turning point in British history. Few of us may be able to get to France to see it. No matter; this wonderful video presents it in animated form. (The video begins at approximately the appearance in the tapestry of Halley's Comet and ends at the 1066 Battle of Hastings.) Another, non-animated version with French and English commentary is here. A live reenactment of the Battle of Hastings may be viewed here. A game version is here.
✭ Teachers and students both will find Facing History a useful tool with which to examine issues of racism, prejudice, and anti-semitism; understand the historical development of the Holocaust and various other examples of genocide; and promote discussion and awareness of moral choices. Be sure to check out the educator resources and professional development sections of the site.
✭ Artist and writer Tom Phillips, whose work is in a number of fine public collections, including those of our Library of Congress, is the creator of A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel. Inspired by a William Burroughs interview in a 1965 issue of Paris Review, in which Burroughs described his "cut up" writing experiments that produced adaptations or variants of other published work, the project has occupied Phillips' attention for some four-plus decades.
As Phillips describes here, A Humument is an "artistically treated" book "exhumed" from W.H. Mallock's 1892 novel A Human Document. Pages of extant text are scored with pen and ink, painted, typed on, drawn on, or collaged, with Mallock's original printed text isolated and left visible in inventive, often poetic new ways, yielding "ghosts of other possible stories, scenes, poems" and the like.
Phillips began publishing A Humument in 1970 through Tetrad Press; it consisted of a box of 10 silkscreened pages and was the first of 10 total volumes, the others printed by lithography, silkscreen, and letterpress in varying quantities. Phillips completed the original manuscript in 1973. (The introduction to the fascinating project is here.) He issued A Humument in book form for the first time in 1980 and has since published three other editions.
Recently, A Humument has been digitized — see images from the online gallery here — and an app for iPad has been created. The iPad app combines 367 full-color pages from the book with an interactive "find wheel", which "spins" through the book to navigate pages visually, and an "oracle" function that, using a chosen date and a randomly generated number, "casts" two pages to be read in tandem.
Additional information about A Humument is available in four online essays.
Tom Phillips Online Gallery (Original Editioned Works)