Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What Should I Post Next?

Im getting record low visits, the lack of interest in fine book editions is shocking. I was going to post pictures of my Lynn Ward illustrated Frankenstein and my Eric Fraser illustrated Folio Society The Hobbit. On the other hand I have some detailed maps of the inside of Brazztforqnas I could show or I could present a mini-adventure about The Nasty Brothers Zorsche with portrait sketches by me or I could do a ten minute podcast, though I was saving my musical brogue to lure lost young girl gamers. The easiest thing for me to do is take photos of cute books; I feel that gaming material I present here is wasted on idiot readers. Anyway I'll open up the comments to include anonymous cowards for suggestions. For instance, I have moved in general away from words towards presenting images, is this a mistake?


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

When first published in 1859 Edward FitzGerald's redolent verses aroused little interest. His neat quatrains record the melancholy reflections of an inquiring wine bibber as he preoccupies himself with Life's grand puzzle. Slowly, following the notice of a small circle of writers and their promotion of the Rubáiyát, interest in the work grew prompting several new editions. FitzGerald took these opportunities to revise his text, which in fact was a translation or more accurately a recreation or interpretation of a collection of epigrams conceived in the 12th-century by a Persian astronomer known as Omar Khayyám.

The Heritage Press edition from 1946 presented below is a printing of the 1st edition. The binding design and the beautiful miniatures inside are the work of Arthur Szyk.

The image beneath is from the Norton Anthology of English Literature. 
The Fifth edition has 101 quatrains. 


I gather that the first and fifth editions of FitzGerald's collection are the most often printed. In the final image I have attempted to give some sense of the extent of FitzGerald's revision, comparing the first and fifth editions. There are 101 white cells one for each of the fifth edition quatrains. The 75 stanzas of the first edition are dispersed throughout according to the influence of each quatrain on that of the later edition. I have used * to indicate that FitzGerald rephrased one line of a quatrain with something of the same meaning, ** for the rephrasing of two lines and so on. A short dash '-' suggests that the poet altered one word only on one line.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Drunken Posting

So, one reason why I switch off the blog is that I have acquired a habit of posting when I am so drunk that I don't remember making the post. For the life of me I can't comprehend why my spelling in that condition is so meticulous but the content is typically execrable. In saying this I don't want to give the impression that I respect the readers of this blog.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Edmund Spenser's Medusa-Shub Niggurath of 1590

I have been collecting some of George Macy's published canon in two qualities, the fancy pants Limited Editions Club & the joe soap Heritage Press. The majority of those who read these posts are american and you can pick up these George Macy books at criminally low prices, that is far below production cost, benefiting too from low postage costs. Go to it.

While I recommend Edmund Spenser I have yet to read more than one third of The Faerie Queen, and yet I urge you to read stanzas 14-26 of Canto 1 of Book 1 (see last two photos below) taking note of the Lovecraftian nature of Spenser's monster. By the way one of the most valuable reading tricks for all English literature from Chaucer to Shakespeare is to keep in mind that these guys didn't give a tinker's curse for spelling, so read words phonetically when they look unfamiliar.

Note: The images are very large so click on them.

The youthfull Knight could not for ought be staide,
But forthe into the darksome hole he went ...


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Players Map For Witchland - Levels 1-3

If you want larger resolution map images you can request them.

Player level 1-3 Map Witchland
DM Map Witchland


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Be Brave -- Pretend You Read !!

25 Shakespeare
22 Homer
21 Dante
19 Cervantes Montaigne
18 Joyce  Wordsworth  Chaucer  Dostoevsky  Nietzsche  Herodotus Thucydides
17 Yeats Ovid
16 ER Eddison Kafka Beckett
15 Austen Tolstoy
14 WH Hodgson   JR Tolkien   Conrad   Orwell   Nabokov   Hughes
13 W Morris Dickens E Dickinson
12 JK Jerome
11 G Wolfe   J Vance   C Maturin   J Hogg   R Stone   J Jones
10 CA Smith PG Wodehouse
  9 F Leiber Dunsany R Chandler
  8 RE Howard    HP Lovecraft    HG Wells
  7 AC Doyle
  2 J Grisham G Martin
  1 All women writers* Writers of self help or business leadership books
  0 All RPG writers, bloggers and forum bores**

*except Austen & Dickinson
**with no exceptions


There is much to discuss here, for example Harold Lamb is fascinating and hoists RE Howard up by association. Make the argument! Fritz Leiber's extraordinary 'Adept's Gambit' is worthy of a 13-14 rank surely?

There must be fluidity in the rankings. One of my favourite attempts to rank rock music is George Starostin's. Bands are ranked from 1-5 and albums from 1-10 and he makes a sum of these.

My understanding is that OSR gamers are poorly read when compared with the average population, even in the field of fantasy, this I have learned from reading blogs and the OSR forums. Prove me wrong, show some kind of knowledge! I expect you haven't read anyone above rank 14 cover to cover, and probably only Tolkien above rank 9. That should give you pause to be silent, to stop posting your thoughts until you have read more widely, no?


Monday, June 2, 2014

Jaquay's Night of the Walking Wet - My Reformatting

I reformatted Paul Jaquay's 'Night of the Walking Wet' some while ago now for both AD&D-A4 and OD&D-A5 sizes, as the original Judges Guild presentation was almost unreadable. Some of you have it already; I'm making it more widely available.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Glimpse of the Caverns within Brazztforqnas

Players' Map - Dr. Jekyll's Letter
DM Map
Players' Map - section
DM Map - section
click to ENLARGE
The last map should be very large.


You can find Brazztforqnas on the large resolution Witchland Map I presented here.

The broad idea is that the Moria Balrog, fleeing from prehistoric menace in the abyss of Moria having grappled with Gandalf, and becoming lost among the myriad natural tunnels in the dark earth, stumbles upon the Temple of the Prime Five. Exploring within he comes unto Aione proper, and Aione will deliver a Balrog into Brazztforqnas if it so wishes.

The Moria Balrog over several centuries has made these tunnels in a methodical search for the Temple of the Prime Five, which forgot him, for while he has no present urge to return to Middle-earth he is inflamed by the notion he may be forgotten on a strange and unimportant world.

Pazuzu, a higher order of being, is concerned having interposed his craft as a node in the Eon Cluster of lunules above Affryqq, taking the place of fallen Brazztforqnas, I say again he is concerned that the river which flows from the remnant of Brazztforqnas in the sky down to the larger part which crashed to Witchland, appears on investigation to be restoring the matter of the crashed moon up into the sky. This particulate transference with the passage of time would invalidate Pazuzu and his craft as a sort of temporary remedy, and his works imposture.


Remember this old stuff! It's all related:


Friday, May 30, 2014

One Way to Read Hamlet

I have found that the most comfortable approach to reading Shakespeare requires two editions, a handsome well-made edition with clean text, possibly illustrated, and a commentary and note laden edition. The pleasing appearance and feel of the former makes it more likely a play will be read to completion, while the bulging apparatus of the latter ensures that clouds of uncertainty won't gather to form an impenetrable fog.

The illustrated edition shown below is a Calla (Dover) reprint of a 1922 edition published by Selwyn & Blount, which can be picked up cheaply on Amazon. The artwork is by John Austen and as you can see in its manner it resembles the grotesque curlicues of Aubrey Beardsley and Harry Clarke. The paper is cream coloured and of high quality; the printing is good but perhaps would have benefited from being a little sharper and darker. It is one of my favourite books.

For notes to the text I chose the Arden over the rival Oxford and Cambridge editions. Harold Jenkins is the editor and the edition comes from 1982, although what you see in the photos is an Arden Playgoer's edition, hardback 1997. Unusually, there are 150 pages of 'Longer Notes' in addition to the conventional same-page notes, so I have included an example from these as a photo. When it comes to criticism I tend to avoid anything published since the 1980s as I think it likely that academics who persist in faculties which promote such things as 'Women Studies' are mentally ill. Three fantastic little Oxford volumes cover criticism from Shakespeare's time to the late 19th century - D. Nichol Smith (ed.), and the periods 1919-1935 & 1935-1960 - Anne Ridler (ed.).

I have changed my mind about Laurence Olivier's 1948 film version of Hamlet having watched it closely recently on Blu-ray I was fairly captivated. There are no other worthwhile versions in my view. The Naxos audio play with Anton Lesser is the best Ive heard on CD.

[click - the images are large]



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