/The Winchester Bible, Writing Advice, and a Short History of the Fotonovela
The Winchester Bible, Writing Advice, and a Short History of the Fotonovela

The Winchester Bible, Writing Advice, and a Short History of the Fotonovela

A page from the Winchester Bible, via Wikimedia Commons
The Winchester Bible will go on display next week. If you happen to be in England, you should visit the exhibit: “Using a goose feather quill, a solitary scribe spent four years writing the words in Latin on the skins of 250 calves, before six artists began sumptuous illuminations using gold leaf and lapis lazuli from Afghanistan. Although it was never quite finished, the Winchester Bible finally weighed in at the medieval equivalent of 32kg. Now the largest and most beautiful of 12th-century Bibles is to go on display following a five-year conservation project as part of a landmark exhibition at Winchester cathedral, opening next week.”
Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus now available online: “Data visualizing company The Visual Agency has recently released a complete digitization of Leonardo da Vinci’s 12-volume, 1,119-page Codex Atlanticus. For the first time, the interactive application allows you to browse through every page, filled with finely-detailed sketches and scribbled notes. Exploring the extraordinary collection is like entering into the mind of the legendary Renaissance artist, engineer, and inventor.”
Ross Douthat reviews Werner Herzog’s Meeting Gorbachev: “I am surprised to be writing this review, because I am surprised that the movie I’m reviewing, Meeting Gorbachev, even exists. Not because of its subject, Mikhail Gorbachev’s remarkable career and peculiar ghostly afterlife, which is certainly a worthy subject for a documentarian. But because that subject seems such an unlikely one for this particular director — who is Werner Herzog, existentialist documentarian, Teutonic pessimist, the most instantly recognizable narrative voice in nonfiction film. (André Singer is his co-director.) . . . Yet here he is, sitting across from the 88-year-old Gorbachev and asking him respectful questions about glasnost, looping in Lech Walesa and George Shultz to comment on the Cold War’s final years, weaving together footage both familiar and unexpected from one of the 20th century’s most important, most unusual, most simultaneously admirable and pitiable political arcs.”
Before the iPhone, there was Magic Link.
A short history of the fotonovela: “Fotonovelafumettiroman-photo—the terms betray the fact that the form never got much traction in the Anglo-Saxon realm. There is no word for it in English, exactly. You could say ‘photo-comics,’ but you’d risk being misunderstood. These narratives, often but not always romantic, are conveyed by means of photographs arrayed in panels on a page, with running text often in talk balloons. Their impact has been almost entirely restricted to countries that speak Spanish, Italian, or French; their readership is overwhelmingly female, at least in Europe. Their history formally begins in 1947 in Italy, in the magazine Grand Hotel, soon followed by its French sibling, Nous Deux; both magazines still exist. Fotonovelas flourished in the fifties and early sixties (into the eighties in Latin America), then began a slow decline that still refuses to yield to extinction.”
Heather Mac Donald blasts the College Board’s decision to introduce a new “adversity score” for the SAT: “For decades, the College Board defended the SAT, which it writes and administers, against charges that the test gives an unfair advantage to middle-class white students. No longer. Under relentless pressure from the racial-preferences lobby, the Board has now caved to the anti-meritocratic ideology of ‘diversity.’ The Board will calculate for each SAT-taker an ‘adversity score’ that purports to measure a student’s socioeconomic position, according to the Wall Street Journal. Colleges can use this adversity index to boost the admissions ranking of allegedly disadvantaged students who otherwise would score too poorly to be considered for admission.”
Guy Gavriel Kay offers some advice to aspiring writers: Don’t follow writing advice. “I don’t think there are templates for the creative process, beyond the very basic, obvious one: if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. Putting in the hours. Trudging up the hill, metaphorically, when the cool people are still dancing.”
Essay of the Day:
Leif Reigstad tells the wild story of Joe Exotic in Texas Monthly:
“He called himself the Tiger King and plastered his face on highway billboards in Texas and Oklahoma. He bred big cats, bears, baboons, and more. He lived, with a parade of partners, on the grounds of his private zoo. He threatened a rival with murder—repeatedly, on YouTube—and tried to hire a hit man to do the deed.”
Read the rest.
Photo: Lake Pernica
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