Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Russian Avant-Garde Book 1910-1934

Margit Rowell and Deborah Wye - The Russian Avant-Garde Book 1910-1934 (2002)

Exhibit page

Something of a companion to the last post, this one from an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (the download link is on the exhibit page below the book cover).

The works range from futurists to constructivists to socialist propaganda with a variety of novels, political statements and children's books.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Photomontage Between the Wars (1918-1939)

Photomontage Between the Wars (1918-1939) (2012)

Page link

Another book that's not public domain but which can be legally downloaded.

This is a fantastic catalog to a 2012 exhibition at Madrid's FundaciĆ³n Juan March.  There are reproductions of dozens of works ranging from political flyers to advertisements to Upton Sinclair book jackets.  The catalog has the usual introductory essays (you can download it in Spanish and English editions); writings contemporary with the work from Tschichold, Aragon, Hoch and others; and the catalog of a 1931 exhibition on the same topic.

All of the foundation's catalogs can be downloaded.  Others that seem promising are on Arcimboldo, Schwitters, surrealism in the graphic arts, Malevich.  The older ones appear to be Spanish-only.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A History of England

M. A. Rundall - A History of England, in Which the Most Remarkable Events are Illustrated by Numerous Symbolical Engravings (1829) direct link
Open Library main page

The start of the title promises yet another school-aimed history but the remainder sounds a bit intriguing.  In fact what the author has done is give each period or ruler a page of symbols (supposedly easier to remember) and then several pages of explanation.  (The original edition was published in 1822 as Symbolic Illustrations of the History of England.)

It's an odd approach and often too oblique, at times even comic with toothpick-shaped figures and clip-art icons.  That image of a Druidical wicker man seems more like a jaunty Halloween icon.  (And also an unintended notice about the date of the book - more recent research shows there was almost certainly no real life wicker man sacrifices.)  Or one from Henry VIII showing persecutions, but then most of the ones for him seem a bit strained.  Symbol pages for the Wars of the Roses are repeated battles and I think it would be harder to remember what the symbols represent than the actual names of the battles.

I can find almost no information about Mary Ann Rundall.  She was from Bath and also wrote an Easy Grammar of Sacred History (1813).

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Burgess Nonsense Book

Gelett Burgess - The Burgess Nonsense Book (1901) direct link
Open Library main page

Another from author/editor/humorist/poet Gelett Burgess, this time collecting much of his nonsense work (including "Purple Cow").  I don't think it's meant for children, at least not entirely, but in any case has aged well enough.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Fourth Dimension and the Bible

William Anthony Granville - The Fourth Dimension and the Bible (1922) direct link
Open Library main page

Not my discovery - the Odd Books site posted about it recently.  But when I started this blog I'd hoped to have many more kook books than in fact I've found, though this might only partially fit that description.  Granville (1863-1943) was a well-known mathematician with some substantial publications to his credit.  (And as the title page notes, also responsible for a "transparent combined ruler and protractor" - something all academic CVs should mention!)  Just skimming this book--because honestly it doesn't look quite that interesting--Granville seems to be trying to put Christianity on a firm basis using pure mathematics.  Probably not very successfully since this book isn't referenced much afterwards.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Raymond Scott: Artifacts from the Archives

Raymond Scott: Artifacts from the Archives (2017)


Another book under copyright but can be legally downloaded.  It's a compilation of material related to Scott's electronic music.  (You know Scott's work even if the name is unfamiliar though mainly from his jazz-pop pieces rather than electronics.)

Friday, June 16, 2017


James Joyce - Ulysses (1922) direct link
Open Library main page

Today is Bloomsday so what else could I post?  This is the Egoist Press edition which appeared in October 1922 after Shakespeare & Co's edition that February.  It was printed from the same plates and includes several pages of errata that constitute almost a found poem.