Conlanging today: an infantile disorder?

My recent study of the history of utopianism and science fiction has spilled over into my musings about conlangers and speculations about alt culture. I think there is something essentially trivial about today's conlangers as there is about TV/cinematic sci fi. And therefore I think there is something grievously missed on the sociological plane by Arika Okrent who has otherwise rendered a great service by documenting this phenomenon. I also think that the otherwise admirable Sam Green made some serious and harmful errors in his two documentaries on utopias and Esperanto, for which Okrent is also egregiously guilty in the latter. She is a linguist, not a historian or social theorist. Thank Godless I'm a baby boomer. These younger folks have no sense of history.

 I am being uncustomarily diplomatic here.  Somewhere I wrote what is wrong with the Esperanto documentary. I think Sam compounded Okrent's misrepresentation of the era that produced Esperanto. As for the Four Utopias and Sam's documentary approach, Stephen Squibb nailed what is wrong with it.

I get constant updates in my Facebook newsfeed from conlangers, and while I find the resources available in this area far more sophisticated than what I recall being available in the era of marginal print culture when I was a teenager, something has declined in one area as sophistication has grown in another. In the old days, most of the conlangers (when the term did not exist) at least pretended to be interested in an international auxiliary language, with an admixture of eccentrics and outright cranks making big claims, especially those inventing a priori languages. (I am so glad I was finally able to acquire my own copy of Fuishiki Okamoto's 1962 book on BABM at the 2010 Esperanto USA congress, which I recall from my nerd salad days haunting the Buffalo main library.) In those days the figure most known for inventing languages for the hell of it was J.R.R. Tolkien (whose medieval nostalgia I soon learned to disdain), which he referred to as a guilty pleasure. It was something for male nerds just past puberty to do in those days, in a far more innocent but hardly idyllic time.

Now artificial languages are commissioned ad hoc for superficially sophisticated sci fi and fantasy films and TV shows. But Dothraki could not get me to endure Game of Thrones.  And my opinion of Avatar was none too favorable either. I have already expressed my "esteem" for Klingon (see the post reproduced below).

All of this reminds me of a visit to Buffalo in the past year, in which I was taken to a congregation of a sci fi film club, coincidentally located a block from where I grew up. I had to endure episode 6 of Star Wars all over again, a scenario so preposterous even the person who brought me found it dubious. Every stereotype you can imagine about this subculture is true; the reality is even worse, much seedier and much more awful than anything I grew up with. It's a sad case of arrested development.

There are, of course, a few conlangs of philosophical or ideological interest: Lojban, Laadan, maybe Toki Pona and a few others. I don't think so highly of these either, but the conlanging hobby as I see it flowing into my newsfeed strikes me as decidedly infantile, as infantile as blockbuster films and "reality" TV, more childish even than all the crackpot Esperantists combined I've encountered over the past 45 years. Esperanto, at least, was designed for a serious purpose, and its subcultures exist at least to communicate, and while conlanging is a creative endeavor as any other, most of it in the final analysis is as pointless and redundant as the latest American film or TV series. O Stanislaw Lem, where art thou when I need thee?

Sociology of Klingonism, 23 December 2010

If I could have projected my 14-year old self forward in time more than four decades, I would have reveled in today's conlanger world. While I outgrew direct involvement in this sort of thing, I retain an interest in documenting it, and I can more or less respect the hobby . . . except when it comes to Klingon. Arika Okrent has provided a forceful argument that involvement with Klingon is not contemptible after all, which almost had me convinced, but ultimately I revert to the anonymous cynic who insisted that the existence of Klingon speakers is an argument for forced sterilization.

Now comes this sociological study, parts of which I find quite fascinating, as Mr. Spock would. Who knew that Pierre Bourdieu would be marshaled to analyze the Klingon phenom?

Klingon as Linguistic Capital: A Sociologic Study of Nineteen Advanced Klingonists
[Hol Sup 'oH tlhIngan Hol'e' wa'maH Hut tlhIngan Hol po'wI' nughQeD ]
Yens Wahlgren, Bachelor’s thesis, Soc 346, 41–60 p, Spring semester 2004, Department of Sociology, Lund University

Esperanto is cited for comparison, including Peter Forster's 1982 sociological study, The Esperanto Movement.

One surprising--to me--twist here is the dissociation between Klingonists and Trekkies. (I think they prefer to be called Trekkers, but I prefer the more supercilious term). I would think that Klingonism would be Trekkiehood taken to the point of a psychotic break, but oddly, many Klingonists begin with a fascination with the language and not with the fictional universe from which it originates.
Many Klingonists seems to lose their interest in Star Trek after speaking Klingon a while. This may be a result of that the average age is higher among Klingonists than Klingon fans. Star Trek fandom is in many ways a youth culture (Gibberman, 1991).

However the KLI as a socializing institution is probably one reason for the fact that many Klingonists not consider themselves as trekkers anymore. In the process of Klingonists becoming Klingonists is not only the process of languages learning. A kind of secondary socialization (Berger & Luckmann) is occurring when interacting in the peer group of KLI. Officially the KLI emphasize that they not are a fan organization. Their journal it is not a newsletter or a fanzine, it is supposed to be a scholarly journal, indexed by the Modern Language Association, that uses blind peer review. The education level of the Klingonists is as we have seen very high and it would be reasonable to assume that the use of an academic language and style is endorsed.
But compare this to respondent Adam:
The fact that there’s a rich fictional background to the Klingons gives this language incredible character, and makes speaking it fun.
If you’re speaking Esperanto, you can’t ask yourself, ‘how would an esperantoan express this idea,’ because there’s no such thing as an Esperantoan. There are fictional Klingons with a fictional culture, so one can ask ‘How would a (fictional) Klingon express this idea,’ and that makes it more fun.”
Note the perversity:
Many Klingonists choose to perceive and treat Klingon as a “real”, actual alien language and not as an artificial language. Thus they are not interested in creating new words for human concepts. Their goal with the language is not that it will be as easy as possible to use for humans, but rather they want to understand how Klingons use their language. This adds another dimension to the Klingon community. To become a notable member among Klingonists linguistic capital is not enough -- you need cultural capital as well to know how a Klingon would think in a certain situation. Or more specifically: how the group of Klingonists think Klingons think.
However, the influence of attempting to adapt Klingon to earthly needs is also felt.

The dissociation between interest in the Klingons in the Trekkie universe & the Klingon language is quite intriguing:
In the ordinary Klingon fan world where role-playing and dressing-up as Klingons is the major activity, the knowledge of Klingon is to be considered as sub-cultural capital, in the eyes of the relevant beholder. Though to be a Klingonist seems not automatically to get you sub-cultural capital. By judging from my informants opinions there is a conflict between Klingon fans and Klingonists. To actually learn the full Klingon language is seen as a waste of time and somewhat strange. In my opinion this conflict can be connected to the fact that the KLI states that it is not a fan organisation. It may as well be a result of different focuses; the KLI’s primary concern is intellectual and the fan groups activities is more practical (creating uniforms, Klingon weapons etc.)
Different respondents have different views, of course, so I may sense a contradiction based on conflating informants, but it's odd, I think, to wonder how a Klingon thinks without being interested in Klingons, i.e. as they exist in the Star Trek cosmos. It's like being interested in a culture without being interested in it. I suppose this could be just a small step beyond being interested in a language only for the language. So I guess this is not as pathetic as dressing up as a Klingon after all. Still, wondering how a Klingon thinks is like wondering how a thug from South Buffalo would express himself, and I'm glad I haven't had to think about that for some decades.

Macedonio Fernández reviewed

Macedonio Fernández, The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel), translated from the Spanish with an introduction by Margaret Schwartz, preface by Adam Thirlwell (Rochester, NY: Open Letter, 2010).

In a previous blog post, I quoted briefly a couple of passages about Xul Solar. Here is a more extensive excerpt:

From “Prologue to the Never-Seen”

And here is my review of the novel, together with a table of contents I composed:

The First Good Meta-Novel?

Here is an excerpt from my review related to the prologue excerpted (see prior link):

He makes some tongue-in-cheek references to futurism. He jocularly ponders reader reception, the role of the audience. Without the seductive music of language and an audience, there would be more beautiful works of art, several Cervantes, Heines, etc. Again we find an attack on realism. I find this interesting, if unconvincing, not only for the reference to Heine and other great artists, but for my (and Borges’) interest in combinatorics. There is also an amusing musing about the creation of neologisms, with reference to the artist and language inventor Xul Solar. Invention for Macedonio precedes and supersedes what we call reality.
Jorge Luis Borges was greatly influenced by Macedonio, though I am not certain in what ways. What he thought about the multiplication of works of art as Macedonio indicates, I do not know. I can see how Borges used this idea, but I can also see how Borges would have found the mere manipulation of combinatorics wanting.  File this in The Twilight Zone under ars combinatoria.


Sten Johansson pri Esperanto-beletro

Jen nova esearo pritaksantan la literaturon de Esperanto. Jen en Libera Folio:

Kial ekzistas literaturo en Esperanto? de Sten Johansson

Sten Johansson: ”Pri la movado mi ne plu okupiĝas”


Kozjma Prutkov en Esperanto

"Tre sprite rimarkis Fejerbaĥo, ke rigardo de malprudenta ŝuisto observas korktirilon, sed ne alenon, kio estas kaŭzo por kaloj."

"Filozofo facile estas triumfanta super estontaj kaj estintaj doloroj, sed li facile estas venkata de la estantaj."

  — Kozjma Prutkov

Kozjma Prutkov (supozeble 1803-1863) estas fikcia verkisto inventita fare de Aleksej Konstantinoviĉ Tolstoj (1817-1875) kaj aliaj.

Li famas pro siaj aforismoj, ekz. en la kolekto Fruktoj de Pripensado. Jen tradukoj en Esperanto:

Список форумов Esperanto новости

Kozjma Prutkov: Libertempo / Lanugoj kaj plumoj (Daunen und Federn) tradukis Hamstro (Maksim Bankin)

El saĝujo de Kozjma Prutkov (tr. Plum Filistrov)

Komparu kun tradukoj en la angla:

Sciencfikcio en Esperanto (1)

Stanislaw Lem (1921-2006)
"La geniulo pensas kaj kreas, la ordinarulo efektivigas, la stultulo uzas kaj ne dankas." — K. Prutkov

Estas longa historio de sciencfikcio originala kaj traduka en Esperanto. De tempo al tempo aperas eseoj pri la temo. Estas organizoj kiaj Grupo Nifo, and antologioj kiaj la 10 volumoj de Sferoj. Mi blogis pro sciencfikciaĵoj ĉi-bloge. Tamen mi ne scias, ĉu ekzistas plena bibliografio aŭ superrigardo ĉi-tema en Esperanto. Eble kulpas mia nescio, eble restas bezono por plena dokumentado. Do mia unua paŝo estas la jena gvidilo:

Sciencfikcio & Utopia Literaturo en Esperanto / Science Fiction & Utopian Literature in Esperanto: Gvidilo / A Guide

Mi kompilis ĉi tion post kompilo de simila afero en la angla lingvo, kiu respondas al miaj specifaj esploroj:

Science Fiction & Utopia Research Resources: A Selective Work in Progress

Ĉi tia lastatempa priokupo devenas de mia laboro pri la hungara esperantista verkisto Sándor Szathmári, kiu ampleksiĝas al la beletra kaj intelekta historio de Hungario, la historio kaj teoriumado pri utopioj, kaj la historio kaj teoriumado pri la futuro kaj pri sciencfikcio. Kompreneble, superrigardo de la tutmonda sciencfikcia fako estas tro granda por unu persono, kaj la fako en Usono estas giganta sen konsideri la ceteran mondon, sed ĉu ne esperantistoj surprenu ian perspektivon pri kompara analizo de la disvolviĝo de sciencfikcio tra la mondo en diversaj landoj kaj lingvoj? Ĉu ni povas konstati ion ĝeneralan pri originalaj Esperantaj verkoj, aŭ pri la elektoj kaj procento de tradukoj el diversaj naciaj lingvoj? Kiuj tradukitaj verkoj legeblas en Esperanto sed ne ekz. en la angla? Kion oni konstatu pri la utiligo de Esperanto en nacilingvaj sciencfikciaj verkoj?

La artikolo pri sciencfikcio en Vikipedio estas nur ĝermo. Per Sferoj - Vikipedio oni povas aliri la enhavtabelojn de la volumoj de Sferoj.

Esperantisto Don Harlow verkis anglalingve pri sciencfikcio kaj Esperanto:

Esperanto and Science-Fiction: Appendix 2, from The Esperanto Book by Don HARLOW

Mi legis multe da sciencfikcio kiel infano kaj dekumulo, plejparte, mi kredas, la klasikajn aŭtorojn kiuj aperis antaŭ la tiel nomita "New Wave" (Nova Ondo) de la 1960aj jaroj. Dum la pasintaj kvar jardekoj mi legis malmultajn verkojn krom tiujn de mia eventuale favorataj aŭtoroj Samuel R. Delany kaj Stanislaw Lem. Laŭ mia scio, ne ekzistas traduko el Delany en Esperanto, sed ja ekzistas pluraj tradukoj de verkoj de Lem: konsultu la sekcion pri Lem en mia gvidilo.

Mia aktuala intereso devenas de miaj interesoj pri Szathmári kaj pri la sciencfikcio de la 19a jarcento (la jarcento de la ekektiva nasko de la ĝenro). Lastatempe mi esploras la teoriumado pri la ĝenro, plejparte en malnovaj numeroj de la mirinda gazeto Science Fiction Studies (1973- ).

Do ĉu ekzistas teoriaj studoj en Esperanto? Antaŭ kelkaj tagoj mi trafosis mian Esperanto-arkivon, kaj interalie trovis miajn nelegitajn du volumojn de Antologio de fantastikaj rakontoj de sovetaj verkistoj (1986). Kelkaj eroj de la 1a volumo troveblas jene: Fantastiko. Komence en la volumo estas eseo: la jena afero interrete estas pli plena kaj bone organizita ol la presita versio:

Pritakso de fantastikaj verkoj de Ju. Muraŝkovskij

Komencas la eseon citaĵoj el Marx kaj Prutkov (vidu supre). La aŭtoro unue dividas popolrakontojn de fantasto, kiun li difinas jene: "ni opiniu fantastiko tian specon de beletro, kien nerealaĵoj estas enigataj konscie por atingi konkretajn celojn." Tamen, praepoke fantasto ne distingiĝeblas de scienco kaj teologio. Muraŝkovskij mencias la komencon de modernaj utopioj de More kaj Campanella kaj la satirojn de Swift kaj Rabelais. La eksplodon de scienco akompanas kontraŭdiro inter scienco kaj popola kompreno, kiun solvas, laŭ Muraŝkovskij, la apero de Jules Verne. Evidentiĝas tamen sociaj kontraŭdiroj . . .
sed plene dediĉis sin al evidentigo kaj fantazia solvo de sociaj kontraŭaĵoj la angla verkisto H. Wells. Estas, tamen, rimarkinde, ke scienco kaj tekniko estas ne malpli grava elemento de liaj verkoj, ol la sociaj problemoj.
Reliefiĝas la futurologia funkcio de la fantastiko. Finfine Muraŝkovskij difinas la fantastikon:
Fantastiko estas tia ĝenro de beletro, en kiu fantaziaj, nerealaj aŭ ne tuj realigeblaj objektoj kaj fenomenoj okupas decidan lokon, sen kiuj la priskribata situacio ne okazus, aŭ okazus tute alie.
Muraŝkovskij kritikas sovetian beletron, kiu tro distancas de la vivo, do beletro apartas de scienco. Nur la fantastiko kapablas ilin kunligi: "Ĝuste kaj nur en ĝi kunas la arto kaj scienco." Do en ĝi estas beletra funkcio, scienca funkcio, kaj superfunkcio.

En la tria parto de la eseo, Muraŝkovskij konsideras ĝenrajn skemigojn. Li "proponas uzi por «science-fiction» la «sciencan fikcio»-n, por «fantasy» – la «fantasto»-n, kaj por la tuta ĝenro – la «fantastiko»-n." Li prezentas la klasigojn de G. Gureviĉ kaj P. Amnuel. Li eksplikas la kategoriojn laŭ la skemo de Amnuel:
  1. scienc-teknika fantastiko
  2. populariga fantastiko
  3. filozofia fantastiko
  4. historia fantastiko
  5. soci-utopia fantastiko
  6. soci-averta fantastiko
  7. pamfleta fantastiko
  8. psikologia fantastiko
  9. paradoksa fantastiko
  10. humura, satira fantastiko
  11. simbola fantastiko
  12. aventura fantastiko
Kompreneble, la aŭtoro diskutas plurajn sovetiajn kiel aliajn verkistojn. Interalie li asertas, ke "Sovetiaj verkistoj tre malofte uzas malutopion". Mi rimarkas menciojn de verkistoj favorataj de mi: Lem, Vonnegut, kaj William Tenn.

En la 4a parto de la eseo la aŭtoro pritraktas fantastikajn ideojn. Li prezentas skemon de bazaj ideoj:
  1. Ekzisto de aliaj intelektaj estaĵoj en nia mondo:
    a) dioj, diabloj;
    b) delfenoj, septopodoj;
    c) aliplanedanoj.
  2. Vojaĝoj en aliajn lokojn:
    a) nemalkovritaj insuloj;
    b) kosmo;
    c) paralelaj mondoj, kontraŭmondo.
  3. Artefaritaj estaĵoj kaj homoj.
  4. Ŝanĝo de ecoj.
  5. Vojaĝo laŭ tempo.
  6. Maŝino por malkovroj.
Li pritraktas la problem de la eventuala elĉerpiĝo de ideoj. Tamen, novaj ideoj ne nepras:
Necesas, tamen, atenti, ke por certaj subĝenroj novaj ideoj ne tiom bezonatas, ekzemple por la filozofia, psikologia, humura. Tiaj verkistoj, kiel fr. Strugackij praktike neniam uzis pli ol surfacajn ideojn, ofte eĉ simple ideojn de aliuloj. Tio, tamen, ne malhelpas al ili brili en psikologia aŭ humura subĝenroj, ankaŭ en la pamfleta kaj simbola. Sed kiam ili provas la fortojn en scienc-teknika subĝenro, tio aspektas neserioze.
Muraŝkovskij kritikas sciencan nekompetencon en la konstruado de sciencfikciaj verkoj, kaj pritraktas specimenojn de tio, kion ni en Usono nomas "mondkonstruadon". Li analizas la subĝenron tempovojaĝadon.

Jen skemo por pritaksado de verkoj:
  1. noveco;
  2. konvinkeco;
  3. homscia valoro;
  4. arta valoro;
  5. subjektiva kriterio.
Muraŝkovskij detale ellaboras ĉi tiujn kriteriojn kun ekzemploj. Li kalkulas poentojn je diversaj faktoroj kaj rangas verkistojn.

Mankas al mi familiareco pri Muraŝkovskij kaj pri la sovetia politika kaj ideologia kunteksto en kiu li funkciis, do pri ia konstatenda subteksto de la eseo. La eseo estas tre interesa, kaj mi esperas ke, se ne jam ekzistas aliaj kompareblaj superrigardoj en Esperanto, aliaj progresigos tiun entreprenon.


Esperanto in American television comedy (1)

Jason Alexander mocks William Shatner and Incubus:

How to review a movie in Esperanto

Stephen Colbert: The Colbert Report:


Jan Amos Komenský

Jan Amos Komenský (1592 – 1670), latinigita "Comenius," estis pioniro de edukado kaj interlingvistiko. Jen kelkaj artikoloj pri li en Esperanto.

"Vojo de Lumo" de Komenio (kolekto)

Komenio (bildoj)

Komenio - Vojo de lumo (sonregistraĵo)

Juĝonto de l’ mondo tuta de Johano Amoso Komenio, tradukita de Petr Adam Dohnálek

Jan Amos Komenský, Instruisto de la nacioj, fondinto de la novoepoka instruado de Jan Václav Novák, tradukita de Rondeto de Esperantistinoj

Komenio - Vojo de lumo

Labirinto de la mondo kaj paradizo de la koro de Jan Amos Komenský, tradukis Miroslav Malovec

El la saĝo de Komenio, kompilis kaj tradukis Miroslav Malovec

El la saĝo de Komenio: Kiel lerni lingvojn?, kompilis kaj tradukis Miroslav Malovec

Komenio de Miroslav Malovec

Komenio kaj Internacia lingvo de Oldřich Kníchal

Jan Amos Komensky de Josef HENDRICH, elĉeĥigis Jana CICHOVÁ


Do Linguists Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Linguists Dream of Electric Sheep? by Joe Trotta, 27 March 2013.

This is a single paragraph stream of consciousness post. Tolkein is quoted as claiming that Esperanto et sim. are dead because there was no world-building around the languages created. Láadan is discussed. The author wonders about sci fi conlangs. He reports that Benjamin Lee Whorf of linguistic relativity fame wrote a science fiction novella, 'The Ruler of the Universe'.

The only aspect of this post that is useful is the bibliography, in particular these items (references completed where possible):

Adams, Michael, ed. From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Armitt, Lucie. "Your Word Is My Command: the Structures of Language and Power in Women's Science Fiction," in Where No Man Has Gone Before: Women and Science Fiction, edited by Lucie Armitt (London; New York: Routledge, 1991).

Barnes, Myra Edwards. Linguistics and Languages in Science Fiction-Fantasy. New York: Arno Press, 1975.

Hockett, Charles. "How to Learn Martian, " Astounding Science Fiction, October 1957,  pp. 76-84.

Meyers, Walter E. Aliens and Linguists: Language Study and Science Fiction. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1980.

Rabkin, Eric S. “Metalinguistics and Science Fiction,” Critical Inquiry, Autumn 1979, pp. 79-97.

Samuels, David. “Alien Tongues,” in E.T. Culture: Anthropology in Outer Spaces, edited by Debbora Battaglia (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), pp. 94-129.

Árpád Tóth & aliaj (3)

Mi jam blogis pri la hungara verkisto Arpád Tóth. Cetere, aperis miareteje du tradukoj:

 “La Nova Dio” de Árpád Tóth, tradukis Kálmán Kalocsay

 “De animo al animo” de Árpád Tóth, tradukis Ferenc Szilágyi

Mi trovis du aldonajn tradukojn alireteje:

 “Aprilo” de Árpád Tóth, tradukis Kálmán Kalocsay

 “Flamo” de Árpád Tóth, tradukis Kálmán Kalocsay

Cetere, la koncerna retejo havas verkojn originalajn kaj tradukitajn de notindaj verkistoj:

  Literaturo en nia Esperanto-mondo

Enestas original verkoj ekz. de Auld, Baghy, Balbin, Belmont, Bicknell, Boulton, Francis, Grabowski, Jevsejeva, Kalocsay, Logvin, Ragnarsson, Reto Rossetti, Schwartz, Thorsen, Urbanova. Inter la tradukintoj estas Auld, Dresen, Kalocsay, Kořinek, Logvin, Setälä, Szilágyi, Thorsen. Inter la tradukitoj estas Ĉapek, Goethe, Heine, Hölderlin, Hood, Ibsen, Puŝkin, Rydberg, Shakespeare, Tagore, Turgenev.


Marilyn Hacker: Desesperanto

Marilyn Hacker is an acclaimed poet. She was also once married to my favorite living science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany.

I read one volume of her poetry many many years ago, but I can't really report on it. I just discovered the title of one of her books:

Desesperanto: Poems 1999-2002 (New York: W. W. Norton, 2003)

See also the Poetry Foundation's bio of Marilyn Hackerb. 1942. Note:
Hacker put out a collection of new work, Desesperanto: Poems, 1999-2002, in 2003. The title, as several critics noted, is formed from a combination of the words "despair" and "Esperanto," the artificially created international language, and it reflects Hacker's view of the world as she straddles the Atlantic Ocean.
And from the review in Publishers Weekly:
Hacker's title fuses "despair" and Esperanto, and her book in some sense tries for both.
And here is the poem "Desesperanto."


Mi unuafoje informiĝis pri Rowlf ĉirkaŭ 1975, sed ankoraŭ ne posedas ekzempleron. Dankon al la interreto, mi povas esplori la temon. Richard Corben estas eminenta komiks-artisto.

Jen historio de Rowlf (1970), la plej detala kiun mi ĝis nun trovis. Esperanto rolas en ĉi tiu komikso; tial mia intereso.

See also:

"(The Story of) Rowlf"

Rowlf - Richard Corben's Mini Epic

Rowlf - Richard Corben's Mini Epic Part 2

Part 1 of Richard Corben’s mini-epic, Rowlf

 Parts 2-4 of Richard Corben’s mini-epic, Rowlf

Ink Stains 20: Voice of Comicdom 17

Rowlf 1st Printing at Comixjoint.com

Richard Corben, Comicbook Artist (official web site)

Richard Corbin (Lambiek Comiclopedia)

Richard Corben, Comic Artist


Markos Soŭza: La krimuloj de Drº Zamenhof

Markos Soŭza: La krimuloj de Drº Zamenhof

(vortoj de Markos Soŭza, deveno de bildo nekonata)

Macedonio Fernández & Xul Solar

Also, there's a new German word in Spanish that I consulted Xul Solar about in his workshop "Languages in repair." It's an amended adjective, but new, not like mended boots. [ . . . . ]

[. . .] I give the book to the public just to turn around and put it through the linguistic workshop of that singular artist, Xul Solar, who will make it into one, definitive word.

*   *   *
. . . the only genuine way to practice futurism is to put it off for later.
— Macedonio Fernández, The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel), translated from the Spanish with an introduction by Margaret Schwartz, preface by Adam Thirlwell (Rochester, NY: Open Letter, 2010), pp. 40-41

The Contributions of Esperanto to World Culture: Parts 1 & 2

Or, in Esperanto: "La Kontribuoj de Esperanto al Monda Kulturo: Partoj 1 & 2." Jen mia nova podkasto, de la 3a de majo 2013, kaj mia anglalingva resumo de mia anglalingva podkasto.

Parto 1: Superrigardo: Kulturo & Esperanto, Zamenhof, historio de Esperanta beletro. Parto 2: La centra rolo de Hungaroj kaj Hungario: Literatura Mondo, Soros, Baghy, Kalocsay.

Kun miaj deklamoj en la Esperantaj originaloj kaj en anglaj tradukoj:

"Ho, Mia Kor'" & "Pluvo" de L. L. Zamenhof, kun tradukoj de Marjorie Boulton

"Sunsubiro" & "En Ĉi Murdepoko" de Kálmán Kalocsay, kun tradukoj de A. Z. Foreman

5/3/13 The Contributions of Esperanto to World Culture: Parts 1 & 2

Part 1: Overview: The concept of culture is discussed, as is the question of whether and in what sense the Esperanto community can be considered a culture, a question on which even the most celebrated Esperantist literati have differed. I emphasize the Esperanto phenomenon as a subculture and culture-forming process, with overall humanitarian contributions to world civilization, and artistic, mainly literary contributions, of both original works and translations. I discuss the perspective and literary contributions of Esperanto's creator Zamenhof in relation to the Esperanto movement and world situation of his time. I recite two original poems of Zamenhof in Esperanto and in English translation. I give a general historical map of the development of Esperanto literature.

Part 2: Hungary: After World War I, Hungary became the world headquarters of Esperanto literature. The publishing house Literatura Mondo was headed by Tivadar Soros, father of George Soros. I provide virtually unknown historical tidbits on racial issues from the literary journal, also called Literatura Mondo. I then discuss the towering figures of the period between the world wars, the Hungarians Julio Baghy and Kálmán Kalocsay. I end by reciting two original poems by Kalocsay in Esperanto, with English translations.

André Breton, Ramón Llull, & surrealism revisited

"Lully is surrealist in definition." — André Breton

This is one item in a list of persons characterized as surrealist in a particular way. This can be found in Breton's "What is Surrealism?", a lecture in Brussels on 1 June 1934. Breton here recapitulates what he wrote in the first Manifesto of Surrealism of 1924. I just realized that I've already blogged about this.

But here is an additional reference, a post on Breton's penchant for composing lists:

Alphabet of the Magnetic Field: Breton Lists his Surrealists, March 10, 2013.

Breton was indeed were very adept at making lists and canonizing various figures on the basis of a perceived common characteristic conducive to surrealist preoccupations, a practice predicated on an arbitrary, authoritarian, and intellectually undisciplined mode of thinking. This surrealist taxonomic imperative is sometimes useful in archiving the curiosa of the past, but it is ultimately simple-minded, unsystematic, self-indulgent, and dogmatic, as the organized surrealist movement ultimately was. The Chicago surrealists were even worse than Breton, but they did dredge up some interesting material in their anthologies. Surrealism, as I've written elsewhere  (no revelation there), thrived on juxtapositions and novel combinations, hence my relating it to the ars combinatoria. List-making doesn't quite measure up even to that, but there is implied taxonomy in making lists, and hence that too relates to the topic.

See also my essay Walter Benjamin and Ars Combinatoria.  Also "Surrealism: The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia" by Walter Benjamin, 1929.


Xul Solar

"Xul Solar was the adopted name of Oscar Agustín Alejandro Schulz Solari (born December 14, 1887 – April 9, 1963), Argentine painter, sculptor, writer, and inventor of imaginary languages." He was also a friend of Borges. On his invented languages (from Wikipedia):
He invented two fully elaborated imaginary languages, symbols from which figure in his paintings, and was also an exponent of duodecimal mathematics. He said of himself "I am maestro of a writing no one reads yet." One of his invented languages was called "Neo Criollo", a poetic fusion of Portuguese and Spanish, which he reportedly would frequently use as a spoken language in talking to people. He also invented a "Pan Lingua", which aspired to be a world language linking mathematics, music, astrology and the visual arts, an idea reminiscent of Hermann Hesse's "glass bead game". Indeed, games were a particular interest of his, including his own invented version of chess, or more precisely "non-chess".
See also:

Alejandro Xul Solar

Xul Solar Museum

Xul Solar on Language as Unity

Do you know Xul Solar?

Borges and Xul Solar

"Borges’s Cosmic Ally" By LARRY ROHTER, The New York Times, April 18, 2013.