On his round yesterday, the mailman told me about a group of Long-Eared Owls (Asio otus), resting in a nearby tree. A truly wonderful sight. The owls looked at me with some curiosity as I was stepping around, trying to get the focus right.
The legendary aloofness of these great birds is perfectly reflected in this individual. The species is still vulnerable and Asio otus is therefore on the IUCN red List of endangered species with the indication ‘vulnerable’. So I’m very happy to know that these guys have chosen a place to spend a quiet day nearby. I know next to nothing about birds, so I won’t pretend here that I do, and invite you to check out the links.
I quite like the symmetry of this photo. I chose this point somewhat consciously (my original position was more to the left), but the end result pleases me more than I imagined this morning when I took it.
As dr. Bronowski is slowly discovering a trail leading him steadily into the realm of the ‘subtle arts’, the plot is definitely thickening. Although chemistry did not belong to the 7 Artes Liberales, as they were more poised toward logic, mathematics, grammar, and law, the medieval fascination with the transformation of matter itself, especially where Aristotelic, and Neoplatonic traditions collided, has lead to quite a bit of interesting experimentation on the side, and also to some essential categorization, taken up by the likes of Dimitry Mendelejev, Marie Curie, Otto Hahn, and Oppenheimer, without whom, after all, we wouldn’t have such charming tools as the H-bomb. But, where does this leave us? And what is the connection with the predicted End of the World? Darn…, I love a good story! If I have a spare moment,I will try to scan and clean up the next page.
The image on the page is interesting. The letter ‘d’ is somehow formed as the result of some kind of chemical reaction, or synthesis. Bronowski links the image with Hermes Trismegistos, and, thus with the hermetic arts. Whether that is a logical inference, I don’t know. The identification of the letter itself as ‘Fraktur’, which is a distinctive german script, is, I think, premature. It could easily be a mid XVth century French letter. It also is much closer to a general littera textualis than to the more flamboyant hybrida, which developed in the chanceries of the Dukes of Burgundy. All in all, difficult to say without access to the original. We now must see everything through Bronowski’s eyes. I’m seriously considering to start a hunt for the original.
Yesterday I started to post a series of 30 images (including cover, and title page) from a book that I found on an antiquarian book market. The book, by a hitherto unknown author, Dr. Bruno Bronowski, seems to hint at a disaster in the making. The clues are derived from a booklet with illustrations that he in turn found somewhere. I can’t make too much sense of it yet. The Latin alphabet might play a crucial role in all this. Today the page dedicated to the letter C.
Bronowski obviously asks himself “what has the Roman Catholic Church to do with it?”, and how is it connected to the predictions that the earth as we know it will end in 2012? I have never been a believer in conspiracies, and apocalyptic, or Messianistic prophesies, but it is a curious fact in itself that I unearthed a book from the year before my 19th century house was built. My main concern here is to discover the coherency of the original text, and the way Bronowski interpreted it. The ecclesiastical C seems to point a procession of some sort. I’m not sure how the colored illustrations have been printed on the paper, or how they will have originally looked.
Being something of an insomniac lately, I decided to add an extra post to the previous post about the strange study in esoterical typography tonight, escaping a BBC documentary about Marina Abramovic in the same time.
Although the text is obviously going somewhere, the illustrations in the book are remarkably inconsistent. I still haven’t found out why the titles are in French. I have scanned and processed the C and D pages, and will add them tomorrow. Why is the B considered ‘melancholical’? I will consult Burton’s ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ for clues.
Fortunately I have still some time this evening to add the page with the letter A. The caption is ‘A-menaçant’ (Threatening A). The steel engraving on the left side of the page shows a man in what appears to be a dungeon, or tower, being threatened by the shadow of the letter A. The author, Bronowski, of whom we know nothing about, refers to a book he found, a bit like me, finding his book, which contains information about a threat to the human race, 123 years from ‘his’ present time. This might be an interesting read after all.