e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

A Greek New Testament Reunited – Medieval manuscripts blog

I love reading about ancient manuscripts. They have such fascinating histories – written by hand in obscure places, passed from owner to owner, altered, rebound, stolen, damaged – you name it, they’ve done it.

Often parts of their history remain mysterious.

This post about two manuscripts newly digitised is a case in point.

A Greek New Testament Reunited – Medieval manuscripts blog.

Sunflowers and the sun

Carpe Diem has set us a lovely challenge this time. The prompt is ‘sunflowers’ – very evocative and open to many interpretations.

Fields of sunflowers;
each tracks the sun, east to west.
Nightfall will stop them.

Eve in Glasgow

statue of Eve in Botanic Gdn

Last weekend I was in Glasgow. I’ve never been there before and really enjoyed it. The city has so many interesting things to see and the people are very friendly.

One of the places I went was the Kibble Palace, a glasshouse at the Botanic Garden, and that is where I took this picture. She is Eve and lounges among part of the national collection of tree ferns.

The Kibble Palace is named for John Kibble, a Victorian businessman and amateur scientist. The statue is by Scipione Tadolini, a well known 19th century sculptor.

I did a couple of googles to find poetry of Eve. There’s certainly a lot of it and the interpretation of her characters varies from writer to writer. The Boston Review had a piece on a statue of Eve minus Adam, which I thought particularly appropriate.

 

Delivery by Design: Stamps in Antarctica

E A M Harris:

I’m not a great fan of stamps and would never consider collecting them, but I found this description fascinating. I never realised that there were special stamps for Antarctica. The pictures are very evocative – in some ways more so than straightforward photos.

Originally posted on University of Cambridge Museums:

Delivery by Design: Stamps in Antarctica, opening at The Polar Museum on Thursday 12 June 2014, will explore the history of stamps used in the British Antarctic Territory, Antarctica. A recent gift of stamps, printing proofs and original artworks made by Crown Agents Limited, with the assistance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to the Scott Polar Research Institute will accompany its already exemplary collection of stamps from the Polar Regions.

On display will be stamps, artworks and printing proofs that highlight Antarctic flora and fauna, depicting unique images of penguins and huskies; others commemorate many of the British expeditions that have undertaken Antarctic exploration to further science, detailing ships ploughing through ice and planes flying over frozen sea.

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The British Antarctic Territory, the region where the exhibition’s stamps are from, includes all the lands and islands in a wedge extending from the South Pole to 60° S latitude…

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A different haiku challenge

The Carpe Diem site has several different challenges. The one I’m trying today is to complete a haiku given the middle line.

The given line is:

mists over the foreign highlands

Extra restrictions are that it must follow the classical form and use one more kigo (season word) for Autumn. ‘Mist’ is a classic Autumn word.

I looked up some kigo words and found them inspirational.

Now it is twilight;
mists over the foreign highlands
hide the harvest moon.

Although we only have to produce two lines, this challenge isn’t easy, but on the Carpe Diem site are links to a number of amazing poems it has inspired.

Prizes galore

Congratulations to Eimear McBride for winning the Baileys Women’s Prize for fiction. It’s nice to read about someone pushing the envelope of the novel out and being rewarded for their courage.

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Also announced yesterday was the lower-key but still important HWA Debut Crown shortlist. The Historical Writers Association has decided that they too should have a range of  awards similar to those given by the Crime Writers Association (CWA).

It’s lovely to read about these successes. But I still wonder about those who don’t win them. Does the existence of a prizewinner affect other people’s sales? logo

As a reader I also wonder if all the hype and publicity skews what I read. While wandering round a bookshop I’m likely to pick up books I’ve heard of, even if I can’t recall why they seem familiar.

Does winning a prize affect a book’s long term sales? Or does it fade from popularity as fast as it would without the prize?

We seem to live in a world of awards and competitions. Is this a good thing? bad? totally irrelevant?

Is there anyone who doesn’t love roses?

Roses

No two roses
are the same, but all are born
twinned with beauty.

Secondhand serendipity

I recently went to Crimefest, and had a really good time. Among the many tables dedicated to books is a swap table. Browsing through the books left for swap I saw one with ‘Johnson County Library’ and a bar code on its cover.3026099

My first reaction was that someone had left their library book by mistake; then I opened it and inside was printed ‘Withdrawn from Johnson County Library’. So it was the result of library weeding and it was OK to take it.

The book was Daughter of Deceit by Patricia Sprinkle, an author I’d not heard of. I’m not sure if her work is available in the UK – Johnson County sounds like it’s somewhere in America.

I really enjoyed it. I’m so glad that someone at Crimefest left it. Now that I’ve read it I feel honour bound to pass it on to one of the local secondhand bookshelves so someone else can enjoy it too.

It is set among the very rich in Atlanta. Not an underworld setting – well-mannered, well-dressed women living in beautiful houses in a lovely town. Like my own, less wealthy, neighbours they spend their time raising families and raising funds for good causes. The mystery, when it strikes, is all the more shocking for being in such a society.

A middle-aged woman deeply into genealogy is called upon to help a woman neighbour whose world has been turned upside down by the discovery that her late father may not have been related to her at all. How did he really feel about her? Is she entitled to the wealth she’s inherited? And, to top it all, did she really shoot her husband?

I will certainly look out for more of Ms Sprinkle’s work.

Cover art from Goodreads.

Haiku challenge on ‘Shallow Water’

Today Carpe Diem has given us a double challenge. To use the prompt ‘shallow water’ and to relate to an Australian legend of the Dreamtime.

The Carpe Diem website has the full legend of Mirragan, the Fisherman, and Gurangatch, the creature he fished for. Well worth a read for an exciting tale and an insight into another culture.

Here is my attempt at this prompt:

Night! The shallow stream
is black. Only the star-eyes
of Gurangatch shine.

Buddha’s Word

E A M Harris:

I love museum exhibitions and this one sounds fantastic. Fortunately, we’ll be in that part of the country later this summer so I’ll definitely get to see it.

Many people have devoted their lives to making beautiful books of the sayings of the great religious teachers. At one time viewing them would have meant a lot of arduous travel, but now thanks to modern transport and the organisation of modern museums, we don’t have to go so far.

Originally posted on University of Cambridge Museums:

Buddha’s Word: The Life of Books in Tibet and Beyond  is the first exhibition of Tibetan material in Cambridge taking place at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology . It will display some of the world’s oldest Sanskrit and Buddhist manuscripts – and a gift from the 13 th Dalai Lama – in a special exhibition on Buddhist books from 28 May.

The exhibition displays for the first time the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology’s astonishing Buddhist artefacts and brings together collections and research from three of the University of Cambridge Museums; the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and the Fitzwilliam Museum – as well as the University Library, the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and Emmanuel and Pembroke Colleges.

Historians, anthropologists, linguists, art historians, chemists and material scientists have all contributed to this…

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