Monday, January 28, 2008

Table-talk of Parkus Grammaticus for January 28

I. Heath Ledger: "I was obsessed with an artist by the name of Nick Drake." —Pitchfork

II. Vocabulary from the NYT Suharto obit:

songkok, the flat traditional Indonesian cap.

dukuns, spiritual advisers and soothsayers who were believed to be in touch with natural forces

III. I don't know why this obit is so fascinating...

He was so poor that he once had to change schools because he could not afford the shorts and shoes that were the required uniform. His education ended with junior high school. He found a job in the bank in his village, but resigned after he tore his only set of work clothes in a bicycle accident.

IV. A nice line:

Many Indonesians benefited from his programs, but none more so than members of his family, who became billionaires many times over.


[H]is wife, Siti Hartinah Suharto, known as Madame Tien, handled the family’s business affairs. She became the object of quiet criticism, with her detractors calling her “Madame Tien Percent,” a reference to what were said to be commissions she received on business deals.

VI. Lost positives:

TO the small group of photography experts aware of its existence, it was known simply as “the Mexican suitcase.” And in the pantheon of lost modern cultural treasures, it was surrounded by the same mythical aura as Hemingway’s early manuscripts, which vanished from a train station in 1922. —Randy Kennedy, "The Capa Cache," NYT

Dizzyhead project: Other famous (or interesting) lost manuscripts?

In (I believe?) the introduction to Lake Wobegon Days, Garrison Keillor writes about early stories, lost on a train...

There's a lost Flaubert translation (on which F. worked closely) mentioned in Adam Thirlwell's The Delighted States...

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Blogger Levi Stahl said...

If I remember right from my bookstore days, Paul Auster, in his introduction to his translation of anthropologist Pierre Clastres's
Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians, wrote about losing the manuscript of the complete translation in a cab in the '80s (?), then finding it for sale in a used bookstore years later. At which point he turned it in to MIT Press for publication.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Adam Siegel said...

Immolations --
Gogol's "Dead Souls."
Bakhtin's cigarettes.
Maxine Hong Kingston's house.

Disappearances --
Benjamin's suitcase manuscript.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Yes! These are both great! (I mean...sad, but great.)

MHK was just on the radio yesterday, talking about the fire.

What else....

10:26 PM  
Blogger Jawbone Catrep Dyer said...

Melville's Isle of the Cross.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Jawbone Catrep Dyer said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Jawbone Catrep Dyer said...

Also for about thirty years there, The Third Policeman. Though that opens the floodgates for all sorts of posthumous stuff.

5:04 PM  
Blogger selfdivider said...

And Bruno Schulz's novel, "The Messiah."

9:06 AM  
Blogger J.Mo said...

Robert Louis Stevenson burned the original manuscript of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" after Mrs. Stevenson read it and wrote nasty notes on the margins. He rewrote it in three days.

Gabriel García Márquez lost a notebook with drafts of 74 short stories based on his newspaper articles. He rewrote from scratch as many as he could. Twelve of these comprise the collection "Strange Pilgrims."

After Franz Kafka died, his lover, Dora Diamant, kept 20 of his notebooks and 35 letters until the Gestapo confiscated them. None of these have been found.

Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Won" (maybe)

Lawrence of Arabia lost a 1,000-page manuscript of "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" at Reading Station.

Sibelius spent about 20 years working on his Eighth Symphony until, according to Mrs. Sibelius, he burned it on his dining room floor.

7:32 PM  

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