The Unbearable Banishment: visiting another old friend

Saturday, December 20, 2008

visiting another old friend

I paid my annual visit to the Morgan Library to see an old friend; the handwritten manuscript of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

A Christmas Carol
in Prose:
Being a Ghost Story of Christmas
by Charles Dickens
The Illustrations by John Leech

They put it on display every Christmas. It can be argued that our modern notion of Christmas can be gleaned from these handwritten, barely legible pages. I don’t know why I get a chill every year when I see this manuscript but it never fails.

Also at the Morgan on permanent display is one of their Gutenberg bibles.

This is one of the first books ever printed, folks. It changed civilization. The Gutenberg bibles were the first books to be produced on a moveable type letterpress in 1455. Prior to this, books were handwritten; usually by celibate monks hold up in monasteries. Herr. Gutenberg’s invention lead to the spread of education. And porn.

There was a bonus exhibit! The original early drafts and watercolors used for the first editions of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff. I wouldn’t have gone just to see this exhibit specifically but I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful these drawing are.


Blogger ~E said...

oh yes, the porn.

oh and all the education too.

December 20, 2008 at 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i thought the internet was for porn? it sure did wonders for driving filesharing technologies...

the babar art? fabulous... didn't read much to the kids - could get them to look at Curious George. loved babar...

December 21, 2008 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

E: I’m just sayin’.

Daisy: Did you see the musical Avenue Q? Here’s a lyric sampler (sung by the character who was suppose to spoof Cookie Monster, hence, in his voice):

The internet is for porn
The internet is for porn,
Why you think the net was born?
Porn porn porn!

The internet is for porn!
The internet is for porn!
(I masturbate!)
All these guys unzip their flies
For porn, porn, porn!

The internet is for porn!
The internet is for porn!
Grab your dick and double click
For porn, porn, porn!
(harmonizing) porn, porn, porn, porn!

December 21, 2008 at 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't one of Dickens motives for the story that Christmas was sort of dying out? Anyway, I always taught Dickens to my 7th graders in December. We usually did Oliver and then A Christmas Carol and I threw in the Industrial Revolution for good measure. Literature was a wonderful way to indulge my passion for history.

Movable type. And look where there got us - porn on the internet. I am sure a good historian (and this would not be me) could find the links from Guttenberg to Microsoft and Apple.

December 21, 2008 at 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'd be getting chills too. that is true history, handwritten as it is.

and love Avenue Q. hoping it becomes available to community theater some time.

December 21, 2008 at 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

absolutely! saw it (bobzyeruncle recommended) the year it opened during one short weekend in NYC during a snowstorm. brilliant... quote from it regularly (ie: "What do you do with a BA in English?" when someone tells me they have a BA in English).

December 21, 2008 at 1:59 PM  
Blogger Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

"Everyone's a little bit racist"

while we're on the subject of Avenue Q ;)

Ahhh, those Babar prints are lovely. I used to love Babar, and have spent many a drunken evening arguing over the correct pronounciation of it: Ba-Bar, not BarBar I believe. Some disagree.

December 21, 2008 at 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a lovely christmas tradition

December 22, 2008 at 2:31 AM  

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