Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Half the answer

I am better able to retract what I did not say than what I did. (Ibn Gvirol)

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Future Tense

No one could have predicted the speed at which events unfolded after the dramatic revelation that significant sections of the Mundeign archive are in fact forgeries. 

Within 24 hours Professor Mundeign himself has resigned, and all future activities of the Institute have been put on hold.

A communique will be issued towards the end of March. 

Future editions of the Primer in Hermeneutics have been suspended, and interested parties are being referred to the Maynbilder Gallery.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Holy Orders - अंत में मेरी शुरुआत है।

The purpose of the Index, and indeed of the Catalogue itself, has been to clarify some of the more obscure and unusual entries. However the whole structure and order of the selection has been coherent and obvious. As the cumulation of the work of the Tungsten Fellow in Speculative Cross-cultural Hermeneutics, it could never have been otherwise. Over the years however there has been concern over the significant bias towards a synthesis of  Vachika-vrata and Trappist doctrine. At the time therefore there was no surprise that the compilation of material and collection of esoterica ended suddenly when Professor Mundeign drifted towards the community of Radical Cruxicogentians.  In the decades following his taking of holy orders nothing was heard from the Professor until the final clue that emerged as a scribbled note hidden in a batch of ceramic garden gnomes. This short terse message written in that characteristic handwriting, and later verified by graphologists, simply said ‘í lok er upphaf mitt’. Translated from the Icelandic as ‘In the end is my beginning’, many experts interpreted it as ‘I believe Chairman Mao is managing affairs and that He doesn't need any advice from me. With Mao in charge, I believe everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about?’

Monday, 11 January 2016

And the stars look very different today

We can be Heroes, just for one day
We can be us, just for one day

Sunday, 10 January 2016

The outstretched arm

In its latter years, the Index of Professor Mundeign's Catalogue became the prized artifact, more than the catalogue itself (for obvious reasons). The 1953 Estonian translation (which began with the unforgettable declaration 'Las kõik, kes on näljased tulevad ja söövad' and ended with the single word 'Shpoch!' was notably the most expensive single volume ever sold at the Underwoods Auction in Felpersham.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Demiurge forbid!

By now it should be obvious that Professor Mundeign has considerable sympathy for Gnostic ideas, in particular its essential feminism and its stance in regard to the demiurge Yaldabaoth. Notwithstanding the earlier Sethian texts, Mundeign's index has many references to the gnostic rejection of institutionalised belief. There is an occasional mention of the Thomas Gospel.Carl Jung wrote a short Gnostic treatise called Seven Sermons to the Dead, which called Abraxas a God higher than the Christian God and Devil, and also suggested that Moby K Dick was also influenced by Gnostic ideas.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Cav Piranesi's Lipogram

A lipogram  is a kind of constrained writing or word game consisting of paragraphs or longer works in which a particular letter or group of letters is avoided (e.g. A Void by Perec). Other types of constrained writing include limiting a text to a specific number of letters. For esoteric reasons Professor Mundeign's catalogue includes the life of Cav Piranesi, the brilliant Italian artist famous for his etchings of Rome and of fictitious and atmospheric "prisons", as one of the texts in the catalogue limited to 100 words. The biothought appears as follows:

As a child Piranesi was introduced to ancient civilizations, and later studied as an architect. In Rome he learned etching and engraving, and from the mid 1740s produced a series of views of the city, such as Le Antichità Romane de' tempo della prima Repubblica e dei primi imperatori ("Roman Antiquities of the Time of the First Republic and the First Emperors"). After being elected to the Accademia di San Luca, he opened his own printing facility, and his publication of ingenious and bizarre designs established his reputation. He died in Rome in 1778 was buried on the Aventine Hill.

Although the text includes no instance of the letters J,K or X, it cannot be considered a lipogram since these are letters of low frequency in English.

(Incidentally, in 1767 Giovanni Battista Piranesi was created a knight of the Golden Spur, which enabled him henceforth to sign himself "Cav[aliere] Piranesi".)