Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Curiouser and Curiouser

Fellow devotees of BibliOdyssey will recognize this strange-looking image as a depiction of Karl Heinrich Klingert's 1797 diving suit. (You didn't know there were diving suits back in 1797? Neither did I.)
My own immediate reaction upon seeing the diving suit, however, was to say "Hey, that's what Toyen used on Spojité nádoby!" In other words, on the cover of the Czech translation of André Breton's Communicating Vessels. This was pretty exciting, although I can't say I have any immediate use for this information as there is no reason for me to discuss the cover of Spojité nádoby in my dissertation (or anywhere else but right here).
But look a little closer at the two. Toyen didn't use precisely the same print of Klingert's suit. It's almost the same, but there are discrepancies. Somebody did a new engraving of the suit, making our diver a little more svelte, making his axe-head a little more ceremonial-looking, and so forth. So... we know what the picture is of, but not which book Toyen found it in.
Art historians tend to go into mild frenzies over this sort of thing, and I confess I am no exception. While I had never consciously articulated any desire to locate the sources of the images used in the Spojité nádoby collage, now that one of them has practically fallen into my lap, I'll be keeping an eye out for the bird and the guy in the sarcophageal bed.
I guess that will keep me amused in betweenst writing conference paper proposals (three to take care of in the next week or so) and hunting through the pages of Rudé právo, La Revue française de Prague, and fin-de-siècle fashion journals.

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8 Comments:

Blogger pk said...

can't say I have any immediate use for this information

I want to be a footnote!! I'm being oppressed!

I'll have to remain contented I suppose with causing a mild frenzy. Why do all the girls say that when I'm around? And the rocks, why do they throw rocks?
;- )

April 18, 2007 10:49 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

Have you got any more bits of surrealist collage lurking on your site...? actually, I say we go on a hunt for the sources of Štyrský's more gruesome collages. Turn-of-the-century medical texts on venereal disease seem like our best bet. You look online, I'll look in the library. We post the results on both blogs with different text, cross-link, double our readership (well, mine anyway).

Otherwise, maybe a coded mention in the section where I do an Academy-Awards thank-you to everyone under the sun?

Mild frenzy, is that all? Are your Australian gals that tame? or they just like to cast the first stone? You could always put on one of Klingert's diving suits and come to Prague for the big Štyrský retrospective next month.

April 18, 2007 11:15 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

On due reflection, it occurs to me that, given the position of the axe, there could be a sexual subtext, so perhaps it could find its way into the dissertation after all... will have to think about this in terms of the book content.

April 20, 2007 8:50 AM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

I would disagree with your interpretation of the illustration. It is clearly a picture of a man dressed as a Tylenol. Holding an axe.

April 21, 2007 1:27 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

MY interpretation? You've been reading/looking at too much Dali.

April 21, 2007 11:29 AM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Yeah, like Dali ever dressed up as a giant Tylenol. He would never do anything crazy like that! Puh-leez!

April 22, 2007 2:14 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

I refer to Dali's celebrated paranoic-critical method. However, I would not put it past him to have dressed as a giant Tylenol capsule.

April 22, 2007 8:19 PM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

I don't know, I think that Dali would have sided with President Reagan and just said "no to drugs," at least over the counter drugs.

April 23, 2007 1:08 AM  

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