David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

02 October 2008

No Laughing Matter


"Commenting on the research, visual neuroethologist Jochen Zeil, from the Australian National University, says the findings are no laughing matter. "I'm not surprised that they found pigeons could distinguish the fine details of paintings," he says.

Zeil notes that people often underestimate how well other animals can see. "This research gives us a better appreciation of how amazing animals other than ourselves are in terms of their visual abilities," he says.

In order to tease out the critical faculties of pigeons, Watanabe and his colleagues first showed a pigeon 10 paintings by Monet. Then they asked the same pigeon to identify -- peck out -- a different work by the same artist from a mixture of paintings by Monet, Renoir, Matisse and Delacroix. The pigeons were able to do this for a range of other artists as well, including Picasso, Van Gogh and Chagall."

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