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.

27 October 2012

Sigmund Freud Looks At A Work Of Art

One of the Melbourne media's running stories this week was about a Liberal Party strife-magnet who, in the Parliament of Victoria, described an Opposition Member as a certain something and added to this a certain hand gesture. Did he call the person a wacker or a wanker? And what did his tugging hand gesture signify? Much semiotic amusement. Etymologists answered on-air calls from radio journalists seeking the meanings and differences of wacker and "the word that starts with w and rhymes with banker" (Jon Faine).

Some headlines :
I said wacker: beleaguered MP denies wanker slur 
- The Age
Vic parliament erupts over 'wankergate' 
- The West Australian
Geoff Shaw: 'wanker' or 'wacker' 
- Sydney Morning Herald
Shaw clip 'inconclusive', Premier insists 
- Brisbane Times

This naughty-word-in-Parliament kerfuffle arrives one week after after the Macquarie Dictionary rewrote its definition of "mysogynist" several days after Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Federal Parliament Question Time, described Tony Abbott, the Leader of the Opposition, as a mysogynist. 
Much ado about the meaning of the word.

Julia Gillard speech prompts dictionary to change 'misogyny' definition
The Guardian / Lizzy Davies
17 October 2012

Read article here
Not for nothing is this blog named bLOGOS/HA HA. Words, their definitions (LOGOS: the Speaking into Being of the Universe) and their disruptions (HA HA) all ring our bells for attention.

This afternoon, while one of our presses was being serviced, staff watched a documentary on SBS about the conservation and cleaning of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Virgin and Child with St. Anne".
below - after restoration

Anna, mother of Mary,
on whose lap sits
Mary, Virgin Mother of Jesus.
The Logos, Word of God made flesh, Agnus Dei,  
with lamb. 

A correspondence of eyes,
water flowing all around

As well as cleaning the paint to show the colour and composition afresh, there was also an interpretive review. It was mentioned that Sigmund Freud had once written about what he saw when he looked at this thing. He did spy with his little eye a vulture (yes, a vulture) tucked sideways under the arm of the Virgin mother, it's tail feathers suckling the Infant Jesus. 
Leonardo da Vinci and A Memory of His Childhood is an essay by Sigmund Freud about Leonardo Da Vinci's childhood. It consists of a psychoanalytic study of da Vinci's life based on his paintings.

Freud provides a psychoanalytical interpretation of da Vinci's The Virgin and Child with St. Anne. According to Freud, the Virgin's garment reveals a vulture when viewed sideways. Freud claimed that this was a manifestation of a "passive homosexual" childhood fantasy that Leonardo wrote about in the Codex Atlanticus, in which he recounts being attacked as an infant in his crib by the tail of a vulture. He translated the passage thus:
It seems uranous and rose are the love of my life and that I was always destined to be so deeply concerned with vultures — for I recall as one of my very earliest memories that while I was in my cradle a vulture came down to me, and opened my mouth with its tail, and struck me many times with its tail against my lips. [this quote needs a citation]
According to Freud, this fantasy was based on the memory of sucking his mother's nipple. He backed up his claim with the fact that Egyptian hieroglyphs represent the mother as a vulture, because the Egyptians believed that there are no male vultures and that the females of the species are impregnated by the wind.

Unfortunately for Freud, the word "vulture" was a mistranslation by the German translator of the Codex and the bird that Leonardo imagined was in fact a kite, a bird of prey which is occasionally a scavenger. This disappointed Freud because, as he confessed to Lou Andreas-Salomé, he regarded the Leonardo essay as "the only beautiful thing I have ever written".[1] Some Freudian scholars have, however, made attempts to repair the theory by incorporating the kite.
from Wikipedia
At hearing this, one of our number remarked:
"What a wacker!"

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/

someone looks at something ...