Fore Edge Fridays

For the first Fore Edge Friday of the year, we have two volumes of the fifth edition of English writer and moralist Hannah More’s, Hints Towards Forming the Character of a Young Princess, printed in London for Thomas Cadell and William Davies in 1819. Each volume bears a fore-edge painting, or painting under gold. When fanned, the fore edge of volume one reveals a painting of Windsor Castle, while volume two bears a bucolic painting of Frogmore Cottage on the grounds of the royal Windsor estates, the former home of the current Duke and Duchess of Sussex before stepping down from royal duties and moving to North America.

The volumes are full-bound in green, blind-tooled, straight-grain Morocco, and are housed in a blue Morocco book-form, pull-off case (which has seen better days) made by the notable London bookbinders Sangorski & Sutcliffe for the J. W. Robinson Company, a southern California department store company which maintained a book department.

More often than not, the subjects of fore edge paintings, which were usually commissioned by the book owner, had little to do with the book’s content. In this case, however, the choice of royal residences seems appropriate for a book containing advice for a young princess.



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An Almost Complete Collection

I’ve been a fan of the always original science fiction works written by Philip K. Dick since I was a child. So I found the recently release Folio Society limited edition complete collection of 118 short stories intriguing. As usual, the Folio Society’s packaging and graphic design is beautiful. Check out the video below for more about the process.

Here’s what the publisher has to say about the project:

This limited edition of Philip K. Dick’s The Complete Short Stories, with 24 illustrations by 24 different artists, is a celebration of the freewheeling imagination of a science-fiction master. The Complete Short Stories is limited to 750 hand-numbered copies and presented in a special display box designed by independent studio La Boca. The bindings, endpapers, title pages, page edges – even the ribbon markers – are colour co-ordinated in a fabulous fluorescent rainbow. Each binding is emblazoned with an eye-catching symbol that is echoed on the relevant title page and spot-varnished on the two-part presentation box. The interior of the box itself is lined with two specially designed papers; a multi-coloured ‘glitch’ pattern, and a night sky sparkling with silver stars to reflect Dick’s fascination with the possibilities of space travel and technology.

The Complete Short Stories [Philip K. Dick / The Folio Society]

My only question is : what happened to the missing stories ? According to reliable sources, Dick wrote 121 short stories, yet the Complete collection only includes 118. I guess it’s fitting that even after death Dick is fueling mysteries.



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Not a bridge too far

The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge has opened up high above the River Paiva in Arouca, Portugal. The bridge stretches for an incredible 516 meters (1,693 feet) across at an elevation of 175 meters (574 feet), offering picturesque views of the valley below. Inspired by the design of Inca bridges in the Andes, construction of the bridge began in May 2018, cost about 1.7 million euros ($2,050,000). The local government is hopeful that Ponte516 will attract more visitors to the area with this record-setting bridge.

I’m not in a hurry to cross the Ponte516. The longest pedestrian suspension bridge that I’ve walked is the Capilano Suspension Bridge in the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. That bridge is 140 meters (460 ft) long and 70 meters (230 ft) above the river and it swayed a little too much for me.


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Death is comprised of deep blue tortures


Michael McClure

and filled with dark chocolate cake.
Birth has gone with the losses
of endless imagination.
A round brown leaf whirls at the tip
of a spider thread.



I will study
the whiteness of plum blossoms
and look for knots in an old trunk
at the edge of the forest fire
near some deer bones.

Today marks the first anniversary of the passing of the great American Beat poet Michael McClure.


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Literature plus Science


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Why a Duck

DELVAUX, Paul Viaduct

I first discovered the dreamy near Surrealist paintings of the Belgian artist Paul Delvaux at the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in Brussels many decades ago. I was particularly drawn to his works on trains and train stations. Delvaux was strongly attracted to the subject of trains and stations, which he returned to as subjects many times during his long career. Early on, he got into the habit of painting at the Gare du Luxembourg in Brussels. Later, he drew inspiration from the small local station in Boistfort, the borough of Brussels where he lived.

The Viaduct  (above) is an interesting work, because it covers in a single, very dense composition, all the elements which constitute the artist’s world: the suspended lamps found in local neighborhood, the slightly oneiric atmosphere of the stations at nightfall, and the train passing on a mysterious journey.


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Dawn Days of May

A year ago, in May 2020,the UK has been in lockdown for over a month leaving many people feeling isolated and anxious. Photographer Nick Pumphrey turned to the place where he where he felt safest — the sea. Every day for a month, he went down to the sea at dawn with his camera and began capturing precious moments. He then shared the experience by posting ten photos on Instagram with the hashtag #DawnDaysOfMay.  The moving film below by Greg Dennis is a window on that month a year ago.

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The Worst Reader


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NYC’s Tiniest Museum Reopens

Coincidental with the recent announcement from New York City’s quasi-official tourism bureau that the city has “reawakened” for tourism, NYC’s tiniest museum has declared itself open for business again. Like every other visitor attraction hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mmuseumm has had to keep its two doors shut. The mini-museum which is situated at 4 Cortlandt Alley in Manhattan has been on locked down like every other institution, but now there are five ways to experience Mmuseumm’s new exhibition: timed tickets, private tours, a 24-hour observation window, print catalog and digital access. Click here to learn all about the fascinating attraction and to participate in this uniquely New York cultural experience.

Her are some of the new exhibitions on view at Mmuseumm :

  • Are We Being Heard? Tools of Protest From Hong Kong: 40 citizen-made tools of protest, including a used molotov cocktail.

  • Is This Modern Slavery? A look at common household items that have dark supply chain roots.

  • The Enduring Racism of American Real Estate: understanding the damaging implications of the seemingly innocuous “we buy houses for cash” signs.

  • Pipelines of Knowing and Unknowing Complicity: objects that served a central roll in devastating occurrences, such as bank credit cards used to sponsor individuals purchasing weapons and carrying out mass shootings in America.

  • Children Lead The Way: a collection of protests signs made by youth for the youth-led climate march.

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we owe literature almost everything we are

You said that we owe literature almost everything we are and what we have been. If books disappear, history will disappear, and human beings will also disappear. I am sure you are right. Books are not only the arbitrary sum of our dreams, and our memory. They also give us the model of self-transcendence. Some people think of reading only as a kind of escape: an escape from the “real” everyday world to an imaginary world, the world of books. Books are much more. They are a way of being fully human.

Susan Sontag, from ‘Letter to Borges’ 


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