The juxtaposition of crowded academic and social calendars at this time of year always makes me a bit grumpy. I try to contain (or hide) my scrooge-like sentiments, but I’m generally too tired to make that much of an effort, and consequently they pop out periodically. This year I am taking comfort in a book that I received from a thoughtful friend last year: The Twelve Terrors of Christmas, a 1993 collaboration between iconic illustrator Edward Gorey and John Updike. These terrors (a too heavily-laden Christmas tree, the threat of electrocution from all the electronic games under said tree, fears of not giving enough, not receiving enough, and returning all the stuff you did receive) are not quite my terrors (fatigue, rampant commercialism, over-consumption of food, drink, and stuff) but I like the overall sentiment, or lack thereof. And then there are the illustrations. “Christmas” and “Gorey” are not words that naturally go together, but he had tread that terrain previously–with a series of not-too-macabre Christmas cards for the Albondaconi Press and other publishers from the 1970s on–and the success of Terrors inspired a second holiday book: The Haunted Tea-Cosy. A Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas Dispirited (1997), a parody of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. All very merry images, in that distinctly Gorey style.
Daily Archives: December 16, 2014
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- Not happy with the chapter I'm writing on Town House Square for our Salem book so put it aside and started fresh. There wasn't enough context so buried myself in the histories of colonial town planning all weekend---very interesting field. Apparently we have another sin to lay at the feet of the Puritans: they were poor planners! Those towns that were laid out around a common and meetinghouse did ok, but those that were not established a poor foundation. Salem's Common was developed relatively late. Quoting one source: while the Puritans were the greatest colonial town founders, they were conspicuous failures as town designers and town builders." This could explain a lot about Salem's planning history, or lack thereof! I just happen to like the illustrations of Hugh Thomson for the 1920 edition of the #scarletletter and #becausepuritans.
I always attribute the images that I use in my blog; if you are going to copy them, please do so as well.
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