Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Banvard's Folly

I enjoyed this book by Paul Collins (below) so much that I thought I'd post it instead of new art photos (soon to come).
Banvard's Folly: thirteen tales of people who didn't change the world: is a wonderful book about, well, the various failures of history. Collins rarely-if-ever inserts himself into the text leaving it untouched by an unwanted outside perspective. Yet he manages to slip his personality in just enough to fully engage the reader.

As the Los Angeles Times Book Review puts it,
"The thirteen lives and times to which Collins devotes his considerable scholarship and manifest narrative gifts in Banvard's Folly are the flash-in-the-pan, briefly notable, and long-ignored ones-of-a-kind, who remind us of the nobility and futility, the grandeur and begrudgery of our endeavors. Of Collins's endeavor, however, we can proclaim our permanent thanks and amazement and heartiest welcome."

As an artist I both fear and hope that I may one day end up in a book like this one.

John Banvard and his 3 mile painting of the Mississippi river.

John Symmes and his theory of the hollow earth, and the civilizations that live within.

William Ireland the Shakespearian forger, with the "Bards" lost play Vortigern.

Ephraim Bull with his Concord Grapes

Professor Blondlot and his N-rays

Martin Tupper, the stuttering poet

Alfred Beach with his pneumatic train

Psalmanazar, the man from Formosa

Delia Bacon and her obsession to discredit Shakespeare.

Augustus Pleasanton the Blue Light Healer.

Robert Coates, Romeo dandy extraordinaire.

and finally, Thomas Dick and the Great Moon Hoax

1 comment:

Paul Shortt said...

Sounds interesting. Glad to see the new post.