Category Archives: literature

A Small Sebald

A small effigy of W. G. Sebald holding a copy of his book The Rings of Saturn.

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Why Sebald put pictures in his books

In a recently published video clip of W. G. Sebald reading at 92nd Street Y in New York, he explains why he puts pictures in his books: I put these pictures in in the first instance for my own satisfaction. But as I kept doing this I realised that conceivably they had other functions in […]

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The Sea of Stories

Earlier this week the Guardian, Forbes and others covered the discovery of 500 fairy tales collected by 19th century folklorist Franz Xaver von Schönwerth. I sent a note about this to Professor Jack Zipes, who promptly replied urging caution about the discovery and pointing to many other (in his view more interesting) 19th century collections […]

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TEXTUS: an open source platform for working with collections of texts and metadata

Since finally blogging about last month I’ve been thinking about how one could make a generic open source platform that could be used to power it, and other things like it. Enter ‘TEXTUS’:

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On Archiving Everything: Borges, Calvino, Google

This piece was cross-posted on, the European counterpart to the French investigative reporting and data journalism outfit Today Google marks the 112th birthday of Jorge Luis Borges with this colourful sketch.

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Architectural Literature, Literary Architecture

A few years ago an architect friend and I used to fantasise about building and animating a model of a small but representative section of Borges’s “Library of Babel”. We wanted to incorporate the animation into a short film with a reading of Borges’s story, complete with lots of digitally-assisted indefinite zooming through the model. […]

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