Japanese Covers – Old Books


cover for the Korin Gafu


cover for the Sonan Gafu


cover for One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

Hiroshige: Masterworks of Ukiyo-e


“Hokusai and Hiroshige, who are generally held to be the greatest of the nineteenth century ukiyo-e artists, both died penniless. (Hiroshige’s will contains passages explaining in detail how the mortgage on his newly bought house should be paid off. Hokusai, toward the end of his life, wrote to his publisher asking for money, saying that he had not even enough clothes to keep himself warm.)”

“Unlike most ukiyo-e artists who came mostly from very humble origins, Hiroshige’s family was one of moderate respectability…” [Both he and his dad were fire wardens]

“In [Toyokuni’s] studio at that time were already such noted artists as Kunisada and Kuniyoshi, and had Hiroshige worked with them it is unlikely that he would have had the freedom to develop that he enjoyed under Toyohiro.”

some interesting info I found in the Hiroshige volume of the Masterworks of Ukiyo-e series

Pie: A Global History


“At that time [the eighteenth century] meals were served in the style that came to be called a la francaise (as distinct from the style we use today, service a la russe, in which individual dishes are served sequentially to guests). Two or more courses would each consist of a variety of dishes set out simultaneously on the table with geometric precision and an eye for symmetry.”

“There is one other historic fruit pie that deserves special mention: a pie made from an exotic, imported and therefore expensive fruit candied with expensive sugar. Orengeado is candied orange peel, and it was enormously popular from Elizabethan times until well into the eighteenth century.”

some interesting info I found in Pie: A Global History

May by Karel Hynek Mácha


“Until Macha, Czech poets and writers had privileged patriotism over aestheticism. And May is by no means a political or patriotic poem.”

“The Germanization of the Czech lands after the Hapsburg invasion of 1620 nearly destroyed Czech language and literature.. . It also exposed Czech nationalists to European intellectual and literary currents, which eventually allowed for a modernization of Czech verse. ”

“Macha also experimented with various degrees of onomatopoeia, setting the mood of a stanza through the sounds of the words, as when the prisoner’s chains thunder. He uses silence, as indicated by the long dash, as well as sound, as when the prisoner marks the passing of time with the sound of a water drop.”

“Like Vilem, Macha considered himself an outsider. He was preoccupied with questions of death and eternity, and he was obsessed with a woman of questionable honor. He also died young, just before his twenty-sixth birthday, on November 5, 1836.”

some interesting information from the introduction to May by Karel Macha