“Artichoke” wallpaper, by John Henry Dearle for William Morris & Co.
As I’ve mentioned, I travelled to China over the holidays, to visit my daughter Bonnie.
On holiday , and practically only then, I read.
My finest read this trip was Michel Houellebecq‘s De koude revolutie. One of the most enigmatic essays in that collection is “Sortir du XXe siècle” (2000), the title of which translates as “Leaving the 20th Century”, but which has, to my knowledge, not been translated into English.
Alain Jessua was a French film director and screenwriter who directed ten films between 1956 and 1997.
Léon la lune (1956), a film documenting the life of the ‘clochard‘ of the title, was Alain Jessua’s first film and it won the influential Prix Jean Vigo in 1957. The short film was inspired by Jean-Paul Clébert’s book Paris insolite (1952), the first of a series of realist photojournalistic books depicting the underworld in Paris. Clébert’s friends Jacques Yonnet and Robert Giraud wrote their own tales of the vagabond life on the streets of Paris; Yonnet wrote Paris Noir (1954), and Giraud’s Le Vin des rues (1955). The three frequented the same haunts as the youths of Letterist International, and this scene would become the subject of Ed van der Elsken’s photonovel Love on the Left Bank (1956), the most popular depiction of Parisian bohemian bar life.
Jessua first came to my attention for his “pop art film” The Killing Game (1967, above), a collaboration with the late Belgian illustrator Guy Peellaert.
Over the weekend, while visiting a Robert Doisneau exhibition (he also did montages/collages!), I wound up in the permanent collection of the Museum of Ixelles and was surprised by Beached Fish (1643) by Dutch painter Frans Rijckhals (above). The painting is somewhat surreal as the fish (and the lobster to its right) is clearly oversized in comparison to the people in the left hand bottom corner.
“Des chrétiens ont ainsi forgé, de A à Z, le vocabulaire scientifique arabe. Telle fut notamment l’oeuvre de Hunayn ibn Ishaq (809-873), le véritable créateur de la terminologie médicale arabe, dont le génie consista non seulement à décalquer des mots grecs et à les «arabiser» en leur donnant une sonorité arabe (philosophia devenant falsafa) …”.
“Thus Christians have forged the Arab scientific vocabulary from A to Z. That was the nature of the work of Hunayn ibn Ishaq (809-873), the true creator of Arab medical terminology, whose genius not only consisted in the calquing of Greek words and to “arabize” them by giving them an Arabic sound (philosophia becoming falsafa) … “
“La conclusion est claire : l’Orient musulman doit presque tout à l’Orient chrétien. Et c’est cette dette que l’on passe souvent sous silence de nos jours, tant dans le monde musulman que dans le monde occidental.”
“The conclusion is clear: the Muslim East owes almost everything to the Christian East, and it is this debt that is often overlooked today, both in the Muslim world and in the Western world.”