japonisme: for the children? • (the calendars)

22 April 2010

for the children? • (the calendars)

UNTIL TODAY, ALL of the calendars i've posted have been, quite unintentionally, for adults. today we begin a break from that,
though who will ever agree as to where that line really falls?

THE STORIES OF hans christian andersen have been discussed here before. notably, an entire storybook was featured, with illustrations by theo van hoytema. numerous others, also illustrators of andersen's tales, have been mentioned, including harry clarke, edmund dulac, arthur rackham, w heath robinson, maxwell armfield, mable lucie attwell, charles robinson, and many, many more.

THIS TIME WE have carl otto czeschka, member of the wiener werkstatte. though these images are drawn from andersen's tales,
i think we might question who the expected audience might be.

BUT WHO WAS this master storyteller that inspired all of the
brightest lights of the golden age of book illustration?
was he this, as danny kaye portrayed him?

uhhh...., no.

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN was the ugly duckling, and he was also the little mermaid. reports ubiquitously describe his unhappy childhood, with his huge beak of a nose, he was usually alone. even as an adult, his state remained solitary.

WHAT IS THE first thing you always wonder about mermaids?
is it,"how do they do it?"? yeah, i thought so; me too.
well, neither did mr andersen. biographies describe instead
a lonely man burned with a continual series of unrequited passions,
for both women and men. virginity as syrup to sweeten
children's stories. little mermaid, indeed. imagine really seeing
yourself as that creature with her legs fused together.

SO THAT LEADS one to wonder at the grand, lasting popularity of the stories. need for love, of course. basic for everyone. so what else is new? well, there is one other thing that to me fills in some of the remaining gaps, to question.

IN ADDITION TO andersen's unconsummated bisexuality, there is common speculation to his condition of asperger's syndrome, more difficult to prove from a nearly 200-year remove than those things
love letters can prove. but it would make sense.

WHILE ASPERGER'S IS perhaps best known for 'being on the autism spectrum,' few know what even that means, let alone all of the very important specifics. writers with asperger's have shown clearly that it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with curtailment of language skills. in fact the 'aspie's' ability to concentrate on minutiae endlessly reminds me of a poet i once knew who told me of the hundreds
of times she'd rewritten her ten-line poem.

BUT THERE'S ANOTHER thing: you may not know it, but you have
a gene that teaches you the rules of being a member of a group,
large, or even just two people. for aspies, that gene is different.
they, we, just do not hear conversation in the same way non-aspies do.
social interactions are also experienced differently.
they may, however, notice whole dimensions of things that go
unnoticed in the everyday for most people.
think temple grandin/ dr doolittle.

IMAGINE BEING AN ugly duckling who grows up still not getting much of the human interaction going on around you, and at the same time have a mind addicted to wonder. what better recipe for fairy tales, to fill up the gaps with the fancy? the happy ending is always better than the unanswered question; how much of all creativity is the simple act of 'filling holes,' answering one's own questions? and everyone else's?

are you still ready to say that andersen wrote stories for children?

but who better to inspire calendars?! another one next.

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17 Comments:

Blogger A.Decker said...

Very good. Love the images, which alone would make one wonder about the placement of that line you spoke of.
And your text has me wondering: can someone have maybe a "touch" of that aspie thing?

22 April, 2010 22:19  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

so happy to see you! my guess would be that people fall on every degree of the spectrum. from, according to many pieces i've seen, bill gates to the stereotyped kid , sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth, hitting his head on the wall, and not meeting anyone's eyes.

they just don't know that much. only 20 years ago they were blaming it on a "refrigerator mother." enter the human genome project.

23 April, 2010 07:21  
Anonymous evan said...

Mermaids...legs fused together...but, if you look at some of the ancient/medieval images of mermaids, they are bi-pedal, er, finned, so (we might suppose) capable of "doing it" in the traditional sense. Otherwise, I'd guess they'd procreate the way fish do...lay eggs, then a merman would swim over &, uh, contribute his side of the gene pool nearby, & they'd swim like the dickens, & fertilize the eggs.

Czeschka. One of my all-time favorites. I'm such an addict of his work, I keep going on-line to see if anything new has been posted. I found an amazing blog that posted the complete Nibelung-

www.szecesszio.com Nov 2009

23 April, 2010 08:41  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

gee--the fish way sounds like so much fun...... not.

yeah--i wish there were more of his graphics online. i had to scan most of these out of an old book -- in black and white. and i left out a couple that weren't shot so well to begin with.

but since i knew his colors, and the LACMA has the set, but doesn't show but describes the inks used, i transformed the rest, guessing where the colors went.

23 April, 2010 11:55  
Blogger Princess Haiku said...

I love these blue images; especially the mermaid. I think we can safely say that the fairy tales were written for people's "inner child." A gorgeous post.

24 April, 2010 18:36  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks princess -- that's such a great comment!

(& i really like the mermaid too)

24 April, 2010 21:57  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

for a.d. and anyone else who might be interested, wired magazine online has posted the definitive 'do you have asperger's" test. it's here. i think another thing that it might answer is the question about the degrees to which this can occur.

25 April, 2010 11:31  
Blogger A.Decker said...

Thank you, thank you. 'Cause info you related about it here seriously gave me pause to wonder.

You're a treasure, Lotus, as always.

25 April, 2010 18:01  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

gosh..... :^)

you know -- to me, it feels more like a gift than an affliction, though i'll admit that i wish they'd figured this stuff out sooner because reading about it, essentially every single question i've carried from the past has been answered! (well, maybe except why kieth schwarz asked jill robinson to the prom instead of me)

25 April, 2010 18:22  
Blogger A.Decker said...

I've bookmarked the test.

I had no date to the prom either. Went to it anyway, but that's another story... ;-)

"to me, it feels more like a gift than an affliction..."

From what I've gatherd, I second that.

<3

26 April, 2010 00:12  
Blogger r8r said...

a wonderful little essay, and very perceptive, I think.
thought-trails like this make your art blog a cut above!

26 April, 2010 07:36  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

my goodness, what a kind thing to say. thank you.

"though-trails" -- great phrase,seemsto put it exactly right

26 April, 2010 10:05  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

AD-- feel free to email if you have any ???s

nameofthisblog then the word 'blog' (all one word) (at) gmail

26 April, 2010 10:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice break!
Excellent images ! Thanks!

29 April, 2010 20:30  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

you're welcome! and thank you!

29 April, 2010 20:32  
Blogger Dominic Bugatto said...

Damn those are fine.

09 May, 2010 19:19  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

takes one to know one, dominic

09 May, 2010 19:35  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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