Richard Kearney on Catharsis, Hauntings, Trauma:

“Writing can only work through traumas as traces revisited as hauntings. They can never fully retrieve experiences or tell the full story — fill in all the gaps….There is something always lost in translation…It was because it was too much that trauma repeats itself as lack.”

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: The Case Against Black Mirror By Kathryn VanArendonk

“The thing is, for all its conceptual complexity — for all of the surprise twists and third-act reversals, for all of the high-concept premises and alarming escalations, Black Mirror’s messages are usually pretty simple. Cell phones? Bad. Reality shows? Bad. Social media? Really bad. Politics as entertainment? Definitely bad, but not ultimately as disturbing as entertainment-style justice. Oh, sure, the setup and the execution of those ideas is impressive, but the show’s primary crutch is too often that it uses thought-provoking and fascinating foundations in order to reach the simplest, most alarmist possible conclusion about a variety of technological innovations.

In general, Black Mirror’s box of magic tricks is just that — a set of admittedly impressive narrative tricks that don’t result in much of substance.” [Via]


[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

Latin Literature as Meta Literature:

“Latin literature was already self-conscious when Ennius described Homer appearing to him in a dream and declaring that his soul was now in Ennius’ body… And indeed Latin authors produced from their self-awareness some of their most fascinating effects. There is a charm in the sense of belatedness,  the interplay of tradition and the original talent, an author’s exploration of his relationship with the literature of the past. But this laid trap into which some Roman writers, and rather more modern scholars, were to fall: there was a risk of literature becoming more about literature than about life, and even of being pleased when that occurred. We should perhaps be surprised that so many Latin writers succeed in overcoming that danger. ”  – Classical Literature, Richard Jenkyns, 2016.

BookTuber Tuesday – Starting the Classics


[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

“So the Iliad is not in fact the story of the Trojan War”

“So the Iliad is not in fact the story of the Trojan War, but of one short episode within its ten-year length. After Homer, the work was divided into twenty-four books. Books 2 and 23 of the Iliad cover a period of only three days; the first and last books extend the whole action to a few weeks. Such expansiveness seem to make Wagner feel terse; yet Matthew Arnold, poet and critic, famously described Homer as ’eminently rapid’. This is true in two senses. Although the grand narrative unfolds across an immense distance, the battle scenes are multiplicity of small incidents; there is no lingering. The speeches too are fast and forceful; the longest of them, Achilles’ explosion in Book 9, is furious in its pace….”  – Classical Literature, Richard Jenkyns, 2016.

From ‘Forgery fiction: literature’s fascination with fake art’

‘Ever since Aestheticism’s mantra of art for art’s sake, capital-A Art has kept its distance from the taint of money, even though they have always been attached by what the critic Clement Greenberg once called “an umbilical cord of gold.” The canonization of an artistic masterpiece often goes hand in hand with its removal as a commodity from the market. In the hallowed halls of a national museum, artworks become sacred and exceptional. We want to believe that something as universally appreciated as a Michelangelo or as privately meaningful as a family heirloom is “priceless,” but the market is as blind to aesthetics as it is to sentimental value.’ [Via]

On Ovid’s Metamorphoses:

“It is hard to be sure how much Ovid is in control of his own effects. Is it that he cannot resist a clever turn of phrase, as some readers already thought in antiquity? Or is it the ethos of the poem that cheerfulness should keep breaking in? But perhaps this uncertainty is part of the tease.

The Metamorphoses was very widely read in the Middle Ages and after, and it thus became for many centuries Europe’s chief source for classical mythology: Ovid’s, essentially, are the gods who crowd those Renaissance canvases and sprawl across those Baroque ceilings. It is easy, therefore, to get the impression that classical mythology was normally like this, but it was no. Ovid’s way of handling the gods was new. We have seen Aristophanes making fun of them, but still with the sense that at the back of it all that they are real and powerful beings. Ovid turns them into counters in a game’ he invites the reader, as a sophisticate like himself, to look down upon them, a little as Theocritus invited his friend to look down on Polyphemus, but with less human sympathy. The game is to suck all the numen out of them. An Olympian god is turned into an awkwardly boastful swain, a goddess into a naive ingenue.

Some of the humour is cheerfully broad. When Daphne is fleeing from Apollo, he suggests to her that if she runs more slowly he will pursue more slowly too; it is as though the pursuit were a game played for the reader’s amusement. (Ovid also notices that she looks even prettier in flight.) Apollo also boasts of the important places where is is worshiped and points out that Jupiter is his father. Jupiter himself, courting the maiden Io, observes that he is not one of your plebeian gods but the one who holds the sceptre and launches the thunderbolts. Sometimes the humour is slyer: when one of the nymphs, ravished by a god, becomes pregnant, the virgin goddess Diana is too innocent to realize what has happened. Ovid adds wryly, ‘The nymphs are said to have noticed.’

His account of Daedalus and Icarus shows his narrative at its most engaging. The tale of the youth who flew too high, so that the wax of his wings melted and he fell to his death, lends itself to either of two morals: on disobedience (his father, Daedalus, had told him not to), or on pride (flying too high). For a moment it seems that Ovid will take the moral path: Daedalus tells his son to take the middle course, for whereas the sun is a danger if he goes too high, if he goes too low over the sea the spray will weigh the wings down. This sounds like a metaphor for the idea of virtue as the mean between two opposite virtues. But Ovid gestures at this possibility only to toss it aside. He makes Icarus a child, an innocent: the picture of him getting in his inventor father’s way as he works on the wings in charmingly done. And Icarus flies high because he is ‘touched with desire for heaven’; that is sheer glorious aspiration, and we can hardly resist it. But as we are preparing to shed a tear Ovid suddenly turns the tale into a just so story (why the partridge flies low to the ground), and Daedalus turns from sympathetic victim into a past murderer. There was a partridge in a bush by the place where he was burying his son; and by strange coincidence it had previously been his nephew, Partridge, whom he had killed from jealousy by throwing him from the Acropolis in Athens, which is why the bird avoids heights. The switch from heroic myth to animal fable, from sentiment to quaintness, is deliberately incongruous. It is easy to think of a smoother way of moving from Icarus to Partridge, but Ovid prefers the comic deflation.” – Classical Literature, Richard Jenkyns, 2016.


Infantilized versions of their siblings’ older selves…

  1. lil’ Afflec  
  2. lil’ Franco 
  3. lil’ Olsen 
  4. lil’ Fanning 
  5. lil Deschanel 


Who did we miss on this list?


EpicGif{Add to the EPIC CATALOG by commenting below.}

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.


Much claws. Much redemption for other Wolverine movies. Much wow.

Social Medea: Play of the Western Canon


#TBT – The Old Westworld

That time the guy who would write Jurassic Park thought up this equally dysfunctional theme park. 1973.

BookTuber Tuesday – Classical Literature


[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

Social Medea: The Male-dominated World

{{Boys and girls of all ages}}


GIF of the week:

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: The Alchemist Cookbook

It is weird. Strange. Odd.

And good.

This unclassifiable miniature involving a man in a trailer in the woods trying to contact the Dark Lord is as funny and distinctive as it is near-plotless.’ [via]

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

Happy Indie Author Day 2016!

indieauthordayTo celebrate, why not share some indie love by promoting an indie book or author? Or, you could read an indie book!

We suggest (cough, cough) THE AUTOMATION. It’s free to read in its entirety on Goodreads.

Social Medea: Peter Stein’s 2005 production

{{Have your fortune foretold}}

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: First episode of Westworld 2016

Watch iiiiiit.

Is ‘Westworld’ HBO’s Next Big Hit?

#TBT – EW’s article on ‘The Writer Without a Face’

‘In an era of reality TV and noxious cycles of dubious fame, Ferrante believes the work should stand on its own. She will only submit to interviews over email, going so far as to turn down a meaty profile opportunity in The New Yorker when the magazine insisted on an in-person interview. “Without reserve,” Ferrante wrote me in an email exchange, “I can say that my entire identity is in the books I write.”

The Neapolitan books reek of lived moments, and when asked about the series’ inspiration Ferrante said she intentionally named one of her main characters after her pseudonym. ” I gave my name to the narrator to make my job easier,” she wrote. “Anyone who writes knows that the most complicated thing is the rendering of events and characters in such a way that they are not realistic but real. In order for this to happen it is necessary to believe in the story one is working on…. I had a friend whom I cared for very much, and I began from that experience. But real events don’t count much when one writes; at most they are like getting shoved while out on the street.”‘


EPIC CATALOG: Authors Anonymous Accosted

  1. Adrian Jones PearsonCow Country
  2. Elena Ferrante.
  3. Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo’s Calling
  4. James Tiptree, Jr. 

Any other authors who have had their poor pen names prodded, versus the author sharing the secret of their own volition?


The Influential Science Fiction of Virginia Woolf


Check Your Facts

Virginia Woolf, arguably one of the most famous female authors of the 20th century, is best known for her novels that experimented with stream-of-consciousness and the underlying psychological as well as emotional motives of characters.  Less well known are the early pseudo-science-fiction works that Woolf wrote under the pen name E V Odle, however in recent years it is these works that have arguably had more influence on popular culture.

Woolf was born in 1882 and showed a talent for writing from a very early age; however her first book The Voyage Out was not published until she was 33 in 1915.  For the next few years she enjoyed mixed success as a novelist (not enjoying mainstream recognition under her own name until 1925’s Mrs Dalloway) and so as a way to supplement her income wrote a number of short stories and novels to be published in popular magazines and…

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GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Why the TLS would not have named Elena Ferrante by STIG ABELL

‘Ferrante didn’t “apparently” wish for her identity not to be known, as Gatti guiltily avers.  She was explicit about it; and repeatedly so.  She said this to the Guardian, for example:

The wish to remove oneself from all forms of social pressure or obligation. Not to feel tied down to what could become one’s public image. To concentrate exclusively and with complete freedom on writing and its strategies.

So there are artistic reasons for her anonymity. As a paper whose chief purpose is to defend the importance of the humanities, it would be abhorrent as well as self-defeating to ignore this writer’s clearly delineated withdrawal of consent.

I, too, would have been uneasy about the gender politics of all this.  Ferrante has talked about “male power, whether violently or delicately imposed, still bent on subordinating us”, and – while I am sure this was neither the motivation of Gatti or the NYRB – there is the regrettable, sulphurous whiff of a female artist being “mansplained” here.  We may never know all of the reasons for Ferrante’s desired anonymity, but it is dangerous to assume they are simple and straightforward.

All this is easy for me to say now, of course, with hindsight and not having been offered the piece.  But, ultimately, Gatti’s is not an important work of journalism: intellectually, ethically or artistically.  He didn’t need to investigate this; and the NYRB – and others – shouldn’t have published it.’