Recommended reading: The Awl takes a look at the “attempt to create a completely logical, absolutely universal language,” which goes about as well as you’d expect (read: not very).
The Guardian reports that the British Library has made its archive of world and traditional music available online. And it’s free for everyone. What might you hear? “There are Geordies banging spoons, Tawang lamas blowing conch shell trumpets and Tongan tribesman playing nose flutes. And then there is the Assamese woodworm feasting on a window frame in the dead of night.” You might also check out the British Museum’s free online image database. Here you’ll find thousands of images of paintings, etchings, drawings, and artifacts from every country and era of human history, easily searchable by era, country, artist, or subject. In using the database for dissertation research, I also found copyright permissions relatively easy to acquire.
A striking photo of the Brontё sisters is not, in fact, a photo of the Brontё sisters. The women in the photo look a lot like them, but their hometown didn’t have much in the way of photography in the 1840s, and there isn’t any record of the Brontёs getting their photo taken. So how did the picture become known for being something it isn’t? At the LRB’s blog, Alice Spawls explains why. Pair with our own Edan Lepucki on Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester.
A moving tribute to Ray Bradbury on The Paris Review Daily from his one time fact checker Stephen Andrew Hiltner: “Ray Bradbury, who never went to college and was entirely library educated, had what so many of the sophisticated, MFA-carrying writers today lack: passion, vitality, emotional awareness.” Also: Wired has collected a bunch of reminiscences from science fiction writers, including Ursula K. Le Guin.
Happy Halloween! At the New Yorker, the winners of the dress your pet as a literary character contest. Don’t miss the honorable mentions (I’m partial to the feline Moby Dick).