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Showing posts from June, 2014

Jan Gordon: Some Craftie Arts

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"Some Craftie Arts" by Jan Gordon was published in 1930. The dedication reads "To NETTA PEACOCK As a souvenir of our long standing friendship and of seat No. J7."

I remember being annoyed by this book when I first read it. The humour seemed forced and self conscious.

The idea though is quite entertaining. Browsing through the catalogue of the British Museum catalogue, Jan Gordon happens across the entries classified under "Art" and sees much potential for laughter. The dust jacket announces that "Mr. Gordon has made a strange, witty and instructive book from this material, giving at times almost Rabelaisian sidelights on centuries past and present."



To set the scene, Jan Gordon writes: "The catalogue of the British Museum Library stands like a rampart, double ringed about the citadel of the librarians, a monument to the cataloguer's art. Its function is to inform. The catalogue was not planned to amuse nor would the use of the library …

Jan and Cora Gordon: "Wanderings and Flight in the Land of Mud"

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In their introduction to the 1939 Penguin edition of their 1916 book "The Luck of Thirteen", Jan and Cora Gordon explain how the title of the book was changed, at the publisher's insistence, from their preferred "Wanderings and Flight in the Land of Mud" to "The Luck of Thirteen". The 1939 title of "Two Vagabonds in Serbia and Montenegro" was used to "bring it into line with our later books."

They wrote "On the Great Flight we, being still young and inexperienced, were perhaps too obsessed by the responsibility of getting the men of military age out of the country to avoid internment." As a result they "committed the indiscretion of leaving the main line of retreat, of discovering our own way between the retreating armies across to the coast and of arriving back in England some three or four weeks ahead of everybody else."

The "Great Flight", Serbia 1915, from "The Luck of Thirteen."

The sto…