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Digest 2010-04-19

 litsci-l Digest - Mon, 19 Apr 2010

Table of contents:
1. New memoir by Stephen Spotte, The Smoking Horse - Joe Amato 
2. possible SLSA Session: Dali and Optics, Spatial Illusion, and
Perception post-1940 - 


Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2010 12:42:45 -0500
From: Joe Amato 
Subject: New memoir by Stephen Spotte, The Smoking Horse

The Smoking Horse: A Memoir in Pieces
by Stephen Spotte
SUNY Press, Excelsior Editions
Price: $19.95
Hardcover - 195 pages
Release Date: March 2010
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3139-0

In The Smoking Horse, marine biologist Stephen Spotte recounts his 
youth from the mid-1950s through the turbulent 1960s. After growing 
up in a coal camp in southern West Virginia, he was expelled from a 
Maryland boarding school and over four summers lived a bohemian life 
in Beach Haven, New Jersey, working variously as a lifeguard, 
clamdigger, dishwasher, laborer, and milkman. Beach Haven in the 
early sixties was a riotous community of artists, musicians, drunks, 
junkies, and those who had simply fallen through life's cracks. It 
was, someone said, a seaside Greenwich Village, and in fact it became 
a weekend destination for New York City bohemians abandoning the hot 
summer sidewalks to mill with itinerant beach bums, boat jockeys, New 
Jersey pineys, and Philadelphia hipsters.

It was here that Spotte began a lifelong study of literature and the 
sea, always with an ear to life's fractured melodies. Torn between 
art and empiricism, he haunted Greenwich Village coffee shops, 
listening to beat poets, and New York's jazz scene, where ragged 
sages claimed enlightenment in Coltrane's sax. Following stints as a 
deckhand in the West Indies, he returned to college and trained to 
become a biologist. His professional life began in Niagara Falls, New 
York, where the Great Lakes were dying after years of pollution, the 
citizens struggling to breathe air reminiscent of the coal camps.

The end of Spotte's story finds him separated from his wife and 
wandering alone in the Mexican dry forest astride a skeletal, 
marijuana-dependent horse and trailed by a stray dog, still seeking 
the mythical place where reason and revelation intersect.

"As memoir, this book illustrates beautifully how a talent for 
empirical observation advances the aims of prose narrative. What 
ultimately emerges is a subtle disquisition on the relationship 
between the scientific mind and its literary executor." - Joe Amato, 
author of Once an Engineer: A Song of the Salt City

Stephen Spotte is Adjunct Scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory in 
Sarasota, Florida. He is the author of Bluegills: Biology and 
Behavior; Zoos in Postmodernism: Signs and Simulation; Candiru: Life 
and Legend of the Bloodsucking Catfishes; and Home is the Sailor, 
Under the Sea: Mermaid Stories. He lives in Longboat Key, Florida.


Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2010 15:32:12 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: possible SLSA Session: Dali and Optics, Spatial Illusion, and
Perception post-1940

** Warning: Message part originally used character set UTF-8
   Some characters may be lost or incorrect **

I???m interested in putting together a session on Salvador Dali and his
crossovers with science, literature, and art post-1940 through issues
perception.  Here is a rough title and description of the session:

Dali Vision: Optics, Perception, and Spatial Illusion in the Art and
of Salvador Dali (post-1940)

Salvador Dali is well-known for his optical illusions, most notably
produced through his paranoiac-critical method and use of anamorphosis
painting.  This session looks beyond these endeavors into the vast realm
Dali???s output after his association with Surrealism.  From the
onward, Dali explored various scientific theories about the nature and
perception of reality through visual art that incorporated aspects of
physics, stereoscopy, holograms, etc. He also wrote novels and essays
acknowledged recently by certain scholars as sophisticated,
works of literature with highly ???visual??? properties.  How do these
endeavors break with, continue, or complicate Dali???s lifelong
interests in
optics, spatial illusionism, and perception?  What scientific, literary,
artistic sources drove these fascinations?  Where and how do these
investigations fit within the larger discourses of science, art, and
in the second half of the twentieth century?  

My own proposal, ???Double Vision: Dali???s Stereoscopic Paintings,
Illusion, and Dutch Baroque Art,??? explores Dutch Baroque art as an
influence on Dali???s stereoscopic paintings, and discusses his
experiments in
stereoscopic illusion as a continuation of a lifelong interest in
twinning, as
well as an attempt to paint ???in space.???

Please send a proposal through email (250 words) and a title.  If there
enough interest within the scope of the topic I will refine the session
submission.  Deadline is April 30, 2010.


Thanks in advance,

Jonathan Wallis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art
Department of Liberal Arts
Moore College of Art & Design
Philadelphia, PA



End of Mon, 19 Apr 2010 litsci-l digest.