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Posted on January 4, 2020 by Editor

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First Illustrated Book Found

from The Observer

The Oldest Copy of the First Illustrated Book Has Been Discovered in Egypt

By Helen Holmes

Detail from one of the coffins of Gua, chief physician of Djehutyhotep, governor of Bersha. The paintings recall drawings from the Book of Two Ways. Werner Forman/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

It’s always exciting when some kind of human civilizational first is discovered or unearthed by experts, as evidenced by the thrill generated by a recent discovery of cave paintings, thought to be the earliest example of pictorial storytelling, which were uncovered Indonesia. Now, a new study covered this week by the New York Times reports that the oldest copy of the first illustrated book has been found in Egypt by researchers working under the direction of University of Leuven Egyptologist Harco Willems.

Called the Book of Two Ways, the extraordinary narrative told in the tome is about what happens to the soul after death. It’s been dated to be approximately 4,000 years old and at least 4 decades older than any of the other known copies, of which there are approximately two dozen. The text was discovered in a village on the eastern side of the Nile river after Willems’ decision in 2012 to reopen and study the contents of a burial shaft once looted and long abandoned. A detailed report of the findings were published in The Journal of Egyptian Archeology’s September edition.

[ click to continue reading at The Observer ]

Posted on January 3, 2020 by Editor

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Steinbeck’s Knickknacks

from The Observer

John Steinbeck’s Weirdest Knickknacks Are Going Up for Auction in February

By Helen Holmes

John Steinbeck smoking a cigarette at his home in Sag Harbor, Long Island. Getty Images

Within the context of an ultra-modern 21st century that’s increasingly aware of the cultural dominance of white male authors and intent upon dismantling this hegemony, John Steinbeck epitomizes the figure of the 20th century Great American Novelist. He was a profuse chronicler of this country’s underclass and a sprawlingly observant study of human characteristics, and he also based his most evil character, Cathy Ames, upon his ex-wife, a former nightclub singer named Gwyn Conger. Based on recent evidence, it’s also clear that Steinbeck was a fan of deeply weird knickknacks: on February 27, the author’s birthday, a great deal of items formerly owned by the writer of East of Eden will go up for sale under the outfit Curated Estates, which obtained the objects via Steinbeck’s descendants.

Many of the belongings that will be going up for auction feel typical to prolific writers: letters, autographed books and photographs are all among Steinbeck’s collection. Elaine Steinbeck, the author’s third wife, had kept all of these items secure within her estate. However, Steinbeck was also an eccentric who had an affinity for weird home decor. The author held onto a lock of his own hair from when he was a baby, a tiny coffin containing a hummingbird wrapped in multicolored string that was made for him by a witch doctor in Mexico, and a trash basket made out of an elephant’s foot. (Clearly, the author was no staunch conservationist). However, Steinbeck was also in possession of a society invitation that spoke to his influence and popularity: a telegram from John F. Kennedy, inviting him to attend the latter’s 1961 Presidential inauguration.

[ click to continue reading at The Observer ]

Posted on January 2, 2020 by Editor

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Posted on January 1, 2020 by Editor

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