Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Book of Miracles From Noah to Plagues of Locusts by Richard Davies

The Book of Miracles is perhaps not the right name. 'The book of biblical drama and things we don't understand' may be a better title. This beautiful book about a book is published by Taschen. It contains a facsimile of a mysterious manuscript from the 16th century along with two modern essays of explanatory comment on the history, meaning and importance of this manuscript. The book is a typical Taschen heavyweight production with trilingual text in English, French and German.

The illustrated manuscript was unearthed in 2007 after centuries of obscurity. The original document features illustrations of famous biblical stories - like Noah's Ark and Moses parting the Red Sea - plus numerous historical 'happenings' that were simply beyond the comprehension of Renaissance Europe such as comets and eclipses, floods and storms, earthquakes, malformed animals, plagues, and monsters.
"The Book of Miracles carries many reports of unnatural colours seen in the skies being followed by a catastrophe. A blood red moon, for example, announced a devastating earthquake in Italy."
Each scene is identified through a caption written in German identifying the biblical source, or the event and its date. Taschen doesn't show us the manuscript itself but we learn it was rebound in the 19th century. The book's interpretation of Europe's dramatic events shows how news travelled across the continent and was assumed to be fact, no matter how outlandish it appears now. For instance, dragons flew over Bohemia for several days in 1533 and a spring of blood welled up from the ground in 1550 between Halle and Meissen. There were locusts in Poland, fiery symbols above Lisbon, and an epic bizarre creature in Rome (part donkey, part lizard with a human face on its butt). Celestial events are the most dominant theme.

Augsburg was at the center of numerous European trade routes at the time and stories would arrive in the city by word of mouth from travelers and merchants, and early printed documents.
The original manuscript begins with Noah's Ark from Genesis and ends with the fall of Babylon from Revelation. The book's illustrations are special with many beautiful blues, reds and yellows. Some of the illustrations were apparently inspired by existing etchings and woodcuts by Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein the Younger. We do not know who commissioned the book, or supplied the artwork.

The book reappeared in in 2007 at a German auction house, and was promptly bought by a British dealer called James Faber, who sold it to a private collector. Taschen then arranged to produce this facsimile version. Eye-catching and dreadful at the same time, this book about a book is a fascinating insight into Renaissance culture... and fear of the unknown.
Find copies of The Book of Miracles SHOP NOW

10 More Taschen Books

Browse Collections of Books about the Renaissance


Sun that sheds rich mellow beams;
Misty hills with golden gleams;
Ripe red fruit in emerald hung;
Empty nests where birdlings swung;
Trailing vines with crimson leaves;
Silence now beneath the eaves,
Where swallows sung from morn till night
A summer song of sweet delight.
Brown nuts scattered o'er the ground;
And now and then a rustling sound
Tells that a squirrel up aloft
Has dropped a nut he has nibbled oft,
For here upon its hardy shell
We see the print we know full well
Was made by squirrel's little tooth,--
Made by him all in vain, forsooth.
This dark, rich moss upon the tree
Is dark and rich as moss may be,
And to the touch it velvet is,
So soft, so fine and silky, 'tis.
Warm coat it makes for sturdy Oak,
To shield his heart from winter's stroke,
And hard it seems to use the knife;
But we with mischief now are rife.
Bright leaves we gather one by one,
Like gems beneath a tropic sun.
Golden brown with specks of red,
Scarlet leaves by sumac shed,
Green with amber shades of light,
Maple-leaves all golden bright,--
They'd make a crown so rich and rare,
It would do for any king to wear.
The sun declines towards the hill,
And sheds his rays upon the mill,
Embedded soft in verdure light,
Reflected in the water bright,
As real landscape was below,
With real sunbeams all aglow;
While ripples circle here and there,
As leaflets drop from branches fair.
by: Watie W. Swanzy

Thursday, 12 October 2017


Once again they’re on top of our list
They make wonderful decorations
They shine with strength and glory
They’ve made their declaration
They are out in the fields in abundance
Their adorable little orange heads
Cleaned and carved and lit
As little kids snuggle in their beds
They’re chopped and smashed and spiced
Then plopped into a bed of dough
Baked until they are golden brown
Oh, we do love those pumpkin pies so
We see them everywhere we go
At this festive time of year
And even made so ugly that
They bring a flicker of fear
So stop and enjoy them, my friends
And the entire message they send
Fun and smiles and wonderful tastes
The delicious and exciting pumpkins!
Marilyn Lott
Art Montse Rubio

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Kazuo Ishiguro: Worthy of a Nobel Prize

Kazuo Ishiguro has won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature. He is best known for the novels The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, both of which have been turned into films.
Although he has only written eight books, his writing have been widely translated and acclaimed by readers and critics around the world. Winning the Nobel comes with around $1.1 million in prize money, and a lasting legacy.
Born in Japan in 1954, Ishiguro's family moved to Britain when he was five and he went on to study English and philosophy at the University of Kent.

Books by Nobel Price-winner Kazuo Ishiguro

He then studied creative writing at the University of East Anglia, where his tutors included author Malcolm Bradbury. His MA thesis was turned into his first novel, A Pale View of Hills, published in 1982. The novel is about a Japanese woman living in England struggling to come to terms with the death of her daughter.
Ishiguro won the Booker Prize in 1989 for The Remains of the Day. It tells the story of a butler whose employer was a Nazi sympathizer. The Booker victory confirmed his standing as a leading light in a new generation of British novelists.
Published in 2005, Never Let Me Go tells the story a group of students at a boarding school living in a dystopian future. The film version starred Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan. Never Let Me Go turned Ishiguro into an international superstar in literary circles.
Ishiguro has a distinct writing style featuring restrained prose. His novels are often narrated in the first person by unreliable narrators. Like many great writers, what isn't said on the page is what really matters in his plots. The reader needs to grasp the difference between perception and reality. He has an acute grasp of Britain's lingering class system.
He is comfortable switching between genres. His latest book, The Buried Giant, was published in 2015 and is a fantasy story set in Arthurian Britain. The Unconsoled is a surreal-like novel about a pianist in an unnamed European city. When We Were Orphans could be considered a detective novel.
Ishiguro was named an OBE in 1995. Past winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature include T.S. Eliot, Samuel Beckett, Alice MunroSaul BellowErnest HemingwayGabriel García Márquez and Toni Morrison. Musician Bob Dylan was the controversial winner in 2016.

Friday, 6 October 2017

~ Moon Tea ~

Let's pour a cup of moon tea
Imbued with sugar stars
And sit in pools of candlelight
Embracing who we are
The fragrance of alluring scents
Shall steep a spellbound room
Sweet melodies shall stir our souls
Beneath a florid moon
Let's glance into our futures
In pools of cosmic cups
And post the stars our hopes and Dreams, before the night gives up
Let's pour a cup of Moon tea
Laden with frosted spells
Tonight, we'll reap a paradise
And wave our woes farewell
© 2016 Amelia Dashwood