March 3rd, 2005


Queneau at work

Source: Bib. Nat.
de France
The Bibliothèque Nationale presents the Traité des Vertus démocratiques of Raymond Queneau, written in 1937 but published only in 1993. The site includes an analysis of the text and, of most interest, a facsimile of the notebook in which Queneau worked on the Traité. A section entitled “Repères” provides details on the sources and literary forms used in the Traité; information on surrealism, pataphysics, and other intellectual currents of the period; and a brief biography of Queneau. A final section, the Atelier, contains a series of exercises inspired by the Traité and the rest of Queneau’s œuvre. The presentation of the Traité is one of several dozen “explorations”, or brief surveys of literary and cultural topics, in the pedagogical section of the BNF. Others include the Four Ages of Life in medieval literature, the architectural projects of Étienne-Louis Boullée, the Paris of Zola, and the poems of Nezāmī.

IP gone wild

Will Shetterly at It’s all one thing shows what will happen if the protection of intellectual property and the extension of copyright continue their recent trend. See “The People Who Owned the Bible”. The only quibble I would have is that McDonald’s would almost certainly grab the rights to Macbeth. On the other hand, one unintended but welcome consequence would be that people who quote the Bible on behalf of the Republicans would have to pay for the privilege. Excerpt:
It was time for another Mickey Mouse Copyright Extension to keep Disney’s star property out of the public domain. Somebody’s nephew had a bright idea. Instead of telling Congress to add the standard twenty years to the length of copyright, why not go for the big time? Extend copyright by 500 years.
Somebody’s niece added a smarter reason: A 500 year extension would let Disney track down Shakespeare’s heirs and buy all rights to the Bard. No matter how much the heirs wanted, the deal would pay for itself in no time.