Never mind the bollocks, here’s Rabelais
As I noted in a previous post on satirical pornography or pornographic satire, Rabelais‘s masterpiece Gargantua and Pantagruel is more emetic than erotic.
There is however a strain of eroticism to be found in Rabelais, a strain of the bawdy, ribald and burlesque variety, which dates back at its earliest to the Ancient Greek Milesian tale.
The Milesian tales are the earliest instances of erotic literature in the Western world. They directly influenced Apuleius‘ The Golden Ass, Petronius‘ Satyricon in antiquity. They were mentioned in Traitté de l’origine des romans. Aristidean saucy and disreputable heroes and spicy, fast-paced anecdote resurfaced in the medieval fabliaux. Chaucer‘s The Miller’s Tale is in Aristides’ tradition, as are some of the saltier tales in Boccaccio‘s Decameron or the Heptameron of Marguerite of Navarre and the later genre of the picaresque novel.
Googling for “buttocks” in Gargantua and Pantagruel five-book series. I came across the tale of Han Carvel’s ring and the blazon and counterblazon of the bollocks in the Third Book. I first mentioned the poetic genre blason here when I posted the Blazon of the Ugly Tit (1535) by Clément Marot.
Rabelais‘s blason and contreblason du couillon (Eng blason and counterblason of the bollock(s)) respectively sing the praise and disparagement of the male testicles. First, there is Panurge‘s blason in “How Panurge consulteth with Friar John of the Funnels“, then Frère Jean‘s contreblason in “How Friar John comforteth Panurge in the doubtful matter of cuckoldry“.
These rhapsodic lists and enumerations of adjectives are extremely poetic juxtapositions and show how the novel, which was a genre in its nascent state was allowed a maximum of formal and content-wise liberties. In this sense, 16th century literature is quite amazing.
The c. is short for couillons (bollocks).
Panurge‘s praise of the bollocks (275 adjectives):
- Mellow C. Varnished C. Resolute C.
- Lead-coloured C. Renowned C. Cabbage-like C.
- Knurled C. Matted C. Courteous C.
- Suborned C. Genitive C. Fertile C.
- Desired C. Gigantal C. Whizzing C.
- Stuffed C. Oval C. Neat C.
- Speckled C. Claustral C. Common C.
- Finely metalled C. Virile C. Brisk C.
- Arabian-like C. Stayed C. Quick C.
- Trussed-up Greyhound-like C. Massive C. Bearlike C.
- Manual C. Partitional C.
- Mounted C. Absolute C. Patronymic C.
- Sleeked C. Well-set C. Cockney C.
- Diapered C. Gemel C. Auromercuriated C.
- Spotted C. Turkish C. Robust C.
- Master C. Burning C. Appetizing C.
- Seeded C. Thwacking C. Succourable C.
- Lusty C. Urgent C. Redoubtable C.
- Jupped C. Handsome C. Affable C.
- Milked C. Prompt C. Memorable C.
- Calfeted C. Fortunate C. Palpable C.
- Raised C. Boxwood C. Barbable C.
- Odd C. Latten C. Tragical C.
- Steeled C. Unbridled C. Transpontine C.
- Stale C. Hooked C. Digestive C.
- full blason here
Frère Jean‘s disparagement of the bollocks (440 adjectives):
- Faded C. Louting C. Appellant C.
- Mouldy C. Discouraged C. Swagging C.
- Musty C. Surfeited C. Withered C.
- Paltry C. Peevish C. Broken-reined C.
- Senseless C. Translated C. Defective C.
- Foundered C. Forlorn C. Crestfallen C.
- Distempered C. Unsavoury C. Felled C.
- Bewrayed C. Worm-eaten C. Fleeted C.
- Inveigled C. Overtoiled C. Cloyed C.
- Dangling C. Miserable C. Squeezed C.
- Stupid C. Steeped C. Resty C.
- Seedless C. Kneaded-with-cold- Pounded C.
- Soaked C. water C. Loose C.
- Coldish C. Hacked C. Fruitless C.
- Pickled C. Flaggy C. Riven C.
- Churned C. Scrubby C. Pursy C.
- Filliped C. Drained C. Fusty C.
- Singlefied C. Haled C. Jadish C.
- Begrimed C. Lolling C. Fistulous C.
- Wrinkled C. Drenched C. Languishing C.
- Fainted C. Burst C. Maleficiated C.
- Extenuated C. Stirred up C. Hectic C.
- Grim C. Mitred C. Worn out C.
- Wasted C. Peddlingly furnished Ill-favoured C.
- Inflamed C. C. Duncified C.
- full counterblason here
Posted in 1001 things to do before you die, absurd, comedy, cult fiction, European culture, experimental, fantastique, fiction, French culture, genre, grotesque, humor, irrationalism, juxtapoetry, literature, poetry, subversion, surrealism, theory, transgression
“Stained Sheets” (1979) Lydia Lunch
“Stained Sheets” is World Music Classic #325
Dansen met de Dood
A friend lent me her copy of the book above, an excellent compendium of visuals of the perennial favourite dance of death theme. Dansen met de Dood is a Dutch language book on the iconography of dance of death by Johan De Soete, Harry Van Royen and Dirk Vanclooster. Dance of Death, also variously called Danse Macabre (French), Danza Macabra (Italian) or Totentanz (German), is a late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter one’s station in life, the dance of death unites all. La Danse Macabre consists of the personified death leading a row of dancing figures from all walks of life to the grave—typically with an emperor, king, pope, monk, youngster, beautiful girl, all skeletal. They were produced to remind people of how fragile their lives were and how vain the glories of earthly life were. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest artistic examples are in a cemetery (Cimetière des Innocents) in Paris from 1424.
The book was based on a 2008 exhibition in the Flemish city of Koksijde. It featured manuscripts of the Great Seminary in Bruges and the Catharijne convent in Utrecht, objects and graphic work by Wim Delvoye, Pierre Alechinsky, Paul Delvaux, Frans Masereel, James Ensor, Käthe Kollwitz, Félicien Rops and Hans Holbein.
The images below were new to me.
RIP Stanley Chapman (1925 – 2009)
Posted in absurd, anarchism, architecture, avant-garde, cult fiction, culture, experimental, eye candy, French culture, humor, irrationalism, literature, philosophy, poetry, postmodernism, subculture, subversion, surrealism, taste, transgression, underground
Posted in 1001 things to do before you die, anarchism, consumerism, death, European culture, politics, subculture, subversion, transgression, underground, underrated
Harvey Keitel (born May 13, 1939) is an American actor best-known for the “tough-guy” characters he portrays and for his memorable roles from Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, Ridley Scott’s The Duellists and Thelma and Louise, Jane Campion’s The Piano and Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant.
Bad Lieutenant (1992) – Abel Ferrara [Amazon.com]
But surely, his most unsettling film is the Bad Lieutenant by bad boy of American cinema Abel Ferrara.
The film is squarely located in the oasis of American cinema known as the NC-17 pond. Its thematics are religion, rape revenge and general hardboiled existentialism. Its protagonist is Keitel who is tagged as Gambler. Thief. Junkie. Killer. Cop. Keitel’s nameless character is a corrupt police lieutenant who, throughout the movie, is spiralling rapidly into various drug addictions, including cocaine and heroin. His lack of success at gambling reflects his lack of faith. The turning point in the film arrives when the Lieutenant investigates the rape of a nun and uses this as a chance to confront his inner demons and perhaps achieve redemption.
The film features male frontal nudity of Keitel, a rarity in American cinema.
Most recently, erotic photographer Roy Stuart, in his Roy Stuart, vol. 5 reenacted the scene when Keitel stops two young girls in their car, discovers that they have no driver’s license and forces one to bare her behind and the other to simulate fellatio, while he masturbates.
Werner Herzog is to release a similarly titled film in 2009: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans starring Nicolas Cage and Val Kilmer. According to Herzog, the film is not a remake of the original. In fact, Herzog claims to have never seen Bad Lieutenant, nor to know who Abel Ferrara is.
Bad Lieutenant is World Cinema Classic #101.
RIP James Kirkup
James Kirkup, FRSL (23 April 1918 – 10 May 2009) was a prolific English poet, translator and travel writer, best-known for his controversial poem The Love that Dares to Speak its Name, which describes a sexual fantasy of a homosexual soldier for the dead Christ.
The Dead Christ (1582) by Annibale Carracci
The Love that Dares to Speak its Name is written from the viewpoint of a Roman centurion who is graphically described having sex with Jesus after his crucifixion, and also claims that Jesus had had sex with numerous disciples, guards, and even Pontius Pilate. Its title The Love that Dares to Speak its Name was taken from a line in the poem “Two Loves” by Lord Alfred Douglas.
Lamentation over the Dead Christ (c. 1480) by Andrea Mantegna
- Dead Christ
In Western art, the death of Christ and its depiction is usually known by the term lamentation of Christ and it is a very common subject in Christian art from the High Middle Ages to the Baroque. After Jesus was crucified, his body was removed from the cross and his friends and family mourned over his body. This event has been depicted by many different artists.
Ruggero Deodato @70
Ruggero Deodato (born May 7 1939 in Potenza) is a controversial Italian film director, actor and screen writer, best known for his infamous 1980 film cannibal film Cannibal Holocaust.
Ruggero Deodato belongs to the same mantle that holds Joe D’Amato, Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Tinto Brass, Ruggero Deodato, Lucio Fulci, Riccardo Freda, Gualtiero Jacopetti, Sergio Leone, Antonio Margheriti and Bruno Mattei.
These were filmmakers of the pre-internet dark ages, the terra incognita of the 20th century, who exploited the ignorance of the general audience regarding prurient matters such as sex, drugs and rock and roll.
In 1979 Deodato started work on Mondo-style Cannibal Holocaust. Deodato caused massive controversy in Italy and the United Kingdom following the release of Cannibal Holocaust, which was accused to be a genuine snuff film. Deodato was forced to reveal the secrets behind the film’s impalement scene and to parade the lead actors before an Italian court in order to prove that they were still alive. More importantly, Deodato was harshly criticized for the use of real animal torture in his films. Deodato’s film license was then revoked and he would not get it back until three years later
Younger viewers may have spotted Ruggero as a client in the film Hostel: Part II.
See also Italian exploitation, Italian horror film, Italian film, cannibal films