L’allure de liste: The Look of a List

by Martha Rust

Is it right to call a collection of images or things a list? In an early Listology post, “Ten Essentials for hiking,” we raised this question and in subsequent posts, “#adorablepets: Why Instagram Loves Lists” and “Lists and/as Artworks,” we answered it with a resounding “yes.” Following those entries, my own “Two Lists of Labors in Honor of Labor Day” and a “A list on the work of things” took the propriety of both “visual lists” and lists of things all but for granted. 

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List Restoration: An Interview With Athena Kirk

When asked to name the most famous and also oldest and longest list in literature, many a listophile would choose Homer’s catalogue of ships in the Iliad, and we would probably be correct. But would any of us have a sense of what an infinitesimal fraction of ancient Greek lists Homer’s ship list represents? Athena Kirk’s book Ancient Greek Lists: Catalogue and Inventory Across Genres (Cambridge University Press, 2021) raises the curtain on the multitudinous lists produced by the list-loving culture in Greece during Homer’s age and for generations to follow. Given its field-opening findings, we are pleased to introduce Kirk’s book to our readers by way of  the following interview with her.

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Literary Lists: Lists of and in Books

by Eva von Contzen

Alex Johnson’s A Book of Book Lists is a treasure hoard of reading lists, lists of books to read and lists having to do with reading. It contains to-read lists, inventories of bookshelves, collections of library slips, and book recommendations by writers, pop stars, presidents, and terrorists; there are prospective, fictional, metaphorical, and impossible reading lists. Continue reading “Literary Lists: Lists of and in Books”

“There are three things…”: Introducing the Numerical Apothegm

by Martha Rust

A survey of Listology posts shows that the list form is often used to convey advice or wisdom, and when it does, the list’s items are limited to a certain number, which is then featured in its title: the Ten Essentials for Hiking, for instance, or Seven Lessons from Mister Rogers. In this post, we consider an ancient list-based genre of literature that elaborates on this kind of advisory list. Famed German literary scholar Ernst Robert Curtius (1886-1956) placed this list-based genre in the category of wisdom literature and gave it the name Zahlenspruch, or “numbered saying,” which Willard R. Trask translated as “numerical apothegm.”[1] As our examples will show, whether or not a numerical apothegm conveys wisdom, it gives a reader much to think about.[2]

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A Little Political Listology: Questions for Katie Little

We at Listology recently had the pleasure of reading Katie Little’s list insights in her recent publication, “The Politics of Lists,” in the journal Exemplaria.[1] For those who have not yet had the pleasure of reading the article, Little uses medieval lists written in Chaucer’s “Knight’s Tale” and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (a historical record of England compiled before the eleventh century) to re-examine modern materiality theorists’ idea that lists are ideology-free because they blend human and non-human subjects. We at Listology would like to continue this conversation about lists’ ideological and political characteristics , and the article’s author, Katherine Little, has kindly obliged us by answering some of our questions—some of which readers will find answered more extensively in her article published by Exemplaria.

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On Islands, Part 2

For an interactive version of the above map follow this link.

by Martha Rust

The Ile of Sypre [Cyprus] is abowte …. cc myle.[1]
The Ile of Rodes [Rhodes] is abowte …. clxxx myle.
The Ile of Lainge [Langeland] is abowte ….. lxxx myle.
The Ile of Negrepountis [Euboea] is abowte …. ccc myle.
The Ile of Cecilia [Sicily] is abowte …. vii c myle.
The Ile of Sardyne [Sardinia] is abowte …. vii c myle
The Ile of Mayorke [Majorca] is abowte …. cc myle
The Ile of Gret Bretayne [Great Britain] is abowte …. ml. ml. myle.
The Ile of Selandys [Zealand] is abowte …. ml. vii c myles.
The Principalite of Murrey [Peloponnese] is abowte …. vii c myles.

Continue reading “On Islands, Part 2”

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