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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Lists of Knightly Accolades in the Liber Memorialis Friderici III. Imperatoris

by Alicia Lohmann

In 1436, shortly after his accession to power as duke, Frederick V, who would later become Emperor Frederik III, decided to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. After his return he created a list of knightly accolades, or dubbings (“Ritterschlagsliste”), in the so-called Liber memorialis Friderici III. imperatoris (Vienna, Austrian National Library, Cod. 2674, f.3), which provides information about the nobles who were knighted alongside Frederick at the Holy Sepulcher.[1] The young duke traveled to the center of the Christian medieval world, accompanied by at least 50 nobles and Bishop Marinus of Trieste. The list reads as follows:

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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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Yet another

In the wake of the shooting of Daunte Wright on April 11 2021 in Brooklyn Center Minnesota, adding yet another name to a list that should not exist, our hearts are broken, and we think of a list in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me. It appears in the course of his recounting the killing of Prince Jones (9/1/2000): “And the plunder was not just of Prince alone … Continue reading “Yet another”

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. We learn from a list of possible titles F. Scott Fitzgerald drew up that we might have known the story of the ‘Great Gatsby’ as Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires, or The High-Bouncing Love. There are many surprising finds: Marilyn Monroe’s private library contained an edition of Elizabethan plays. Queen Mary owned a doll house that had a library, which featured works only written for this specific usage, such as Poems: Abridged for Dolls and Princes, by Robert Grave. Art Garfunkel keeps a list of every book he has read since 1986 (https://www.artgarfunkel.com/library.html). The most recent one (entry 1299, from 2019) is Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. Oscar Wilde’s Reading Goal bookcase included The Prioress’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer (why exactly this one, I wonder, of all the Canterbury Tales?), Goethe’s Faust, and a paperback on Egyptian Decorative Art by W.M. Flinders Petrie.

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“Piles of most beautiful bacon”: Lists of Jettisoned Goods on the 1849 Oregon Trail

by Leslie Myrick

In a previous post, I examined outfitting and provisioning lists compiled by travelers in preparation for their trek along the northern route to California in 1849, the opening season of the rush for Californian gold. Those going by ox- or mule-drawn wagon (as opposed to by pack mule) were particularly prone to overpacking, and thus overburdening their stock. Guidebooks and previous travelers to the west recommended a load limit of 2500 pounds per wagon, but the exigencies of travel over muddy or sandy roads and unbridged rivers made the lightening of loads necessary, sometimes as early as the first day out of camp. Continue reading ““Piles of most beautiful bacon”: Lists of Jettisoned Goods on the 1849 Oregon Trail”

List Disturbance: An Interview with Carly Cappielli, Author of Listurbia

Carly Cappielli’s award-winning novella Listurbia, a story told in lists, opens with a list of “common cognitive biases” along with their definitions: Pareidolia, The von Restorff effect, The Semmelwies reflex, The Peltzman effect, Parkinson’s law of triviality, Travis Syndrome, and The Zeigarnik effect.[1] Cappielli takes some license with the definition of this final effect, making list writing one of its symptoms:

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