obscene book history

obs scaena, "off stage"

obscene book history

"...the darker underground of hidden fluxes that surface only irregularly to give a taste of the underbelly of a deep media history."

Jussi Parikka, The Anthrobscene

Beginning of paper production life-cycle:

Rags, and especially white and good linen rags, were among the things most zealously inquired for by street-buyers, and then 3d. a pound was a price readily paid.

End of paper production life-cycle:

There is a body of men in London who occupy themselves entirely in collecting waste paper. It is no matter of what kind…books of every description are ingredients of this waste, and in every language; modern poems or pamphlets and old romances…Shakespeare, Moliere, Bibles…all these are found in the insatiate bag of the waste collector[.]

“Paper! White, pure, spick and span new paper…. Is it from such bales of dusty rags…that virgin paper, to be written on, and printed on, proceeds?”

"Before us lies at the very moment a specimen of paper made from cane-brake. In colour it is a pretty good white, and in quality it is fair enough for all ordinary purposes. It would not do for the Queen’s Speech. Macaulay would not write his History on it, nor Tennyson his lyrics; nor shall we order a stock of it for our next novel."

"But here is another heap, and all of popular books, torn, dirtied, and ‘read—to death.’ They have served their purpose. They will not carry butter; nor will they ‘to the trunk-makers.’ Their purpose is – for manure! A fit end: after having served as food for the mind, their dead leaves produce food for the body."

(Hain Friswell, “Circulating Libraries. Their Contents and Their Readers,” London Society [1871])

Climate change is “the final falling in of history on the present”
(Andreas Malm, Fossil Capital)

[The realist novel] cannot but remain allegorical, since the object it attempts to represent – namely the social totality itself – is not an empirical entity and cannot be made to materialize as such in front of the individual viewer. In effect, the new figure we are asked to supply continues to suggest something other than itself.

Fredric Jameson, The Geopolitical Aesthetic

...the shadowy ships in the river slowly chang[ing] to black substances; and the sun, blood-red on the eastern marshes behind dark masts and yards, seemed filled with the ruins of a forest it had set on fire.

(Our Mutual Friend, emphasis added)

Danke schön!