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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Claire Illouz "Whiteness" at NKU

Claire Illouz unfolding WHITENESS 
While some CBAS members were encased in an ice igloo last night, me for one, (Diane Stemper) others braved the weather to go to NKU and hear Claire Illouz talk about her book "Whiteness" (CBAS was a sponsor) Below is a beautiful description from Jack Campbell, CBAS President and a picture that Cecie Chewning took.

Robert Wallace during the introductions gave a thank you and recognition to CBAS. With a wish for further collaborations. The evening was a delight and the NKU staff pulled out all the stops. There was a recording of the entire lecture by two camera men with a sound man also in attendance, so there is a record for others to see & hear. The weather was hideous but the house was full, few empty seats.

Her (Claire Illouz’s) book "The Whiteness" of Moby Dick was terrific, a wonderful presentation was made of the book. Coming out of its box (which is a work of art in and of itself) and laid out on a series of long tables, almost wave like. An up close and personal examination of the book along with  the background provided by the lecture is necessary for this book to make any real meaningful sense. Wonderful cultural expression of the French artistic & intellectual background to their book making contrasted against  lack of French interest in this American classic made for a very interesting tale in the lecture.  At some point two years ago someone mentions to Claire that she should look at Chapter 42 in Moby Dick. This has her very intrigued and she is off and running, a book percolates from this chapter. Plus she devours the rest of the book. Then she has a completely different idea of Melville, this is no longer a sailing adventure, which she hates, no longer about being at sea, which she equally despises, but an intellectual tour de force: Being and Non-Being, Form & Void; now we are challenging the French mind.
And this book becomes a huge technical challenge, basically how do you make a "white" book. Your type setter  has to find a very hard type to deeply emboss the BFK; it turns out zinc type is the answer; a box maker who has some leather that captures the feel of whale skin and on it goes.  (Jack

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