Author Topic: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg  (Read 2228 times)

Bhazor

  • Are you rolling your own jelly babies in there?
Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« on: January 26, 2018, 12:18:56 PM »
https://www.gutenberg.org/

I think Project Gutenberg is one of the most underrated and important websites out there. Yes it has the complete Lovecraft, yes it has the complete Arthur Conan Doyle and all that other nerd shit. But that's not even scratching the surface. There are medieval history written by monks with 1 part history to 3 parts fantasy. Cookbooks that include prayers to read while waiting for bread to rise. Books that treat demonology and witchcraft as a physical science 1. Tudor era sci fi and fantasy.  Currently I'm reading Gregory of Tours History of the Franks. Which when you get through the language barrier is like a glorious mash up of a soap opera and Lord of the Rings.

Quote
Now there was in the church of St. Cassius the martyr a very old and remote crypt, in which was a great tomb of Parian marble wherein it seems the body of a certain man of long ago had been placed. In this tomb upon the dead body the living priest was placed and the tomb was covered with the stone with which it had been covered before, and guards were placed at the entrance. But the faithful guards seeing that he was shut in by a stone as it was winter lit a fire and under the influence of hot wine fell asleep. But the priest like a new Jonah prayed insistently to the Lord to pity him from the interior of the tomb as from the belly of hell, and the tomb being large, as we have said, he was able to extend his hands freely wherever he wished although he could not turn his whole body. There came from the bones of the dead, as he used to relate, a killing stench, which made him shudder not only outwardly but in his inward parts as well. While he held his robe tightly against his nose and could hold his breath his feelings were not the worst, but when he thought that he was suffocating and held the robe a little away from his face he drank in the deadly smell not merely through mouth and nose but even, so to speak, through his very ears. Why make too long a story ! When he had suffered, as I suppose, like the Divine Nature, he stretched out his right hand to the side of the sarcophagus and found a crowbar which had been left between the cover and the edge of the tomb when the cover sank into place. Moving this by degrees he found that with God's help the stone could be moved, and when it had been moved so far that the priest could get his head out he made a larger opening with greater ease and so came out bodily. Meanwhile the darkness of night was overspreading the day though it had not spread everywhere as yet. So he hastened to another entrance to the crypt. This was closed with the strongest bars and bolts, but was not so smoothly fittecL that a man could not see between the planks. The priest placed his head close to this entrance and saw a man go by. He called to him in a low voice. The other heard, and having an ax in his hand he at once cut the wooden pieces by which the bars were held and opened the way for the priest. And he went off in the darkness and hastened home after vigorously urging the man to say nothing of the matter to any one. He entered his home and finding the deeds which the queen mentioned
before had given him took them to king Clothar, informing him at the same time how he had been committed to a living burial by his own bishop.

Anyone got any obscure recommendations?

1https://www.gutenberg.org/files/40686/40686-h/40686-h.htm

Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2018, 08:36:06 PM »
It's got Bartleby the Scrivener on it. That alone makes it worthwhile.

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2018, 12:14:10 PM »
With seven billion peoples out there, it does sometimes bum me out to see some bonafide classic with only three downloads.

I'd say 80/90% of the stuff I read can be procured on gutenberg or internet archive: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/25982607-simon-maxwell-stewart?shelf=favorites

Proto-scifi/fantasies/trippy satire is my jam.  See if you can find Lucian's A True History, Niels Klim's Journey to the Underground, Cyrano de Bergerac's Voyages to the Moon and Sun, A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, Casanova's Icosameron, Vathek, Theologus Autodidactus, Villiers de L'isle Adam's The Future Eve, Nerval's Aurelia, some of Theophile Gautier's trippier stories, Kubin's The Other Side, Flatland, Kepler's Somnium, Etidorhpa, A Dweller on Two Planets, Micromegas, Swedenborg's Life On Other Planets/Angel Visitations on there.

Also, http://publicdomainreview.org always has essays on the most fascinating, arcane subjects, with tons of references sprinkled throughout to interesting forgotten manuscripts about the fourth dimension and pamphlets about two-headed goats and the like that can usually be found on gutenberg or internet archive.

Bhazor

  • Are you rolling your own jelly babies in there?
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2018, 01:07:12 PM »
Like I said its a shame people only seem to use it for downloading the same three or four authors.


Also, http://publicdomainreview.org always has essays on the most fascinating, arcane subjects

Thanks for that, just had a little look and that has some great stuff on it.

newbridge

  • Endless Summer of George
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2018, 07:22:30 PM »
Love the section on "monsters and monstrous births" in this 17th century book about sex (falsely attributed to Aristotle)

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/12699/12699-h/12699-h.htm (I think this is a late nineteenth century reproduction)



There was a Monster at Ravenna in Italy of this kind, in the year 1512.



"Where children thus are born with hairy coats
Heaven's wrath unto the kingdom it denotes"


New motto for the CaB Baldmen's Association?
« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 07:45:57 PM by newbridge »

newbridge

  • Endless Summer of George
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2018, 07:26:10 PM »
Desolation:

Quote
Likewise in the reign of Henry III, there was a woman delivered of a child having two heads and four arms, and the bodies were joined at the back; the heads were so placed that they looked contrary ways; each had two distinct arms and hands. They would both laugh, both speak, and both cry, and be hungry together; sometimes the one would speak and the other keep silence, and sometimes both speak together. They lived several years, but one outlived the other three years, carrying the dead one (for there was no parting them) till the survivor fainted with the burden, and more with the stench of the dead carcase.

Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2018, 11:01:06 AM »
With seven billion peoples out there, it does sometimes bum me out to see some bonafide classic with only three downloads.

I'd say 80/90% of the stuff I read can be procured on gutenberg or internet archive: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/25982607-simon-maxwell-stewart?shelf=favorites

Proto-scifi/fantasies/trippy satire is my jam.  See if you can find Lucian's A True History, Niels Klim's Journey to the Underground, Cyrano de Bergerac's Voyages to the Moon and Sun, A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, Casanova's Icosameron, Vathek, Theologus Autodidactus, Villiers de L'isle Adam's The Future Eve, Nerval's Aurelia, some of Theophile Gautier's trippier stories, Kubin's The Other Side, Flatland, Kepler's Somnium, Etidorhpa, A Dweller on Two Planets, Micromegas, Swedenborg's Life On Other Planets/Angel Visitations on there.

This is  fuckin' goldmine, thanks so much.  Been wanting to read Journey to the Underground for yonks.

Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2018, 04:26:48 PM »
Gutenberg is a veritable colossus of wonder!

But the soft spot in my heart is for Librivox - the project to make audio recordings of everything in the Gutenberg archive for the blind.

Reading and audio quality is variable. Almost everyone who records the aforementioned Lovecraft stories sound like they live in a basement.

However, you do find some really special readings, which have gotten be through books that I otherwise may have found too long or heavy-going, if honest.

I like the hard-nosed naturalist writing of Frank Norris, descriptive deficiencies and all - but in book form I found The Octopus a little exhausting. Delmar H Dolbier really brings it to life as he actually sounds like an old boy of the West. You can totally imagine him as The Cowboy from The Big Lebowski:
https://librivox.org/the-octopus-by-frank-norris/

Also, while this is a bit cheeky of me, I finally finished recording my version of 'The Journal of a Disappointed Man' by W. N. P. Barbellion the other week. Each of the initials stand for one of the great traitors of history! Once you get past the (often delightful) childhood journals of stealing bird's eggs and being chased by gun-wielding farmers, it reads like if Kafka has lived in the Devonshire countryside. Often neurotic and self-mythologising, but with keen self-insights and some remarkable stretches of writing. I really like it, even though I somehow managed to labour over the project for 3 years!
https://librivox.org/the-journal-of-a-disappointed-man-by-w-n-p-barbellion/

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2018, 04:52:44 PM »
I wish they'd cut out the habit of having several different narrators for one book.  You'll be all settled in and comfy after the bloke who sounds just like Sir Kenneth Clark reads chapter 1 to you, only for Pee Wee Herman to jack the mic for Chapter 2.

Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2018, 05:07:28 PM »
I wish they'd cut out the habit of having several different narrators for one book.  You'll be all settled in and comfy after the bloke who sounds just like Sir Kenneth Clark reads chapter 1 to you, only for Pee Wee Herman to jack the mic for Chapter 2.

Agreed - though some projects are quite a commitment. They'd get far, far less done if they stuck to solo readers.

That said, in my one posted above and the reading of The Octopus there is only one narrator a-piece and I will admit to that generally being true of the ones I've enjoyed and stuck with.

Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2018, 09:33:29 PM »
I would hesitate to read anything by Gregory of Tours. It all seems so confusing. Although the characters like Pippin and Clovis and Charlemagne do seem fascinating. Plus he was actually there so probably more credible than other works of early medieval history.

Bhazor

  • Are you rolling your own jelly babies in there?
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2018, 01:27:40 AM »
Oh it is horribly confusing and probably complete ahistorical bollocks. But it's still a great read.

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2018, 03:37:09 AM »
I wonder if there was a spat of gossipy, lurid histories around the time Tours was knocking about.  I think The Secret History of Justinian dates from around the same period.

Bhazor

  • Are you rolling your own jelly babies in there?
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2018, 11:30:37 AM »
I'd doubt it just because of how few people were literate at the time. But I've heard there was a lot of this in places such as CHYNA at the time with rival clans writing their own histories and "my dad said your dad was a bummer" type bickering.

Bhazor

  • Are you rolling your own jelly babies in there?
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2018, 01:37:22 AM »
Somewhat related to Gutenberg, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has just released 500 art books for free download.

Excellent toilet books.

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/titles-with-full-text-online?searchtype=F

Ian Drunken Smurf

  • Archbast*rd of Canterbury
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Theresa May is a vile harridan
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2018, 11:49:16 PM »
For German readers there is "Josefine Mutzenbacher" by Felix Salten, the author of Bambi. It is disgustingly pornographic - and deals with all sorts of taboos including  incest and child sex and grooming.

Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2018, 12:43:56 AM »
I wish I could recommend Punch magazine, based on the iconic cartoons and the (apparently mistaken) idea that it was some kind of Victorian Private Eye, but skimming what's up there makes for pretty dire reading. They were partial to their puns, weren't they (which they made a habit of italicising in case you missed them) - although I'm not sure they made a decent fist of it! There's a sort of naff charm to some of it though.

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=Punch

This seems to be typical fare:

“Have you been much at sea?”
“Why no, not exactly; but my brother married an admiral’s daughter!”
“Were you ever abroad?”
“No, not exactly; but my mother’s maiden name was ‘French.’”
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Sure, Pat, and why are ye wearin' ye'r coat buttoned up loike that on a warm day loike this?"
"Faith, ye'r riverence, to hoide the shirt oi haven't got on!"
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
When a vulgar husband drops his h's, a good wife drops her eyes.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Winter Resort for Bronchially-affected Persons.—Corfe Castle.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
'Arry's Latest Conundrum.—Why is a title-page like charity?—Becos it always begins a tome. (Begins at 'ome, don'tcher see!)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
A COCKNEY'S EPITAPH
Think! "From the cradle to the grave!" my brother,
A nurse takes you from one, an 'earse to t'other.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
When does a school-boy’s writing-book resemble the Hero of Waterloo?—When it’s a Well ink’d’un (Wellington).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
As the weather is to decide the question of the corn-laws, the rains that have lately fallen may be called, with truth, the reins of government.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Who were the original bogtrotters? The Fenians.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
“SIR ROBERT PEEL thinks a great deal of himself,” says the British Critic. “Yes,” asserts PUNCH, “he is just the man to trouble himself about trifles.”

&etc

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2018, 03:24:15 AM »
For German readers there is "Josefine Mutzenbacher" by Felix Salten, the author of Bambi. It is disgustingly pornographic - and deals with all sorts of taboos including  incest and child sex and grooming.

That was made into a classy hardcore porno in the '70s.  Starring an ADULT, I should add!  An adult HUMAN, not an adult deer.

Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2018, 10:58:57 AM »
Proto-scifi/fantasies/trippy satire is my jam.  See if you can find Lucian's A True History, Niels Klim's Journey to the Underground, Cyrano de Bergerac's Voyages to the Moon and Sun, A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, Casanova's Icosameron, Vathek, Theologus Autodidactus, Villiers de L'isle Adam's The Future Eve, Nerval's Aurelia, some of Theophile Gautier's trippier stories, Kubin's The Other Side, Flatland, Kepler's Somnium, Etidorhpa, A Dweller on Two Planets, Micromegas, Swedenborg's Life On Other Planets/Angel Visitations on there.

Thank you for this, really enjoyed Flatland and got a few more on the list to look forward to.   

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: Secret treasures of Project Gutenberg
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2018, 02:46:43 PM »
Anything for me fellow lines.  There've been a few Flatland movies put out over the last few years, at least one of which is semi-decent.

Shouldn't have left off The Machine Stops (1909) by that Howard's End dude.  That story (20k words, novella?) is about as insanely prescient as writing gets, being as it's all about people developing phobias against real, sensual experience because they spend too much time on the internet.  Seriously.

EDIT: I know I've gone on about it elsewhere, but Jack London's sci-fi stuff is really interesting, and mostly in the public domain.  Star Rover (The Jacket) and The Scarlet Plague are my favourites, but goodreads lists three volumes of other material in the same vein.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 03:25:21 PM by Sin Agog »