Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 2 in Bucharest

This morning I photographed one of our most significant nonsense finds yet: the graffitied bars in front of some doors near our Villa. I particularly like the “Nu” fellows and the terrified sheep-creature, but I’m sure you will all find favorites. Perhaps in the comments you might describe the bits of narrative depicted here? All I can tell you is …BASE! (All your base belong to us?). Click on the photo below to see the gallery...

Bucharest Graffiti

We had our first official meeting today with two Romanian children’s literature scholars, Anca Dumitrescu and Mihaela Mocanu, both professors at the Romanian Institute for Educational Sciences, who very kindly offered to help us in our quest. They brought up figures such as Tudor Arghezi, Urmuz, Ionesco, Marin Sorescu, and Paul Celan. Romanians seem to have a strong tradition of nonsense, though most Westerners have only heard of Ionesco (who himself is usually thought of more as French). We suspect that the revolution will also be a source of nonsense—and if this proves to be true it would, for better or worse, further encourage Kevin’s obsession with the connection between civil strife and the proliferation of nonsense. I was reminded of the time that I spoke in his nonsense class at Winnipeg, when all of the questions his students asked of me were suspiciously drifting in the direction of this, his thesis topic. Hmm.

I was also slobberingly delighted that we heard back from Wim Tigges (as Kevin wrote about in his piece), whom we will be meeting in Amsterdam. Tigges was my first real introduction to the discipline of nonsense scholarship, and, it might be said, that I have shaken my theoretical salt not too far from his nonsensical pork chop.

PS Kevin never eats. We wandered the streets under the hot sun for hours, and it was my bad luck that we took his bag along rather than mine (which holds my store of emergency provender). The only sense I can make of it (which also confirms some of the rumors I’ve heard) is that he is able to photosynthesize. He does sometimes appear slightly, and surprisingly healthfully, greenish. Or perhaps that was the bear.

PPS What I said was that it was a stealthy platitutde. Nothing healthy about it!

PPPS The bear was fantastic.

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