Quince, Then and Now

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on May 5, 2012

Michael Tortorello, “In Praise of the Misunderstood Quince,” The New York Times (2 May 2012) . . .

Assorted quince varieties from the germplasm collection at the USDA-ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Oregon. From top down, Van Deman, Cooke’s Jumbo, Ekmek, and Quince A, a rootstock variety used for grafting pears (Wikimedia Commons)

. . . What most Americans know about quince (Cydonia oblonga) — if they know about quince at all — is that it was once a fixture in Grandma’s garden. O.K., Great-Great-Grandma’s garden. As long ago as 1922, the great New York pomologist U. P. Hedrick rued that “the quince, the ‘golden apple’ of the ancients, once dedicated to deities, and looked upon as the emblem of love and happiness, for centuries the favorite pome, is now neglected and the least esteemed of commonly cultivated tree-fruits.” Almost every Colonial kitchen garden had a quince tree. But there was seldom need for two, said Joseph Postman, the United States Department of Agriculture scientist who curates the quince collection in Corvallis, Ore. Settlers valued quince, above all, as a mother lode of pectin for making preserves. And for that task, a little fruit went a long way.

“If you put the seeds in a cup of water, it becomes almost like Jell-O,” Mr. Postman said. This goo doubled as a pomade. (If you try this at home, please post photos.) Like so many American workers, the quince lost its job to a disruptive technology: powdered gelatin, introduced by Charles Knox in the 1890s. Unemployment has been tough. Today the nation’s entire quince crop covers a paltry 250 acres — about the size of the lawns in Central Park. By contrast, farmers this year will
raise some 350,000 acres of apples and 96 million acres of
corn. . .

The full article is available here»

Colloquium | Médiatisation du Littéraire

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on May 5, 2012

Notwithstanding the focus on literature, there are art historical offerings, including a talk by Pierre-Henri Biger on hand fans, “L’éventail, moyen de propagation des oeuvres littéraires ou théâtrales.” -CH

Colloquium: La Médiatisation du Littéraire
Bordeaux 3 University, 24-25 May 2012

“Médiatisation”  is a term of recent onset, which refers to a reality very contemporary to societies where mass dissemination of information is based on various and often sophisticated technical supports. Literature today, with his “rentrée littéraire,” its prizes schedule, its hypersensitive writers or its institutional celebrations, has become one of the media phenomena. This seems obvious in a world so marked by immediacy of information, constant renewal of astonishment and escalation of surprises, albeit artificial. Applying this term to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is therefore primarily a voluntary anachronism, intended to destabilize our vision of our literary past and to provoke a reassessment of the emphasis on literature in the public and social life of classical Europe.

This colloquium is organized by the centre Europe classique  (CLARE-Cultures Littératures Arts Représentations Esthétiques)

The programme is available here»

%d bloggers like this: