KnICH Magazine - Introduction

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Introduction to KnICH Magazine

So wrote the editors of The Literary Garland, a Canadian journal of literature etc. that came into the world in December of 1838.  Their goals, as stated in the depths of that inaugural winter, were "to still the angry passions as they rise, and shed upon the troubled waters the oil of peace," and our aims here at KnICH are not dissimilar, if not wholly in alignment either (an angry passion can be a useful thing, as can troubled waters, at least in the very short term).

The editors of The Literary Garland recommended an introduction, and this will serve as ours.  We at KnICH have set ourselves the task, among others, of expressing in literary terms an integrated fourfold vision, as plugged by William Blake: a considerable challenge. In order to meet it we must first arrange for some integratable data. The three methods we have chosen are Girdling, Ramification, and Archeology. We will apply these to the Canadian human macro-environment. We will use Girdling for a geographic perspective, Ramification for a narrative or sagacious one applied to both words and stories, and Archeology to texts, especially in old magazines, as in the quotation above. We will begin with four "threads" and a Sunday Serial.


Girdling the Northern Quadraspheric Cap

The N.Q.C. consists of that part of the Earth lying north of 45° north latitude, inclusive, which divides itself neatly into forty-five "girdles" each one degree wide, plus one point without dimensions at 90°N, the North Pole. Beginning there we will trek our way south, treating each girdle as a slice of human geography in its own right and displaying its own peculiarities and spirit, without regard for any jurisdictional impositions. The only boundaries we will acknowledge will be those recognized by the girdle itself. When we have plotted the data in this way, we will integrate them in some fashion yet to be devised, consistent with the spirit of the fourfold vision.

Ramifying the Canadian Œvirsaga

To describe the Canadian Œvirsaga requires two metaphors. It is the trunk from which branch the myriad particular Canadian stories, and the heart through which pumps, re-pumps, and thus refreshes and circulates the life-blood of the nation's narrative spirit. If there is any place where we might be able to capture its wholeness, we believe we will find it in The Canadian Encyclopedia, as printed in 2,736 pages and now steadily augmented and further augmentable on-line. We have devised a method of "random ramification" through the pages of the Encyclopedia, in order to probe its vitals both conveniently and without prejudice or preconception. When we have gathered enough data by this painstaking method, we are confident that the shape of the Œvirsaga will emerge.

Telling Textual Archaeology

In "physical" archaeology, a "tell" refers to the mound or hill that accrues over the history (centuries or millennia, generally) of a continually-occupied site.  But a "tell" need not only be physical -- we as a species have, through the history of our occupation of the literary and, later, print spheres, accumlated a great and towering hill of text.  We will dig some test trenches in that "text tell," particularly in the region of our old magazines and newspapers, and find interesting artefacts buried therein.

Worlds of Words

"Tell," in that archaeological context, comes to us from the Semitic language family, which includes modern Hebrew and Arabic.  Specifically, it is from an Arabic word meaning "hill," but also has cognates in Hebrew, and indeed can be traced back to a word meaning "(female) breast" in Akkadian, one of the earliest Semitic languages and at about 5000 years old one of the oldest known languages period.  The archaeological "Tell" is thus unrelated to our more common English use of the word  (as in "to tell a tale"); that is an Indo-European word, that back in the misty depths of our linguistic history (i.e. the days of the Proto-Indo-European tongue) meant "to count," and you may think here of what a "teller" in a bank does.   That Proto-Indo-European root has also given us, in fact, the word "tale," and possibly the word "talk."  And we will talk about, and tell tales about, the wonders of etymology -- there is a vast heap of material in that as well!


Land of Furs, by Jules Verne (1873)

Our first Sunday Serial will be a new annotated translation of Jules Verne's Le Pays des Fourrures (1873), usually translated as The Fur Country, but which we will call LAND OF FURS. This rollicking epic yarn, a creature of Verne's fecund imagination and wide geographical knowledge, sets the standard which Canadian epic-writers ought to emulate. Nineteenth century translators did their best, but being English and completely unfamiliar with the Canadian North themselves, they made mistakes and missed the humour of Verne's outlandish treatment. Our new translation, with notes, will give Le Pays des Fourrures the treatment it deserves, bringing out all the dimensions of this wonderfully rich and completely absurd adventure. Verne, by the way, was well aware of the absurdity, and revelled in it.

So these are just some of the threads that we will weave and untangle here at KnICH in the times to come.  I hope you will join us -- there is much fun to be had!

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© KnICH Magazine

Links to the Four Threads and Land of Furs: First Episodes
Digging Texts
Word Worlds
Land of Furs

Four Threads post twice per week in rotation; subscription costs $3 per month

Land of Furs posts one episode per week; costs $2 per month more ($5 total)

This page in the KnICH Magazine Sampler presents the first episode in its Thread, using the site of Voyageur Storytelling for the convenience of explorers. Many further episodes appear on the KnICH Magazine site for the edification and amusement of subscribing patrons. The following links will take you to KnICH Magazine on Patreon, where you can subscribe if you wish.
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KnICH Magazine, 2020

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