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The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide Paperback – October 12, 2010
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From the Back Cover
The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide is a guide to the emerging subculture of literary tattoos—a collection of more than 150 full-color photographs of human epidermis indelibly adorned with quotations and illustrations from Dickinson to Pynchon, from Shakespeare to Plath. With beloved lines of verse, literary portraits, and illustrations—and statements from the bearers on their tattoos' history and the personal significance of the chosen literary work—The Word Made Flesh is part collection of photographs and part literary anthology written on skin.
About the Author
Eva Talmadge's fiction has appeared in The New York Tyrant, The Agriculture Reader, New Orleans Review, and Subtropics, among other publications. Her short story "The Cranes" was cited as Notable Nonrequired Reading in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009 (Dave Eggers, ed.).
Justin Taylor is the author of the story collection Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever and the novel The Gospel of Anarchy. He lives in New York City.
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Top Customer Reviews
Text accompanying the images explains the choice of one author or another, the fondness of phrase or portrait, lines from the work of Flannery O'Connor to William Blake. The entirety of Carey Harrison's broad back is inscribed with the text of Theodore Adorno's essay, "For Marcel Proust", a paean to genius. A personal favorite, two provocative lines on Alyssa Carver's arm that parallel the veins under her skin: "a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth." In her own words, "This sentence just kills me every time I read it."
As striking as the marriage of literature and ink are the stories that accompany these extraordinary photographs, the choice of writers, the extension of art to flesh. Katherine Barthelme wears the words "Born Dancin'" on her inner arm, this selection made more astonishing by the story by Donald Barthelme, "The Baby". A child willfully tears the pages from books, her punishment commensurate isolation in her room. As the years of potential isolation accrue, a father is faced with an ethical dilemma and the necessity of a practical solution.Read more ›
I love looking at tattoos, so when this book come up for review through Harper Collins, I was excited to get it. Right before I received it in the mail a girlfriend mentioned the book to me. She wanted to get it, she was putting it in her Christmas list. It seems that book lovers have taken to putting the written word on their bodies. Whether it is a word, a phrase, a paragraph or sometimes an entire page from a book, readers are memorializing their favorites permanently.
The book is full of color photos of some amazing work right down to the picture and font used. There is a great assortment and some very inspiring pieces. Literally Tattoos has totally made me rethink my personal tattoo thoughts. Since I was 18 I have wanted a tattoo and at 25 actually went to a tattoo artists with picture in hand. Fortunately the guys wife went into labor and the tat never happened. Loved it at the time, but now I feel it would have been a mistake.
I really enjoyed looking at the 100 full color photos and even thinking about the books which inspired some pieces. My to read list has just gotten larger.
Check out the Tumblr Tattoo Lit page for photos and descriptions if interested.
The tats pictured take all forms. Many are literary quotations, and it's quite fascinating to see the words that moved a reader so profoundly that he or she literally wanted them to become part of their selves. Other tattoos were recreations of cover art, illustrations, bookish logos, punctuation marks, and even portraits of authors.
One of the sequences that interested me most was a press release and a series of photographs from "The Skin Project." Writer Shelley Jackson has penned a 2,095-word short story entitled "Skin." It will never be published anywhere. The only place it is being printed is word by word on the bodies of volunteers. The only individuals who will ever be privileged to read the entire text are the tattooed "words." Five of them are pictured. And once the "words" die, the story will be gone. Very cool.
While the photographs are the central focus of the book (and they're nicely shot and pleasingly laid out), the text is likewise pleasing and diverse. Much of the text is made up of brief discussions of the tattoos in the bearers' own words, which are almost always interesting. The editors do a good job, as well, keeping things mixed up. I mentioned the press release earlier. At one point, a two-page short story that inspired a tattoo is printed in its entirety.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A little too literary for me... wanted more simplistic ideas. But a nice book all the same.Published 18 months ago by kmsturner
Love this book. I'm not a tattoo artist by any means but I'm a literary fan and this is just perfect because it's a mash up of two things that I love, literacy and tattoos.Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
A nice gift for my tatted librarian friend. I had to steal a peak before I wrapped it and wish I had a copy myself. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Trail Runner
I like the concept for the book-literary tattoos. Wish the book was longer and included more examples. Read morePublished on April 9, 2014 by Linda Whitney