Friday, 21 January 2011

Literary Tattoos Again

Back in June 2008 I did a post—on my Script & Print blog—titled Literary Tattoos: Writing on the Body.

Literary tattoos are in the news again and, once again, it is The Guardian who is behind all the fuss. Benedicte Page's recent article entry was prompted by "A US publisher [who] is offering free books to anyone who brands themselves in tribute to one of their books. (See here for the full story.)"

Shirley Dent's Written on the Body: Literary Tattoos—the article that prompted my previous blog entry—is much more interesting, as are the links she provides. (See A (Not So) Complete History of Literary Tattoos and Literary Tattoos for People who Love Books. To these I can add Written on the Body: The Art of Tattoo Storytelling, a Flickr group (Tattoos of Words Only) and Margot Mifflin's A Blank Human Canvas.)

[See here for Kate's tattoo]

Looking back at this first article I am struck by this response to a previous (rather jaded) comment:

"As with all tatoos, what seems cool and deep at 25 will be embarrassing at 35 and just a dull blue splodge by 45."


With such wilful ignorance carved deep into your character, who needs a tattoo?

And I am struck by this response partly because the only thing of note in the more recent article in The Guardian is the feedback. Particularly this:

if you do foolishly Google Harry Potter tattoos as I did, do yourself a favour and keep the brain bleach on standby...

which, of course, is a challenge. One I should have resisted. But didn't.

"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good" and "mischief managed" are popular—understandably—and so are dark marks, but the popularity of "Expecto Patronum!" is amazing. And the portrait tattoos are simply disturbing!

And then there was this one …

Has anyone else been brave enough to Google Twilight tattoos?

which—having not resisted the Harry Potter teaser, I should definitely have resisted!

Anyway, below are some more of the images I previously culled from various sites—including a few Harry Potter quotes.

[UPDATE 20 July 2012: for my post on an "Eliza Haywood Tattoo" see here; for my post on "Literary Tattoos of Eighteenth-Century Authors" see here]

[UPDATE 20 August 2012: I didn't back-link to the source of these pictures in my original post but a comment from Kate had reminded me to do this. I have done hers just now and will do the others in a few days when I have time to find them all again. Sorry for not doing this sooner!]

[UPDATE: 2 July 2016: After all my pictures disappeared again I decided to give up on external hosts for large versions (1000px) of my image files and, for now on, will stick with the smaller images (500px), which Blogger is prepared to host.]


Kate said...

Hi there

One of the images (Non est ad astra mollis...) above is mine, and its of me. I was wondering if you could please link back to this original source?

I don't mind you using it and I'm glad you like it :)

Patrick Spedding said...

Thanks for the very polite reminder Kate, I'd be delighted to. I made a point of doing the back-links on my post on 18C tattoos but forgot to do this one at the same time. Patrick