Fifth panel form Pulcinella in Hades
Pulcinella in Hades
Pulcinella in Hades was created at Eastside Editions in Sonoma,
California. It is an accordion fold book… eight feet of continuous
four plate color etchings, vertically descending into Hades. It
is not a meditation on death but rather an exploration of the place
where one goes after life. The idea of a comedy in Hades hit me
when I heard an excerpt from the comic opera Orpheus in the Underworld.
Why an underworld journey should be treated as a comedy can perhaps
best be explained by the tremendous amount of literature to back
up the view that Hell is a merry place. Comic journeys to Hell
and Hades are long standing traditions. Comedy goes to Hell.
Pulcinella, a character from the commedia dell’arte, takes
the place here of Christ in the Harrowing of Hell. He takes the
place of Orpheus in search of his beloved Eurydice.
It should be said that many great books were read or reread in
the course of selecting the marginalia text. David Avery was an
essential comrade in this search and in the joy of discovering
so many texts. I believe the only textual regret is that Aristophanes’ The
Frogs, which is a play we discovered towards the end of the project,
could not be adequately excerpted. It seems to be such a perfect
match for Pulcinella in Hades. In The Frogs, it is Dionysus who
takes a comic journey to Hades. For the optimal viewing experience
Pulcinella in Hades should be viewed while listening to the opera
Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck.
Seventeen people were asked to write in their own hand the literary
marginalia selected to accompany the text. Many complained that
their handwriting is terrible. Many were correct. This little booklet is meant
to aid in the reading of the marginalia.
Marginal Note on Marginalia
In the Middle Ages written texts came in the form of manuscripts,
and marginalia were an important component of the process of textual
transmission. It was accepted that readers would add comments,
notes and even drawings to illustrate and comment on what they
In some cases, the marginalia in medieval manuscripts overwhelm
the main text. (See the work of the art historian Michael Camille
topic). Perhaps the greatest instance of marginalia gone mad is
the Renaissance French philosopher Michel de Montaigne, who published
edition of his famous Essays in 1580, then went back and added
comments and reflections, which he integrated into the main body
of his text
when he republished the book in 1588. A later edition repeated
the same process. So, for Montaigne we can say that his book was
up out of its own marginalia. This idea was repeated by the philosopher
Jacques Derrida in the 1970s, when he wrote a book called Margins
of Philosophy featuring his own comments in the margins of his
In most early printed books there were few indexes, so marginal
notes were often printed right in the text which alluded to certain
or outlined in abbreviated form what the main text was saying.
Indeed, no reader of early books can fail to be struck by the delightful
ciphers, comments, and drawn hands with pointing fingers used to
call attention to certain important passages. Through the study
we can draw closest to the thoughts of readers from earlier ages—perhaps
even more than through the study of the books themselves. Marginalia
teaches us both how knowledge was organized and how readers responded
to that knowledge. The margins are the place where the reader speaks
back to the text, where alternative ways of thinking spring up around
the language of “official” knowledge.
Timothy Hampton, UC Berkeley
Texts in order of appearance.
The Devil said, “In order that you may receive the wages you have earned,
go and fill your knapsack full of the sweepings, and take it home with you. You
must also go unwashed and uncombed, with long hair on your head and beard, and
with uncut nails and dim eyes; and when you are asked whence you come, you must
say, ‘From hell.’”
Brothers Grimm, The Devil’s Sooty Brother. translated by Margaret Hunt
Marginaliaist – David Beronä
You great star, what would your happiness be had you not those for
whom you shine?
For ten years you have climbed to my cave: you would have tired of your light
and of the journey had it not been for me and my eagle and my serpent.
But we waited for you every morning, took your overflow from you, and blessed
you for it.
Behold, I am weary of my wisdom, like a bee that has gathered too much honey;
I need hands outstretched to receive it.
I would give away and distribute, until the wise among men find joy again in
their folly, and the poor in their riches.
For that I must descend to the depths, as you do in the evening when you go
behind the sea and still bring light to the underworld, you overrich star.
Like you, I must go under
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, translated by Walter Kaufmann
Marginaliaist – DeWitt Cheng
O nobly-born, listen undistractedly. Not having been able to recognize
when the Peaceful Deities shone upon thee in the Bardo above, thou
hast come wandering
thus far. Now, on the Eighth Day, the blood-drinking Wrathful Deities will
to shine. Act so as to recognize them without being distracted.
O nobly-born, by not recognizing now, and by fleeing from the deities out of
fear, again suffering will come to overpower thee.
Tibetan Book of the Dead , translated by W. Y. Evans-Wentz
Marginaliaist – Mary Ellen Landes
An Angel came to me and said O pitiable foolish young man! O horrible!
O dreadful state! consider the hot burning dungeon thou art preparing
for thyself to all
eternity, to which thou art going in such career.
I said. perhaps you will be willing to shew me my eternal lot & we will
contemplate together upon it and see whether your lot or mine is most desirable.
So he took me thro’ a stable & thro’ a church & down into
the church vault at the end of which was a mill; thro’ the mill we went,
and came to a cave, down the winding cavern we groped our tedious way till a
void boundless as a nether sky appear’d beneath us & we held by the
roots of trees and hung over this immensity, but I said, if you please we will
commit ourselves to the void, and see whether providence is here also, if you
will not I will?
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Marginaliaist – Louis Girling
And that girl the world, who gives herself and giggles
If you only let her crush you with her thighs,
Shared with Baal, who loved it, orgiastic wriggles.
But he did not die. He looked her in the eyes.
When Baal saw that she was surrounded with the dead
Baal’s delight was multiplied by three.
There is room, they’re just a few, Baal said.
There is room, he said, above her knee.
Bertolt Brecht, Chorale of the Great Baal, translated by Eric Bentley
and Martin Esslin
Marginaliaist – Jonathan Clark
Here at the spot Perimedes and Eurylochus held the victims fast,
and I, drawing my sharp sword from beside my hip, dug a trench of
about a forearm’s depth
and length and around it poured libations out to all the dead, … and again
I vowed to all the dead, to the drifting listless spirits of their ghosts, that
once I returned to Ithaca I would slaughter a barren heifer in my halls, … And
once my vows and prayers had invoked the nations of the dead, I took the victims,
over the trench I cut their throats and the dark blood flowed in – and
up out of Erebus they came, flocking toward me now, the ghosts of the dead
Homer, The Odyssey, Book 11, translated by Robert Fagles
Marginaliaist – Marc Wallace Wolodarsky
It seemed that out of battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall,
By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.
Wilfred Owen, Strange Meeting
Marginaliaist –Charles Schlossman
After we won the war the whole of us were gladly marching to the
town. But as the “Invisible and Invincible Pawn” woke up all the dead soldiers
and replaced their heads which were cut off by the enemies to their necks and
as my own was cut off as well, so he mistakenly put a ghost’s head on
my neck instead of mine. But as every ghost is talkative, so this head was
making various noises both day and night and also smelling badly. Whether I
was talking or not it would be talking out the words which I did not mean in
and was telling out all my secret aims which I was planning in mind whether
to escape from there to another town or to start to find the way to my home
Amos Tutuola, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
Marginaliaist – Yumiko Masuzawa
And now he began to speak, and said that he had seen the devil, had
spoken with Lucifer familiarly, and had been very merry in hell, and
in the Elysian
affirming very seriously before them all, that the devils were boon companions
and merry fellows: but in respect of the damned, he said he was very sorry
that Panurge had so soon called him back into this world again: “For,” said
he, “I took wonderful delight to see them.” “How so?” said
Pantagruel. “Because,” said Epistemon, “they do not use them
so badly, as you think they do.”… “Those that had been great
lords and ladies here, got but a poor, scurvy wretched livelihood below. But,
the philosophers and others, who in this world had been poor, were great lords
François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel Book II, translated by Sir
Marginaliaist – Timothy Hampton
I went down to Satan's kitchen
To break my fast one morning,
And there I saw souls piping hot
All on the spit a-turning.
And there I took a cauldron
Where boil’d ten thousand harlots
Though full of flame, I drank the same
To the health of all such varlets!
My staff has murdered giants,
My bag a long knife carries,
To cut mince pies from children's thighs
With which I feed the fairies.
Traditional, Tom O'Bedlam’s Song
Marginaliaist –Darryl Cohen
For I not long ago swallowed down one dead, Lazarus by name; and
not long after, one of the living by a single word dragged him up
by force out of my bowels:
and I think that it was he of whom thou speakest. If, therefore, we receive
him here, I am afraid lest perchance we be in danger even about the rest. For,
all those that I have swallowed from eternity I perceive to be in commotion,
and I am pained in my belly. And the snatching away of Lazarus beforehand seems
to me to be no good sign: for not like a dead body, but like an eagle, he flew
out of me; for so suddenly did the earth throw him out.
The Gospel of Nicodemus, The Harrowing of Hell Chapter 5, translation edited
Marginaliaist – Art Hazelwood
Only one who’s also raised
the lyre among shades
may return unending
praise with warning.
Only one who’s tasted
the poppy of the dead
with them won’t forget
the tone so delicate.
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Sonnets to Orpheus: First Series, Nine, translated
by A. Poulin, Jr.
Marginaliaist – Simon Blattner
And then the mob of devils made a great to-do over Jurgen.
“ For it is exceedingly good to have at least one unpretentious and undictatorial
human being in Hell. Nobody as a rule drops in on us save inordinately proud
and conscientious ghosts, whose self-conceit is intolerable, and whose demands
“ How can that be?”
“ Why, we have to punish them. Of course they are not properly punished
until they are convinced that what is happening to them is just and adequate.
And you have
no notion what elaborate tortures they insist their exceeding wickedness has
merited, as though that which they did or left undone could possibly matter
to anybody. And to contrive these torments quite tires us out.”
James Branch Cabell, Jurgen
Marginaliaist – David Avery
And even while he prayed began her answer:
“ O seed of divine blood, O Trojan son of Anchises,
The Way down to Avernus is easy going –
Night and day the door of the Dark God
Is open wide – but to retrace your steps,
To re-climb to the upper air: what a task, what toil!
Virgil, The Aeneid, translated by Patric Dickinson
Marginaliaist – Larry Warnock
“…Nevertheless, as I am thus delightfully honoured by thine entry
here, my lovely brother, I wish to return with thee to the living world. Now
I go to discuss the matter with the gods of Yomi. Wait thou here, and look not
upon me.” So having spoken, she went back; and Izanagi waited for her.
But she tarried so long within that he became impatient. Then, taking the wooden
comb that he wore in the left bunch of his hair, he broke off a tooth from one
end of the comb and lighted it, and went in to look for Izanami-no-Mikoto. But
he saw her lying swollen and festering among worms; and eight kinds of Thunder-Gods
sat upon her… and Izanagi, being overawed by that sight, would have fled
away; but Izanami rose up, crying: “Thou hast put me to shame! Why didst
thou not observe that which I charged thee?…
Japanese Myth as told by Lafcadio Hearn in Japan an Attempt at Interpretation
Marginaliaist – Klaus-Ullrich S. Rötscher
Then after the others had passed through, all traveled into the Plain
of Oblivion through terrible stifling heat; for the plain is bare
of trees and
grows on the earth. There he said they camped, as evening was coming on,
River of Neglectfulness, whose water no vessel will hold. Everyone was compelled
to drink a measure of this water; but those who were not saved by prudence
drank more than the measure, and whoever drank forgot everything. When they
to sleep and midnight came, there was thunder and earthquake and then suddenly
they were carried upward this way and that to birth, like shooting stars.
Er was himself prevented from drinking the water; yet how and by what way
again to his body, he knew not, only he suddenly opened his eyes in the morning
and saw himself lying upon the pyre.
Plato, The Republic Book X, translated by W. H. D. Rouse
Marginaliaist – Jessica Dunne
The Guide and I into that hidden road
Now entered, to return to the bright world;
And without care of having any rest
We mounted up, he first and I second,
Till I beheld through a round aperture
Some of the beauteous things which Heaven doth bear;
Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars.
The Divine Comedy of Dante Aligheri, Inferno, canto XXXIV, translated
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Marginaliaist – Julie Armistead
… this I shall do by printing in the infernal method, by corrosives,
which in Hell as salutary and medicinal, melting apparent surfaces
away, and displaying the infinite which was hid.
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Marginaliaist – Art Hazelwood
Pulcinella in Hades was designed and created by Art Hazelwood at
Eastside Editions, Sonoma, CA, where David Avery printed the images
with help from Art Hazelwood on Hahnemuhle paper.
The marginalia was converted to letterpress plates and printed by
Jonathan Clark of Artichoke Press, Mountain View, CA. Klaus-Ullrich
S. Rötzscher bound the books at Pettingell Book Bindery, Berkeley
CA. There are twenty books in this edition.