“Body Of Work”

Oct 30 2010 @ 5:39pm

Tattoo

Jenny Hendrix reviews The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide, edited by Justin Taylor and Eva Talmadge:

The literary tattoo is at least as old as Hester Prynne’s scarlet “A,” and like any tattoo still bears some connotation of punishment. But as with Hester's, it is also a way of using literature as a public symbol of character. It also invites serious considerations of font and typesetting, even to the point of recreating a specific edition of a book. …

As with any form of self-publishing, the literary tattoo takes pluck. Montaigne wrote, in a phrase I imagine no one has tattooed themselves with, “Only fools have made up their minds and are certain.” But it seems to me to be a wonderful group of fools that, like the memorizers in "Fahrenheit 451," carry the written word with them everywhere.