April 27, 2023

Xylographer MarX

        Welcome to the April A to Z Blog Challenge!  My theme this year is Relief Printed Alphabet Squared, an alphabet of alphabets illustrated with relief block prints.  Find the master list of participating blogs here, and go around and see how many of my fellow bloggers have had to cheat to find an X!
        Xylography is a fancy word from Greek roots for wood block printing.  Therefore most of the alphabets featured this entire month are technically alphabets of xylography, but today I have for you an alphabet in which the X is for Xylographer.  William Nicholson’s alphabet of people includes everyone from a beggar to a countess.  (It was also made in two versions: one in which the Executioner and Toper were replaced with more child-appropriate Earl and Trumpeter.)  At any rate, however, I have for you in addition to the X, a Milkmaid for M, and you can revisit the U which I posted twelve years ago.  (Goodness gracious, I’ve been blogging a while!)
        Today’s other featured alphabet is yet again animals, this time by Enid MarX.  Given that I cheated in counting MarX for X, I guess I shouldn’t really complain that her X is for frog - for the shape of it, not the word, as the little couplet of text that goes with the picture explains.  I don’t really like the colors applied to the frog, but those appear to have been done by a different artist who put together a book of her alphabet posthumously, so I don’t hold it against her.  I’ve given you an extra helping of favorites from this alphabet, including M (Monkey), A (Anteater), and J (Jaguar).  I like Marx’s playful style a lot (even if the frog’s colors are perhaps a little too playful for me).
        Well, that’s about it for X.  If you crave more X-citement you can go read a previous post in which I shared the X strategies of a number of the alphabets that have already shown up in this A to Z Challenge.  (You will already have seen that post if you’ve followed previous links to find more letters from the alphabets in question.)  That post also in
cludes one of my 

favorite morals, which is drawn from the difficulty of finding X’s for alphabets.  So I can’t do better today than to repeat: 
These verses teach a clever child to find

Excuse for doing all that he’s inclined.

(For purposes of the challenge we should probably spell it X-cuse!)
        And also, Fall IX times, stand up X times.
        So, in all our various alphabets so far we’ve seen people categorized in many different ways: where they live (B, E, J), what job they do (C, E, F, H, J, K, L, P, Q, T, X), their social class (E, G, H, K, L, Q), their familial relationship (F, M, U, W), their religion (U), their age (I, Y)…  If you were to be memorialized in an alphabet, what word would you choose to represent?

[Pictures: Xylographer, Milkmaid, hand-colored wood block prints by William Nicholson from An Alphabet, 1899 (Images from Wikimedia Commons);
X, Monkey, Anteater, Jaguar, wood block prints by Enid Marx from Marco’s Animal Alphabet, 1979 (Images from the saleroom and Books-on-Books).]


Tom said...

The frog might be a clawed frog aka xenopus

Maria L. Berg said...

Xylography is one of my words for X, too. I'm not sure how it will become an abstract noun or be contradictory to Xanadu, but we'll find out tomorrow. I love the word Xenopus in Tom's comment.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Tom, that would be an excellent solution, but the text of the book says "And X is the frog who swims in the pool/ (It is X for shape dear, I'm not a fool!)" Of course, since the book was put together posthumously I don't know whether Marx wrote the text or just made the illustrations, so it is just possible that Marx did indeed intend the frog to be a xenopus, but whoever wrote the book didn't figure that out!

Maria, I look forward to seeing what you do with your Xylography!

Deborah Weber said...

I'm partial to the Nicholson alphabet, and am a bit surprised there were kid-friendly substitutions for a couple of letters. That seems a rather forward-thinking accommodation for the time period of his work.

Joy Weese Moll said...

Xylography is a new word to me. I love that someone put a xylographer in an abecedary.

I want to be L for Life Long Learner.

James Pailly said...

The colors on that frog are wild! Also, the frog kind of reminds me of E.T. for some reason.

If I were included in an alphabet, I'd probably just want be W for writer.

Kristin said...

I like the Nicholson letters best.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

I like the look of that Anteater.

Ronel visiting for X:
My Languishing TBR: X
Experiments Galore: Hephaestus

Melanie Atherton Allen said...

I'd kind of like to see the Executioner and Toper...

I also like your observation about the different ways in which the various alphabets have classified people.

As for my own classification, right now, B for Blogger sounds good... but that is probably just the A to Z talking. Anyway, I don't really think of my site as a blog, because I don't post regularly enough to characterize it as a web-log. Which I think is the origin of blog. I think.

Holly Jahangiri said...

Maybe Marx's colors for the frog aren't playful enough! See these colorful but deadly tree frogs.

I really do enjoy your theme for this past month.

Holly Jahangiri said...

Oh, I'll bet Tom's right - she did mean for it to be a Xenopus - they're aquatic, though not so very colorful, they do have some interesting mottled patterns, too.

kajmeister said...

Xylographer is clearly the entire reason you chose these beautiful wood blocks to show us -- love it!

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Joy, I like L for Life Long Learner. If I keep learning enough, hopefully it will make up for all the things I've forgotten!

Melanie, you can see the Executioner and Topers here: https://www.allinsongallery.com/nicholson/index.html

Holly, it's true that frogs can be crazy bright, but something about the spotty colors on this one... eh, I just don't care for them.

Thanks, everyone, for weighing in with ideas on this one!