Unrelated Very Short Things

1) Song of the week: ‘Million Tears’ by the Pastels


2) I am working on a project involving blurbs for books that do not exist. One of the potential contributors to the project wrote about her distaste for the blurb as a form. This prompted me to try to articulate what interests me about blurbs. Here is a fragmentary text excerpted and revised from my response:

One of the things that I want the project as a whole to investigate is the ways in which the blurb/back cover text is and is not part of the book, how it can and fails to conjure the idea of the actual book, how some blurbs are more exciting than the texts they describe while others completely under- or mis-sell the books to which they’ve been appended. The blurb, to me, is a fascinating and almost ‘secret’ (or unrecognized or something) literary form.

Is this a blurb for blurbs? Also, does anyone know the etymology of the word ‘blurb’? Is blurb not a singularly ugly word? I think it suggests soot, goop, cynicism and morbid obesity, and yet I will admit that I am a lover of blurbs and like to read them over and over.


1 Response to “Unrelated Very Short Things”

  1. March 14, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    As I understand it the word “blurb” was meant to be gross and silly — it was a parodic word for excessive spurts of praise on book jackets, coined by the humorist Gelett Burgess (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelett_Burgess). It’s wonderful that it’s now *actually the word we use,* satire subsumed by reality.

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