Thursday, September 29, 2016

Jerusalem - a Follow-up

Just published this year: Alan Moore's Jerusalem.
The slipcase edition above was found here.

"The geographic focus of Jerusalem is the Boroughs, a half-mile square area that was the original kernel of Northampton, but by the early 2000s is “gutted,” a squalid waste with “the shoebox stack of ‘Sixties housing where the feudal corridors of Moat Street, Fort Street and the rest once stood.” The chronological focus is on a few days in early May 2006, when Alma Warren, an artist and “mad witch who lived in a rubbish tip” is about to unveil a new exhibition of paintings inspired by her brother Michael’s recalled memories of visions he had a half century earlier as he choked on a 'cough-sweet.'"

- A description of Alan Moore's Jerusalem via this article: Alan Moore’s long-anticipated Jerusalem is a thousand-page doorstop that you can’t stop reading.

“'This planet has a physical geography with which we have already familiarised ourselves,” Moore is telling me, for a feature in The Times. “But since the dawn of the first stories, there is a fictional geography, where the gods and demons live. We have created this big imaginary planet that is a counterpart to our own; and in some cases these places are more familiar to us than the real ones.”

“But science cannot measure the bit that isn’t material. Science is a brilliant tool for analysing our material universe, but science cannot talk about what is inside the human mind: it’s beyond the realm of proof, it’s beyond the realm of science. So I say they should be left to art and magic, which are pretty much the same thing.”

 “We’ll march on ugliness and stupidity, we’ll make loveliness compulsory, and the roar of our orchestra engines will soar evermore in a glorious, annihilating symphony, for the tyranny of beauty is our god-given duty: every child at birth is to be issued with a ukulele, given their own flag and granted absolute and utter sovereignty, and as long as it’s coloured in nicely and has an old woman on it, make their own currency. Turn every urban address into a dripping Rousseau wilderness. We’ll keep advancing until there’s nobody not dancing. We’ll put politics in the pillory, put the art back in artillery; we can weaponise wonder, and our voice shall be as thunder… Cometh the moment, cometh the Mandrill.”

- Three wonderful Alan Moore quotes from this (September 22, 2016) article: If you read only one Alan Moore Jerusalem interview, make it this one.


(This post is a follow-up to the 2014 post: Alan Moore & Jerusalem.)

Writer Alan Moore (of V for Vendetta fame) has a soft spot for women. And, any man who has a soft spot for women is a Great Man in my estimation. While I had known (and mentioned) previously that he characterized himself in his latest book, Jerusalem, as a female artist, I didn't know that the book itself was actually dedicated to a another female: a young girl - and distant relative - by the name of Audrey. Audrey suffered the unfortunate fate of having been institutionalized by her parents for the sole purposes of silencing any allusions she might make to her father's incestuous relations with her.

“The book is dedicated to Audrey,” he says. “The whole book was an attempt… an attempt to rescue her? A particularly futile and belated attempt, but the best I could do. The only way that I could rescue her was in a fiction.” 

I'm assuming Audrey was declared mad around the same time that it was quite the trend to declare women "mad" (as is described in the Camille Claudel section - Into the Madhouse - of this post). It's to Moore's credit that Audrey's story moved him enough to unearth her remains from his family closet; this is so rarely the case. 

For those interested, I've just listened to the first part of a podcast interview with Moore found here. (And here's the second part.) (Thanks, Tam B!) In it he describes some of women in his family, specifically his grandmother - a deathmonger (undertaker) - and the relationship between the midwives, "witches" and the "gilded barber surgeons" of her time.

Fascinating. And, I suspect this is also true of Jerusalem.


  1. Thanks for the mention. I started reading Jerusalem in the previews at amazon, and my copy of Jerusalem is in the mail right now. Is that your copy?

    1. You're welcome. No, alas, it is not my copy. I just added a link to the Moore website in which it was found.