The Feather Book of Dionisio Minaggio

The Feather Book of Dionisio Minaggio, also referred to in Italian as Il bestiario barocco (The Baroque Bestiary), is a collection of 156 pictures made almost entirely from bird feathers augmented with pieces of bird skin, feet, and beaks. They were created between 1616 and 1618 by Dionisio Minaggio, the chief gardener of the Duchy of Milan and were originally bound into a book. The majority of pictures in the book are of birds indigenous to the Lombardy region of Italy at the time, but it also contained sets of other images depicting hunters, tradesmen, musicians, and commedia dell’arte characters. (Wikipedia)There are amusing scenes of everyday life: a patient suffering in the hands of a dentist, a man playing a melody on a pipe, and waiting for his dog to “do her things” — musicians, artisans and actors, birds and plants.
At that time, Milan was ruled by Spain, and the Spaniards were familiar with the art of the pen widely practiced in Central and South America. Although the style and methods were very different, it is possible that knowledge about this art form served as inspiration. Still, this is only an educated guess.To this day, we do not have the faintest idea why Dionisio Minaggio created such an unusual for the time book, and who, if anyone, commissioned it.


Cloning Voynich Manuscript

It's one of the world's most mysterious books; a centuries-old manuscript written in an unknown or coded language that no one has cracked. Now after a ten-year quest for access, Siloe, a small publishing house has secured the right to clone the Voynich manuscriptVoynich Manuscript, all 240 pages of it, remains a literary mystery that baffled scholars, cryptographers and code-breakers since its discovery in an Italian monastery in 1912. Recently, it was widely reported that Siloe, a small Spanish publishing house has secured the right to clone the document.  898 exact replicas of the Voynich manuscript, once completed, will be sold  for a hefty 7,000 to 8,000 euros (£6,030 to £6,891 or $7,800 to $8,900) apiece.

It will take Siloe around 18 months to make the first clones, in a painstaking process that started in April when a photographer took detailed snaps of the original in Yale. The copies will be so faithful that every stain, hole, sewn-up tear in the parchment will be reproduced.
It will take Siloe around 18 months to make the first clones, in a painstaking process that started in April when a photographer took detailed snaps of the original in Yale. The copies will be so faithful that every stain, hole, sewn-up tear in the parchment will be reproduced
An informative and well-illustrated article Will the Voynich manuscript finally be cracked? Publisher to create clones of ‘the world’s most mysterious book’ to help experts break its code  has all the details.

If interested in paging through the entire book, here is the pdf file of the entire manuscript: Voynich. Happy decoding!


Hours of Catherine of Cleves

Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves. Text: Latin. Artist: Master of Catherine of Cleves. Utrecht, Netherlands, about 1440 year. Tempera on parchment. The Morgan Library and Museum, New York / The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, c. 1440, MS M.945, f. 60v, The Morgan Library & Museum.

Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves. Text: Latin. Artist: Master of Catherine of Cleves. Utrecht, Netherlands, about 1440 year. Tempera on parchment. The Morgan Library and Museum, New York / The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, c. 1440, MS M.945, f. 60v, The Morgan Library & Museum.

The Hours of Catherine of Cleves is the greatest Dutch illuminated manuscript in the world. Its 157 miniatures are by the gifted Master of Catherine of Cleves (active ca. 1435–60), who is named after this book. The Master of Catherine of Cleves is considered the finest and most original illuminator of the medieval northern Netherlands, and this manuscript is his masterpiece.

Catherine of Cleves Praying to the Virgin and Child

Catherine of Cleves Praying to the Virgin and Child

This digital facsimile provides reproductions of all 157 miniatures (and facing text pages) from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves. The original one-volume prayer book had been taken apart in the nineteenth century; the leaves were shuffled and then rebound into two confusing volumes. This presentation offers the miniatures in their original, fifteenth-century sequence.

St. George Slaying the Dragon

St. George Slaying the Dragon

The manuscript was commissioned by Catherine as prayer book. It contains an amazingly rich series of devotions illustrated with especially elaborate suites of miniatures.

Guardian Angel and Demon Fighting over the Book of Life

Guardian Angel and Demon Fighting over the Book of Life

Who Was Catherine of Cleves?

Catherine of Cleves (1417–1476) is known for two things: her Book of Hours and her protracted political battle against her husband. In 1430 she married Arnold of Egmond (1410 –1473), becoming duchess of Guelders. Although she bore her husband six children, the marriage was not happy. By 1440 Catherine refused to live with him.

The war between husband and wife was sparked by Arnold’s disinheriting his only living son, Adolf (1438–1477). Rumor had it that Adolf accused his father of homosexuality. Catherine sided with her son, suspecting that her husband molested their only son. These allegations started a big scandal in the duchy. Catherine demanded freedom for her and the children along with their share of the inheritance.  Arnold categorically denied the charges and flatly refused to give in to Catherine’s demands. The cities of Nijmegen, Zutphen and Arnhem supported Catherine and her son while Roermond sided with the duke. In 1465, Catherine and her son conspired to imprison Arnold and forced him to abdicate. Adolf, becoming the duke upon inheriting the duchy, spent six years in ceaseless struggles with his father’s supporters.

In 1471, Catherine watched in horror as Arnold secured his freedom and regained his title, imprisoning Adolf in turn. Arnold died in 1473, disinheriting both his wife and their son. Catherine’s death in 1476 robbed her of seeing the release of her son. Adolf’s liberty was short-lived for he died the very next year.

St. Michael Battling Demons

St. Michael Battling Demons

Now back to the Book. Master of Catherine of Cleves possessed a remarkable sense of observation. Combined with an interest in everyday objects it created a style far ahead of its time. It would come to fruition only in seventeenth-century Dutch still-life painting. Narrative was also one of the great talents of the artist — he could tell a good story.

Mouth of Hell

Mouth of Hell

The subjects of the images in Horologion vary from religious to secular with an great number of illuminations depicting Hell and Devil in different guises. This is all the more surprising since, as a rule, Hell was never depicted in women’s  Horologions. The reason of such an unusual iconography in Catherine’s Horologion defies explanation.

Last Judgment

Last Judgment

The Book is also famous for the artist’s innovative borders, no two of which are alike.

Arnold of Egmond, Catherine of Cleves’ Husband, Praying to Christ

Arnold of Egmond, Catherine of Cleves’ Husband, Praying to Christ

St. Michael Weighing Souls

St. Michael Weighing Souls

Souls Released from Purgatory

Souls Released from Purgatory

Hours of Catherine of Cleves9

St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence

Ten Thousand Martyrs and St. Acacius

Ten Thousand Martyrs and St. Acacius

Tree Growing from Adam’s Grave

Tree Growing from Adam’s Grave

The Virgin and the Crucified Christ

The Virgin and the Crucified Christ

Hours of Catherine of Cleves92

Artzybasheff’s Neurotica

а22aBoris Artzybasheff (1899 – 1965)  had a long career as an illustrator, beginning in the late 1920s and extending all the way through the 1950s, 50 books in all, including those he wrote himself, notably “As I See.”


Boris Artzybasheff is renowned for his ability to turn machines into living beings.а

Boris Artzybasheff.jpgDuring WW II he served as an adviser to the Psychological Warfare branch.  Why psychology? Wasn’t he an artist?  See for yourself: Artzybasheff’s Neurotica:



Latent Hostility


Inferiority  Complex





Manic-depressive Syndrome











Meet The Poet: Mark Gurarie, My Son

alexej ravski4.jpgEach year the month of April is set aside as National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poets and their craft.

This year, I have ever more reasons to celebrate poetry and poets. One poet in particular — my son Mark Gurarie. His first book of poetry, Everybody’s Automat, was published by  The Operating System.everybodysautomat_cover_fullbleedfinal-1024x900.jpgPRAISE FOR EVERYBODY’S AUTOMAT:

 Mark Gurarie’s Everybody’s Automat could be the offspring of John Ashbery and Ziggy Stardust. And yet these are poems only Gurarie can write. These poems inhabit a superhuman linguistic and psychosocial consciousness. Martians are muses, as are John Cage & planet earth, who all play supporting roles in this delightful and haunting debut collection.” – Ali Power

The pitched quality of inventiveness in Mark Gurarie’s poems, is a worthy homage to the aleatoric musician John Cage and other musicians who inspire both the silences and contemplative notes of whimsy. The poems, like the music, however, are hitched to emotional states of being that are never distended or anemic, but curiously imaginative and responsibly resourceful to the core.” —Major Jackson

Everybody’s Automat arrives like a hundred aliens wielding a thousand devices to process the glittering wreckage of the Anthropocene. The book’s as much of a party as it is a postmortem revealing how we spoke to each other, where we failed each other, and that we never stopped making music, even as everything went irreversibly wrong. Whether Mark Gurarie is one of us, one of them, or a little of both, I can imagine no fitter or better poet to “confront the alien that speaks of ourselves.”

—Mark Bibbins

His publisher, The Operating System, takes a great pride in its authors and promotes them the best it can. Here is an excerpt from an impressively extended conversation with  Mark conducted by The Operating System  [RE:CON]VERSATIONS :: OF SOUND MIND :: PROCESS AND PRACTICE WITH EVERYBODY’S AUTOMAT’S MARK GURARIE

What’s a “poet”, anyway?  What is the role of the poet today?

Mark: This is a tough question because in the US, poetry is relegated to the margins of cultural and social production; whereas in many other countries and cultures, poetry is more central. Here, outside of exciting popular developments like the emergence of slam and spoken word—and I actually think you might be able to include the vibrancy of hip-hop here—poetry is famously ignored by non-poets.

That said, American poets have a special position as being the voice of the exterior, the underbelly, even if their exile from whatever the “mainstream” might largely be self-imposed.  In this sense, then, poets are able to use their craft to move in a freer way than many of their artistic peers who are more closely attuned to the market, and furthermore, the relationship between poet and broader American society is always evolving.

As much as can be said about the disengagement of say, modernist poets in the early 20th century, from political or social discourse, you have strains that speak for under-represented voices, that lift the mirror to society at large, like those of the Harlem Rennaissance, for instance. In a similar way, the poet today has the opportunity to employ the craft to explore and challenge the status quo, and in that, to bear witness. To me, it’s incredibly exciting that Claudia Rankine’s Citizen was actually on the NYT’s best-sellers list (two different times, I believe), or that  Patricia Lockwood’s “Rape Joke” went viral.

In its own way, and occasionally, the culture at large looks to the poets and lets them in; the onus is on the poets to use their craft and their perspective to make work that is meaningful, challenging and makes a genuine attempt to capture an underlying truth.


The poet doesn’t look like this anymore…

The Curious History Of Stripes

stripes9In 1310, in French town of Rouen, one hapless shoemaker was sentenced to death for having been caught wearing a striped garment. This unusual case shows how the striped clothes were treated in the Middle Ages.

Michel Pastoureau, one of the best specialists in medieval symbolism, wrote a lively study of stripes, The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes and Striped Fabric, a unique and engaging perspective on the evolution of fashion, taste, and visual codes in Western culture.stripes.jpg

The Devil’s Cloth begins with a medieval scandal. When the first Carmelites arrived in France from the Holy Land, the religious order required its members to wear striped habits, prompting turmoil and denunciations in the West that lasted fifty years until the order was forced to accept a quiet, solid color.

The medieval eye found any surface in which a background could not be distinguished from a foreground disturbing. Thus, striped clothing was relegated to those on the margins or outside the social order—jugglers and prostitutes, for example—and in medieval paintings the devil himself is often depicted wearing stripes. The West has long continued to dress its slaves and servants, its crewmen and convicts in stripes. (Columbia University Press.)

Carmelites were, at worst, stoned and, at best, met with whistles and all sorts of intimidation. The conflict came to the attention of Pope Alexander IV, who forbade wearing of striped robes by the Supreme Decree. The stubborn Carmelites did not abide by the papal prohibition. The Vatican persisted and the final bull of Pope Boniface VIII forbade wearing strips by all Catholic monastic orders in the world, without exception .

Scene of court life with musicians playing viola

GERMANY – CIRCA 2002: Scene of court life with musicians playing viola, dulcimer, fife, drum and bagpipes, miniature from Manesse Code, manuscript, 1304, Germany. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

In the preface to his book, Pastoureau writes that preserved since XII-XIII century, abundant documentation shows that striped clothing was considered shameful, degrading and downright diabolical. Striped attire was worn by executioners and prostitutes. In medieval Europe striped suits were worn by all sorts of outcasts — circus performers, jesters, lepers, cripples, heretics and illegitimate children.
stripes2To this day, there is no consensus about the origin of stripes’ bad reputation. Pastoureau suggests that it came from the free interpretation of biblical quote  Do not put on two tunics (Mark 6:9.) Another hypothesis, secular one, is more “practical”: striped clothing conceal the silhouette, and this alone could be regarded as an attempt of camouflage. However, neither the first nor the second hypothesis can explain the reasons for the medieval Europeans’ hateful attitude toward striped garments.stripes3Diabolical nature of strips extends to the striped animals as well. Not only black, but striped cats, tigers, snakes and hyenas were considered to have diabolical traits. Although in the Middle Ages only very few Europeans knew of the existence of  zebras, Catholic naturalists ranked zebras as “devils of animals.” Unsuspecting zebras were relinquished to this category until the age of Reformation when the new generation of zoologists dispelled this belief.
stripes4The strips shed its diabolical designation at the end of the XVIII century. Revolution occurred not only in France and the New World, but also in the minds of ordinary people. Stripes were no longer seen as taboo. A fashion for striped fabric, from clothing to furniture upholstery and walls, took off with vengeance.
stripes5However, in 19th century, coming a long way from the Middle Ages, the fear of stripes in society was embodied in the striped prison uniforms.  Around this time, the black-and-white stripes familiar from old movies came into vogue, marking the men in a way that would remain embedded in public memory. stripesSlowly, as time went on, prisons began to eliminate the stripes for more neutral colors and the familiar worker-like jumpsuits. New York switched to grey in 1904 because, according to an article in Slate, the stripes were “a badge of disgrace.” Many states kept the stripes longer; North Carolina kept them until 1958.

War And Peace In 12 Words

w88.PNGThe BBC newest adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy’s epic is causing a lot of controversy and discussion in Runet. Should the screen adaptation strive to achieve maximum adherence to the literary source?

Well, there are adaptations and… adaptations. Of them all, perhaps, the most surprising is the one created, back in 2013, by Canadian Cozy Classics that turned an epic novel into a little board-book for the tiniest readers with cozy felt (like in felt fabric) illustrations.
wCanadian publisher managed to reduce the large-scale work to… 12 words, suitable for tiny toots.w44As children get older, parents can expand on the stories in ever more elaborate ways. If you need a little help, just use the brief synopsis on the back of each book or the longer synopses (the Cozyversion), encourages the publisher.

But there’s no right or wrong way to read Cozy Classics. Use the words and images as prompts to invent stories of your own and encourage your children to do the same.

THE COZY VERSION (according to the Cozy Classics):

After the Russian Army is crushed by the French at the Battle of Austerlitz, Prince Andrei Bolkonsky returns home, wounded and disillusioned. His friend Pierre Bezukhov, who has inherited his father’s fortune and become a Count, encourages Andrei to see the good in life, but Andrei remains unhappy.w99Then one day, Andrei sees young Natasha Rostova running through a field, dressed in yellow, and is struck by her zest for life.w3 A few years later at a New Year’s Eve ball, Pierre encourages Andrei to dance with Natasha.w1 Enamored, Andrei proposes, but his skeptical father makes him put off the wedding for a year. During their year apart, Natasha proves inconstant, and the wedding is called off.w4 Pierre comforts Natasha in her time of need.  In 1812, when Napoleon invades Russia, Andrei joins the fight. He serves at the Battle of Borodino, where the Russian army somehow withstands the mighty French.w7…but Andrei is seriously wounded. w8Natasha takes care of him, and he forgives her. Pierre is taken prisoner by the French until the Russian winter finally destroys Napoleon’s army.w9 When Pierre and Natasha see each other again, they realize they are in love!

Cute, no? Cozy  Classics have more cozy classics:

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Cozy Classics plan to publish Anna Karenina, too. Perhaps, tiny toots could learn yet another word or two — choo-choo train.


10 Popular Erotic Books Of 19th Century

novel-eroticThe pre-Victorians and Victorians may have attempted to show the world that they were upright, strict and full of virtue. Much of this thinking, however, has been subverted by their erotic writing of the time.

I found this list in one of my favorite Russian blogs and couldn’t resist to make a post of it. Truly,  Fifty Shades of Grey might look like a kiddie lit in comparison with the following 10 popular erotic books of 19th century.

10. Erotic Magazine “THE PEARL” (1879-1880)novel-9

The Pearl, A Magazine of Facetiae and Voluptuous Reading was an eotic monthly magazine issued for 18 months in London by William Lazenby from July 1879 to December 1880, with two Christmas supplements; it was closed down by the authorities for publishing obscene literature. Lazenby followed it with The Oyster (1883) and The Boudoir.[2]

The general format of the magazine was to publish three serial erotic tales simultaneously, devoted to sex in high society, incest and flagellation, respectively, interspersed with obscene parodies, poems and limericks.  The publisher William Lazenby also wrote some of the articles.  A number of the poems are thought to have been written by Algernon Charles Swinburne. The format of the magazine can be seen as a parody of contemporary magazines aimed at the family market.

9. Novel «The Romance of Lust, or Early Experiences» (1873-1876) novel-2The Romance of Lust, or Early Experiences is a Victorian erotic novel written anonymously in four volumes during the years 1873–1876 and published by William Lazenby. The fool text of The Romance of Lust, by Anonymous can be found on Project Gutenberg EBook.

8. Novel «The Sins of the Cities of the Plain» (1881) novel-10The Sins of the Cities of the Plain; or, The Recollections of a Mary-Ann, with Short Essays on Sodomy and Tribadism, a memoir by the pseudonymous “Jack Saul”, is one of the first exclusively homosexual pieces of English-language pornographic literature ever published. The book might have been largely written by James Campbell Reddie and the painter Simeon Solomon,  who had been convicted of public indecency in 1873 and disgraced.  It was first published in 1881 by the same above mentioned William Lazenby, who printed 250 copies. A second edition was published by Leonard Smithers in 1902.

7. «The Nunnery Tales» (1866)novel-8

The Nunnery Tales; or Cruising Under False Colours was first published in Holland in the 1890’s though may have been written sometime before. As ever the story is merely a loosely plotted vehicle for some even looser morals and sexual romping. Again as is quite familiar to readers of Victorian erotica the Church is involved in a most intimate and lascivious way.

6. «Venus in Furs» is a novella by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.book2.PNG

The novel draws themes, like female dominance and sadomasochism, and character inspiration heavily from Sacher-Masoch’s own life. The term masochism is named after Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the author of Venus in Furs, exploring a sadomasochistic relationship.

5. Novel «The Autobiography of a Flea» (1887)novel-1

The Autobiography of a Flea is an anonymous erotic novel first published in 1887 in London by Edward Avery. The author, in fact, was a London lawyer of the time named Stanislas de Rhodes.

The story is narrated by a flea who tells the tale of a beautiful young girl named Bella whose burgeoning sexuality is taken advantage of by her young lover Charlie, the local priest Father Ambrose, two of his colleagues in holy orders and her own uncle.

4. Novel «The Lustful Turk» (1828)book1

The Lustful Turk, or Lascivious Scenes from a Harem is a pre-Victorian British erotic epistolary novel first published anonymously in 1828 by John Benjamin Brookes and reprinted by William Dugdale. However, it was not widely known or circulated until the 1893 edition. In the 20th century, the novel won a huge popularity yet again and was reprinted several times.  The plot is summarized with relish in a Wikipedia article and Wikisource has a full text.

3. Novel «The Mysteries of Verbena House» (1881)novel-4

[…]Typical Victorian erotica. The ‘English Vice’ as the French call it, in all its glory. Usual scenes of birching common to all such books.

[…]Feeble, primitive Victorian smut. Lots of talk, little action, and that poorly depicted. Don’t bother with this. Try The Pearl for a better sample of the era’s erotica.

[…]Of course — the goings-on in Verbena House would be morally reprehensible, and even illegal, if they occurred in reality. But this is just a story — intended to titillate those of us who “get off” on having fantasies involving moderate corporal punishment. So read and enjoy — without guilt! No one can blame us for just being what we are – unrepentant spanko perverts! Kinky and proud! (From various reviews.)

2. Collection of Poetry «The Whippingham Papers» (1887)novel-7

During his lifetime, the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) produced numerous works reflecting his interest in masochism and flagellation. The Whippingham Papers, published anonymously in 1888, contains a collection of vignettes of corporal punishment being meted out to both boys and girls, almost always in a school setting. The disciplinary acts in The Whippingham Papers often take place in groups where one child is punished before onlookers who delight in the spectacle of a classmate being disciplined.  Apparently, the memory of the whips applied to their young hides lingered in former male students for a long time, since they read this largely comic verses with great interest.

1. Novel «Gynecocracy» (1893)novel-3

«Gynecocracy: A Narrative of the Adventures and Psychological Experiences of Julian Robinson» is a Victorian pornographic novel in the form of an autobiography by the pseudonymous “Viscount Ladywood”, in three volumes, published in 1893. Its psychological insights were praised by an outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, prominent German sexologist and physician Magnus Hirschfeld (1868 – 1935.)

The Book Of Wonders

human-rabbit-1Alfred Brehm wasn’t the first to use the title  Life of Animals — Brehms Tierleben (English title: Brehm’s Life of Animals.)

Approximately in 1371, a book with the same name (Haiyat al-Haiyawan حَياة الْحَيوان الكُبرى or Lives of the Animals) was written by the Egyptian author Muhammad Ibn Musa Kamal Ad-din Al-Damiri (1341-1405). It is a compilation of works by many authors on the 931 animals mentioned in the Qur’an, including folklore, proverbs, lawfulness of hunting and eating, medical uses and meaning of names, the interpretation of dreams about each animal, and often a quirky miniature painting of one or many of the creatures in question. Some are recognizable, such as the foxes, cats, dogs, rabbits and goats, while others are wildly imagined and intricately depicted.

‘Island of Tin, plagued by dragons,’ from 17th or 18th century manuscript copy of “The Book of Wonders of the Age” (St Andrews ms32(o))

‘Island of Tin, plagued by dragons,’ from 17th or 18th century manuscript copy of “The Book of Wonders of the Age” (St Andrews ms32(o))

The library of the University of St Andrews has a manuscript (ms32(o)) known as Book of the Wonders of the Age, lavishly illustrated, packed with mysterious monsters and people doing strange things… The XVII – XVII (?) century manuscript is actually incomplete parts of 2 works, bound together, the first being an abbreviated section of Haiyat al-Haiyawan by Al-Damiri, translated to Farsi (Persian) from Arabic.

The illustration on top of this post is a rabbit with a human head from  “The Book of Wonders of the Age” (St Andrews ms32(o))

circle-of-elephants-1The circle of elephants depicts the attack on Mecca by Abraha, king of Yemen, around 570, who brought his war elephants intending to destroy the Kaaba.hoopoe-1

The hoopoe, or huh-hud in Persian, introduced King Solomon to the Queen of Sheba and represents virtue. The snake wrapped around the world was evicted from paradise and can never be trusted.people-with-animal-heads-maybe-jinns-1

Jinns from 17th or 18th century manuscript copy of “The Book of Wonders of the Age” (St Andrews ms32(o))al-buraq-1Some animals are clearly imaginary or exist only in Muslim tradition, such as al-burāq, the famous mount with human face, horse’s mane, peacock tail and camel’s feet on which Muhammad ascended to heaven; the simurgh, a mythical bird with the head of a dog and lion’s claws; and the jinns with wings or with elephant, cat and rabbit heads.


Island of Cyprus


Island of giant bird


Island of long beards

There is so much more wondrous things in the St Andrews manuscript…

To be continued.


Error 451

error 451On Friday, Dec. 18th, Mark Nottingham, chair the IETF HTTP Working Group, announced in his blog that the IESG (the Internet Engineering Steering Group responsible for technical management of IETF activities and the Internet standards process) approved publication of “An HTTP Status Code to Report Legal Obstacles“.

Error 451 will now be used in cases when the page cannot be displayed because of the requirements of the copyright owner or a ban imposed by the government of the country where the user is located. It is a bit like a warning on YouTube, where some videos won’t play in a particular country or region.

Usually, error codes are neither “political”nor they reference any political phenomenon. Error 451 seems to be an exception. Besides, 451 is clearly  a sendoff to the Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451. fahrenheit_451

And now let’s veer off the subject of the error 451 and into the subject of 451 degrees of Fahrenheit. Many people who habitually get their factual scientific knowledge from works of fiction, particularly science fiction, are absolutely convinced that 451 degrees Fahrenheit is ‘The Temperature at which Book Paper Catches Fire, and Burns’.

If you search the Internet, you might find that with Bradbury’s blessing, even some popular American educational sites quote the temperature as 451 ° F, further explaining that it depends on the type and quality of paper. This figure is given only for books and newspapers, the articles elaborate, apologetically. 451-gradus-po-Farengeytu-retsenziya

Ray Bradbury was mistaken, misled into believing that if you put a piece of paper into the oven and turn the heat to 451 degrees Fahrenheit, the paper will burn. It won’t.

In fact, the spontaneous ignition temperature of paper is 450451 degrees Celsius, which is approximately 843 ° Fahrenheit.

«The ignition temperature of paper is about 450 degrees C, but it is somewhat dependent upon the paper quality. The ignition temperature is 450 degrees C for rayon fibers, 475 degrees C for cotton, and 550 degrees C for flame-resistant cotton (treated with N-methyl-dimethyl-phosphonopropionamide).» (Handbook of Physical Testing of Paper by Jens Borch (2001)).

Ray Bradbury lived in Europe when he wrote his novel. He asked  a firefighter, and a firefighter said that paper burns at 451 degrees. Habitually, an American, Ray Bradbury assumed the given number of degrees is in Fahrenheit. Error 451!