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The Black Dossier and an Invisible Library January 2, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite , trackback

Invisible Libraries, veterans of this site will know, are libraries that have only ever existed in the human imagination. Previous examples have included: Dickens’ study door, volumes in a computer game (Skyrim) and H.P. Lovecraft’s extra horrors, alluded to throughout his opera. Today’s new contribution are Alan Moore’s fantasy titles offered in his Black Dossier, part of the League of Gentleman series.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure – and it is an IMMENSE pleasure – the League of Gentlemen are a band of comic-book British heroes, who work with the government to defend the State from its enemies, enemies which to date have included Professor Moriarty, some Chinamen, a handful of Martians and naturally the British state itself. The twist is that the ‘heroes’ are all taken from literature: Captain Nemo, Mina Harker (Dracula), the Invisible Man, Dr Jekyll… The Black Dossier, meanwhile, is a selection of papers relating to this gang taken from a score of invented sources. While reading the Black Dossier the reader gets glimpses of some of them: it has been put together with AM’s characteristic wit and intelligence. Here is a list of some of the best titles:

Gulliver’s Travails (1794)

Faerie’s Fortunes Founded (1620) by William Shakespeare: ‘a prelude to the Tempest’.

A True and Faithfull Mapp of Ye Blazing Worlds (1695) ‘a chart of the apparently non-existent archipelago between Briatain and the Arctic’ [particularly flagged up given Beach’s recent interests]

What Ho Gods of the Abyss (1928) Bertram Wooster ‘the famed English diarist recounts an incident from the late 1920s… and incursion into this world by eldritch and primeval entities’ [!!!].

The New Adventures of Fanny Hill (1912 edtion) by John Cleland

The Crazy Wide Forever (1957) Sal Paradyse

The Nautilus, A Cutaway Schematic (1955) ‘reprinted from boy’s weekly Trump

Invisible-library purists might protest that this is not strictly an invisible library as extracts from these sources are – oh horror! – included in the pages of the Black Dossier. Is there perhaps an adjudication body?

We reasoned that anyone who can come up with the ‘Travails’ of Gulliver cannot be all bad. Beach would love to hear of any other invisible libraries out there: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com. Do please go back through the history of the tag to search for previous libraries. It should be noted that comic books are a particularly good source: the Library of Dreams was previously included in this place.