"I know all about telling age from the physiognomical lines of the forehead: he is sixteen years and four months old! He is fair as the retractility of the claws of birds of prey; or again, as the uncertainty of the muscular movements in wounds in the soft parts of the lower cervical region; or rather, as that perpetual rat-trap always reset by the trapped animal, which by itself can catch rodents indefinitely and work even when hidden under straw; and above all, as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella!" --Lautréamont (Isidore Ducasse)
In 1920, inspired by a now very famous line from Leatréamont's Les Chants de Maldoror, Man Ray took a blanket, tied it around a sewing machine, and took a photograph of it. He called the photo The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse:
In 1967, perhaps inspired by a now very famous photograph by Man Ray, Luis Buñuel had the patron of a brothel hand a mysterious buzzing box to a prostitute named Séverine; he took thousands of photographs of the encounter and called them Belle de Jour. The box, the contents of which are left up to the viewer's imagination, acts as the blanket that's wrapped around the enigma, and the buzzing sound heard when the box is opened acts as the suggestive shape that's hidden beneath:
At an unknown time, perhaps inspired by Man Ray, Buñuel, or merely the overcast sky above, an unknown person took a black cover and tied it around their motorcycle, and they -- or someone -- took a photograph of it. And an homage was unwittingly(?) created:
"From the desk at which he wrote Moby Dick, Herman Melville could gaze upon the forested hills and sloping fields of western Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains. In the summer of 1850, at age 31, the writer had moved from New York City, 150 miles south, to the outskirts of Pittsfield, then still a village, where he settled into a modest, mustard-yellow farmhouse called Arrowhead — for the Native American artifacts once unearthed on the property. After years of sailing the world aboard New England whaling vessels, Melville was trying his hand at farming; his plan was to harvest corn and potatoes, cabbages and hay. But in winter, the landscape turned his thoughts back toward the mariner's life.
"I have a sort of sea-feeling here in the country now that the ground is covered in snow," Melville wrote a friend in 1850, shortly after beginning his 13-year Arrowhead stay. "I look out my window in the morning when I rise as I would out of a port-hole of a ship in the Atlantic. My room seems a ship's cabin; and at nights when I wake up and hear the wind shrieking, I almost fancy there is too much sail on the house, and I had better go on the roof and rig in the chimney."
From Melville's cramped, book-lined study, he could look out at Mount Greylock, the highest elevation in Massachusetts (3,491 feet). For Melville, the brooding mass of wintry Greylock called to mind a great leviathan, emerging from a roiling, white-capped ocean. His neighbor and fellow novelist, Nathaniel Hawthorne, once wrote that Melville spent his days "shaping out the gigantic conception of his white whale" while staring at the snow-covered mountain."
In his novel, Melville would describe Moby Dick as a "grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air."
Another view of Greylock from Arrowhead:
Melville dedicated his novel Pierre to "Greylock's Most Excellent Majesty", calling the mountain "my own... sovereign lord and king".
"Patti Smith recounts her first meeting with poet Allen Ginsberg, who immediately expressed great interest, taking her out for a sandwich but then suddenly asking in alarm: Are you a girl?"