Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Patterns in the Carpets

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 PM

"I know no writing— except perhaps Henry James's introductory essays— which conveys so clearly and with such an absence of fuss the excitement of the creative artist."

— Graham Greene on A Mathematician's Apology , review in The Spectator , 20 December 1940

"The mere quality and play of an ironic consciousness in the designer left wholly alone, amid a chattering unperceiving world, with the thing he has most wanted to do, with the design more or less realised— some effectual glimpse of that might, by itself, for instance, reward one's experiment."

— Henry James, "Prefaces to the New York Edition," in The Figure in the Carpet and Other Stories, Penguin Books, 1986, with introduction and notes by Frank Kermode

"What? You've found a pattern?"

— Greg Egan, "Wang's Carpets"

See also Notes on Mathematics and Narrative, with its discussion of the tiles of the creative artist Patrick Blackburn in the recent (August 2010) Pythagorean novel The Thousand  and the discussion of Wang tiles in Modal Logic,  a  book from November 2002 whose author also happens to be named Patrick Blackburn.

(Credit for the Greene bibliographic information is due to Janelle Robyn Humphreys, whose doctoral thesis, Shadows of Another Dimension, was published in 2009 by the University of Wollongong.)

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