Autumn, Science Fiction

by Joseph Nicolello

Est vera secta ? te, Magister, consulo. rectamne servamus fidem ? an viperina non cavemus dogmata,
et nescientes labimur ? artam salutis vix viam discernere est inter reflexas semitas.

Prudentius, Apotheosis


For the academic year 2022-2023 I have decided to switch things up and keep a weekly blog on my work at the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies. This shall be not only a chronicle of life in the archives, examining Milton’s Roman typologies and the essence of their sources, but a matter of medievalism, Philadelphia, and whatever else comes up along the way. I understand that this sounds less like an epiphany than something obvious to do. But for one has kept distance from digitality for all of his adult life, it is an undertaking, or exercise, in lifting the hermetic seal for a time, offering audiences both general and specialized a look into the world of manuscripts, medievalism, and early modern literature.

While the work therein shall be primarily for my unfolding dissertation, I am also collecting items for another book I’ve been developing scaffolded chapters on, which we call “The Second Book.” The idea is for this book to be completed after the primary dissertational work is complete. “The Second Book” is a study of Nietzsche’s 125th aphorism in the Gay Science in conjunction with John Milton’s Samson Agonistes. I have been profoundly moved by Giuseppe Fornari’s two-volume Dionysus, Christ, and the Death of God, a work that helped develop this idea, in addition to experiences at Fordham University, Columbia University, Temple University, UCLA, and the Mutter Museum, among others, which have all conjoined in the thrownness of things. The analysis concerns many things: typology, theology, mimesis, Rene Girard, Attic drama, disability, phenomenology, early modern documents, analyses of the Samson legend as well as the history of the concept of the death of God, in addition to Heidegger, Michel Henry, the history of dogmas, Mircea Eliade, and Ioan Couliano.

Thus, for the reader potentially uninterested in medieval manuscripts and Milton’s Roman typologies, the series promises to have various undercurrents interwoven throughout its pictorial and textual odyssey. Rather than seasonal briefings on books, I hope to at last have something on this very site that persons can read with regularity.


I will have more on this soon, as well as the unearthing of my first sci-fi novel (think Olaf Stapledon, J.G. Ballard, Pierre Guyotat, Philip K. Dick). I am in the process of finding an illustrator for the book, and shall again keep the updates coming.

Hars Hartung, “TI989-RII”, 1989