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  • By Dr. Hendrick Serrie
    Apr 8, 2014
    In his senior year at Swarthmore College Ted Nelson wrote a series of articles for The Phoenix. They were written to offer advice and entertainment to fellow students, and they create a picture of campus life of that time. Published in 1959 and 1992 and reissued this year, they, with the issues of Nothing, his freshman year wacky Dadaist magazine, constitute the bookends of Ted’s undergraduate oeuvre. The social and academic survival skills Ted prescribed were less practical advice and more wry commentary on campus life at Swarthmore. He wrote about parents. He discussed relationships, cliques, manners, and conformity. He discussed the administration, the deans of men and women, and the house directors, ever watchful in those years over student chastity and decorum. He preached the need to budget one’s time; then, when he and everyone else failed to follow through, described all-night writing and studying vigils and two-hour deadlines. He loved his room. He advocated ceaselessly for a... More > Sociology department. His Atheist’s Prayer expressed the best of Jewish and Christian concerns. Each article vibrated with Ted’s gentle, wacky cynicism and was crafted in his arresting literary style. Ted loved words, knew and used more of them than any professor, and exuberantly coined hundreds of new words of his own. In his freshman year he strung a three-story mobile of likely but nonexistent words in one of the Parrish stairwells. In Life, Love, College, Etc. he offered lists of invented terms. In his articles, his verbalism sent readers scrabbling to their dictionaries, where they would fail to find “gorbeled” and “mecomial.” The imagined words, like “extravene” (butt out), “idearrhea” (continuous inspiration), “megalothegm” (an impressive statement), and “savioress” (a girl savior), were clever and funny. Ted Nelson created brilliant undergraduate literature, music and art. His style was enormously edifying and his wacky humor was engaging and hilarious. For those students gripped by angst over the evils of the world or the miseries of their childhoods—we will always have such souls on campus—his art and humor offered a viable alternative to grief, rage or despair. Or at least a temporary relief. Either way, Ted was serving the undergraduate Greater Good. Wacky art was, is, and always will be a door to sanity in an insane world. * * * Hendrick Serrie is a retired professor of anthropology< Less
  • By Terry Adams
    Mar 29, 2014
    Ted Nelson's weekly ramblings from his college days are great fun to read. I discovered Ted after a long search for the author of the musical "Anything & Everything," which was also written and composed during the same period at Swarthmore College (1957-1959?). In 1960, Ted's boundless imagination led to his unique and brilliant concept of what the world wide web could be. Although his vision has yet to be realized, I believe it will be (Project Xanadu). One column in this collection is worth the price of admission all by itself: the short, moving and honest entry, The Atheist's Prayer. I say, tune into Ted Nelson whenever and however you get the chance!
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Product Details

Second edition, new title
Mindful Press
March 4, 2014
Saddle-stitch Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.41 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
8.5 wide x 11 tall
Product ID
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