Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Literary Tattoos

In many societies the symbolism of tattoos defines a person’s role or status; however, in the developed West most tattoos have personal significance for the recipient as their main function (outside certain subcultures). While a tattoo is personal, paradoxically it also provides a way of making a statement to others. is a website dedicated to the subgenre of literary tattoos, and provides an interesting insight into the uniqueness of personal literary experience, and also the way in which certain quotations capture something which speaks in a similar way to many individuals.

Now, I would imagine that only a small proportion of bibliophiles feel strongly enough about a particular book or quotation to want to make it permanent in the form a tattoo, and those who would want to post a picture of their tattoo on the internet probably represent a small minority of a small minority. Nonetheless, I am impressed by some of these, while being horrified by others (try those filed under Tattoo Misspellings). The typographical tattoos generally seem to work best to me, with the pictorial ones being more hit or miss. Certain authors and quotations seem to have become surprisingly popular - the phrase “so it goes” appears in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five 116 times, and also appears very popular with lovers of literary tattoos. None submitted for Haruki Murakami yet however......

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