SEARCHING FOR THE ROSETTA STONE “He re-examined with pleasure the luminous yellow, green, red little jars.” -Nabokov, Signs and Symbols I couldn't find it in the British Museum, under renovation-- just representations, like "The Rosetta Stone" postcard at a makeshift gift shop of two by fours in a hallway. Until then, I had imagined a scalloped round like the Notre Dame window, but opaque and blocking some tomb, promising secrets to marauders if they'd go away. From the postcard caption, I learned it began as homage to Ptolemy, like a trilingual billboard announcing, "What a great guy our mayor is! Signed, the Mayor's Cabinet." Rosetta Stone scarves, notepads, and a two-dollar eraser (white glyphs on black rubber), abounded too, at an airport gift shop, making me think there had to be more. Back home online I found a hundred seventy-one sites, like one on Rosetta Stone, the new leader of Gothic Rock, influenced by the Headrops of Parma, Italy and another, the publisher of Erotic Film Guide, Hottest Gay Male Site, and Hot & Sexy Mature Women. I found the Rosetta Stone Language Library with its life-sized stone photo, a review of je tuil elle, "a cinematic Rosetta Stone of female sexuality," the Cleopatra recording artist, Rosetta Stone, and a link to the British Museum page about that famous stone dug up at one site by Champollin-- but nothing on where in the museum it stands for real. I skim one hundred sixty-three sites more, one side of the world then the other, meaning less all the time, as though too many jars shone stickily from the shelf, preserves, and not jelly, too thick to see through.
About the Author: Diane Kendig‘s latest book is Woman with a Fan. Her writing has appeared in J Journal, Wordgathering, Valparaiso Review, and other journals. She ran a prison writing workshop in Ohio for 18 years, and now curates the Cuyahoga County Public Library weblog, Read + Write. Her website is dianekendig.com
Image Credit: “A picture of the Rosetta Stone, in a high contrast, readable format” Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.