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Hypocrisy, Sincerity, and Acting
The idea that actors are hypocrites and fakes and therefore dangerous to society was widespread in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Fangs of Malice examines the equation between the vice of hypocrisy and the craft of acting as it appears in antitheatrical tracts, in popular and high culture, and especially in plays of the period. Rousseau and others argue that actors, expert at seeming other than they are, pose a threat to society; yet dissembling seems also to be an inevitable consequence of human social intercourse. The “antitheatrical prejudice” offers a unique perspective on the high value that modern western culture places on sincerity, on being true to one's own self.
Taking a cue from the antitheatrical critics themselves, Matthew Wikander structures his book in acts and scenes, each based on a particular slander against actors. A prologue introduces his main issues. Act One deals with the proposition “They Dress Up”: foppish slavery to fashion, cross-dressing, and dressing as clergy. Act Two treats the proposition “They Lie” by focusing on social dissembling and the phenomenon of the self-deceiving hypocrite and the public, princely hypocrite. Act Three, “They Drink,” examines a wide range of antisocial behavior ascribed to actors, such as drinking, gambling, and whoring. An epilogue ties the ancient ideas of possession and the panic that actors inspire to contemporary anxieties about representation not only in theatre but also in the visual and literary arts.
Fangs of Malice will be of great interest to scholars and students of drama as well as to theatre professionals and buffs.
The Empire Theatre of Varieties and the Licensing Controversy of 1894
In the London summer of 1894, members of the National Vigilance Society, led by the well-known social reformer Laura Ormiston Chant, confronted the Empire Theatre of Varieties, Leicester Square, and its brilliant manager George Edwardes as he applied for a routine license renewal. On grounds that the Empire's promenade was the nightly resort of prostitutes, that the costumes in the theatre's ballets were grossly indecent, and that the moral health of the nation was imperiled, Chant demanded that the London County Council either deny the theatre its license or require radical changes in the Empire's entertainment and clientele before granting renewal. The resulting license restriction and the tremendous public controversy that ensued raised important issues--social, cultural, intellectual, and moral--still pertinent today.Fantasies of Empire is the first book to recount in full the story of the Empire licensing controversy in all its captivating detail. Contemporaneous accounts are interwoven with Donohue's identification and analysis of the larger issues raised: What the controversy reveals about contemporary sexual and social relations, what light it sheds on opposing views regarding the place of art and entertainment in modern society, and what it says about the pervasive effect of British imperialism on society's behavior in the later years of Queen Victoria's reign. Donohue connects the controversy to one of the most interesting developments in the history of modern theatre, the simultaneous emergence of a more sophisticated, varied, and moneyed audience and a municipal government insistent on its right to control and regulate that audience's social and cultural character and even its moral behavior.Rich in illustrations and entertainingly written, Fantasies of Empire will appeal to theatre, dance, and social historians and to students of popular entertainment, the Victorian period, urban studies, gender studies, leisure studies, and the social history of architecture.
An Iowa Boyhood
Engelhardt brings us into the world of his fourth-generation farm family, who lived by the family- and faith-based work ethic and concern for respectability they had inherited from their German and Norwegian ancestors. His writing has a particularly Iowa flavor, a style that needs no definition to those who live in the state. Readers will discover the appeal of his wry, humorous, and kind observations and appreciate his well-informed perspective on these transformative American decades.
College Farm to University Museum
Brushes with Nature's Wisdom
"[Fauna and Flora, Earth and Sky] is, in fact, the most intelligent, thoughtful, original, challenging, and highly entertaining work of nature writing since Barry Lopez's Artic Dreams. . . . It is her broad scope of contemplation, combined with her fiercely beautiful and detailed renderings of passion, natural and human, that give Trudy Dittmar's first but fully mature book its remarkable originality and considerable power." --Robert Finch,Los Angeles Times Book Review "Honest self-scrutiny is irresistible, especially when told with a knack for diction of place, as this author demonstrates on every page. She is both of the landscape and an informed observer of it, willing to examine her conflicts between the experiences that play in her imagination and the scientific knowledge she's gleaned through training and reading." --The Bloomsbury Review "Trudy Dittmar is an elegant stylist and an acute observer. She's read everything there is to read about the physics of rainbows, the habits of the porcupine, the winter survival skills of the moose and the orbits of the planets, but even her learning is outdistanced by her patient powers of looking, smelling, hearing, touching and tasting. Her originality arises out of this patience. And, magically, she is able to read into and out of the rich, endangered natural world an Emersonian understanding of self. This is at once the most objective and subjective book I have ever read." --Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story "Dittmar writes about life with the precision of a scientist and the introspective lyricism of a poet, illuminating for us those parts of the world we barely remember to notice...from the complex emotional lives of cows and pronghorns to the dazzling leaves of a silver maple to the teeming hidden pools of bright salamanders. Reading this book is like finding a geode in a stream bed--crack it open and it sparkleso--Jo Ann Beard "Dittmar, who won a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer' Award in 2000 and whose writings have appeared in numerous publications . . . provides a fascinating look at natural and personal history in these ten essays on animals, plants, and other natural phenomena. . . . An excellent choice for both public and academic libraries." --Library Journal In essays with settings that range from the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, to the mountain town of Leadville, Colorado, to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, Trudy Dittmar weaves personal experience with diverse threads of subject matter to create unexpected connections between human nature and nature at large. Life stories, elegantly combined with mindful observations of animals, plants, landscape and the skies, theories in natural science, environmental considerations, and touches of art criticism and popular culture, offer insights into the linked analogies of nature and soul. A glacial pond teeming with salamanders in arrested development is cause for reflection on the limits of a life that knows only bounty. The hot blue lights of celestial phenomena are a metaphor for fast, flashy men--he loves of a life--and a romantic career is interpreted. Watching a pronghorn buck battling for, and ultimately losing, his harem leads to a meditation on a kind of immortality. Fauna and Flora, Earth and Sky is testimony to the bearing and consequence of nature in one life, and to the richness of understanding it can bring to all human lives. Trudy Dittmar was born and raised in New Jersey farm country. In addition to holding an MA in English literature from the University of Chicago, she is a graduate of Columbia University's MFA program in writing and the founder and former director of a writing program at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey. Her work has appeared in such publications as The Norton Book of Nature Writing, Pushcart XXI, Georgia Review, and Orion. She divides her time between her family home in New Jersey and her cabin in Wyoming.
The Feminist Avant-Garde in American Poetry offers a historical and theoretical account of avant-garde women poets in America from the 1910s through the 1990s and asserts an alternative tradition to the predominantly male-dominated avant-garde movements. Elisabeth Frost argues that this alternative lineage distinguishes itself by its feminism and its ambivalence toward existing avant-garde projects; she also thoroughly explores feminist avant-garde poets' debts and contributions to their male counterparts.
Literature, Liberty, and Western Culture
Now back in a second edition with updated nomenclature, refined plant descriptions, better photographs where improvements were called for, and a new design, Jon Farrar’s Field Guide to Wildflowers of Nebraska and the Great Plains, originally published by NEBRASKAland magazine and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, is a visual treat and educational guide to some of the region’s showiest and most interesting wildflowers.
No bird is common, if we use “common” to mean ordinary. But birds that are seen more commonly than others can seem less noteworthy than species that are rarely glimpsed. In this gathering of essays and illustrations celebrating fifty of the most common birds of the Upper Midwest, illustrator Dana Gardner and writer Nancy Overcott encourage us to take a closer look at these familiar birds with renewed appreciation for their not-so-ordinary beauty and lifeways. Beginning with the garishly colored male and the more gently colored female wood duck, whose tree cavity nest serves as a launching pad for ducklings in the summer months, and ending on a bright yellow note with the American goldfinch, whose cheerful presence enlivens the midwestern landscape all year long, Overcott combines field observations drawn from her twenty-plus years of living and birding in Minnesota's Big Woods with anecdotes and data from other ornithologists to portray each species' life cycle, its vocalizations and appearance, and its habitat, food, and foraging methods as well as migration patterns and distribution. Infused with a dedication to conserving natural resources, her succinct yet personable prose forms an ideal complement to Gardner's watercolors as this renowned illustrator of avian life worldwide revisits the birds of his childhood. Together art and text ensure that the wild turkey, great blue heron, sharp-shinned hawk, barred owl, pileated woodpecker, house wren, ovenbird, field sparrow, rose-breasted grosbeak, red-winged blackbird, and forty other species of the Upper Midwest are never seen as common again.