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Posts Tagged ‘MacBeth

Greasepaint and Brine…

The legendary songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David once stated that “what the world needs now is love, sweet love.”

I beg to differ.

What the world needs– nay, rightfully deserves– are 1950s advertising photos of clowns eating pickle products.

More, at Armagideon Time’s “Greasepaint and Brine.”

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As we tickle our tastebuds, we might recall that it was on this date in 1057, at the Battle of Lumphanan, that King Macbeth of Scotland was slain by Malcolm Canmore– whose father, King Duncan I, was murdered by Macbeth 17 years earlier.

(Shakespeare’s MacBeth is based on Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which in turn borrows from Boece’s 1527 Scotorum Historiae– which was crafted to flatter Duncan, an ancestor of Boece’s patron, King James V of Scotland.  Accounts now considered more historically-accurate– and fairer to MacBeth–  can be found in the novels of Dorothy Dunnett and Nigel Tranter… though of course the Bard’s tale is still the rippingest.)

Imagined 19th century portrait of Macbeth

source

Written by LW

August 15, 2012 at 1:01 am

Pride of ownership…

While the earliest known marks of ownership of books or documents date from the reign of Amenophis III in Egypt (1391-1353), bookplates (also known by their usual inscription, “ex libris”) date from the post-Gutenberg period when books were (still) things of value, but were widely-enough available to be circulated.  In their modern form, they evolved from simple inscriptions in books which were common in Europe in the Middle Ages, when various other forms of “librarianship” became widespread (e.g., the use of class-marks, call-numbers, or shelf-marks). The earliest known examples of printed bookplates are German, and date from the 15th century.

By the 19th century, books had become more common and bookplates– while still attesting to ownership and thus establishing provenance– had begun to become ways for owners to underscore their personalities, or in the case of celebrities, their images.

Author Simon Rose, writing in the ever-illuminating Dark Roasted Blend, surveys the now-nearly-lost art of the bookplate.  His piece is filled with wonderful examples, e.g.:

Enjoy many, many more at “The Extraordinary World of Ex Libris Art

As we open to our inside front covers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1936 that then-21-year-old Orson Welles took his curtain call at the fifth-and-final performance of MacBeth in Bridgeport. Connecticut.  The Federal Theater Project production was Welles directing debut, and that start of his collaboration with producer John Houseman.  In a foreshadowing of the creative risk taking that would characterize Welles’ career, he cast MacBeth with African-American performers in all the roles; the setting shifted from Scotland to the Caribbean, and the witches became Haitian witch doctors.  (His 1948 film version of “The Scottish Play” returned the action to the Highlands, but retained some of the dramatic elements of his inaugural outing.)

Production photo (Library of Congress)

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