It is a color that has both negative and positive connotations, is symbolic of mysticism, social rank, both high and low emotions, and of serenity and wisdom. Blue is a color that is a signifier of both Hell and purity, of luxury and dignity. There are as many interpretations of what “blue” symbolizes as there are cultures in the world.
And the symbolism of the color is the rationale behind an online exhibit created by Archives & Rare Books Library. Intended to highlight the spectrum of rare books in the collections, the selections show the cultural diversity over the ages of this particular color. Nineteen volumes are represented in the exhibit, with several examples from each of illustrations and bindings, ranging from a 15th century illuminated book of hours to early Qur’ans and Persian poetry. There are botanicals, fairy tales, Art Deco bindings, Asian drawing manuals, pochoir pattern books, and Turkish ebru marbled paper. Each indicates a specific use of blue that depends on religion, technology, or geographical heritage. Continue reading The Mystery and Emotion of “Blue”
Ah, summer. A time for frolicking on the beaches, zipping swiftly through busy cities with bright lights, tolerating that toddler kicking your seat on the plane just because it means you’re finally getting to spend some time away from work, and appreciating the Bard? It’s true. Shakespeare’s home, Stratford-upon-Avon, has been relying on tourism to bolster its economy since 1769.
County Cork, Ireland lies in the southwest region of the country and contains many historically famous cities and buildings, such as Cobh (formerly Queenstown) where the Titanic last docked before its disastrous maiden voyage in 1912, and Cork City itself, the second largest city Ireland. In terms of its beauty and traditions, this particular county has not changed very much over the centuries, though like the rest of Ireland, has seen economic hills and valleys as well as its own take on revolution and patriotism in the island. In Charles Smith’s two-volume 1774 work in the Archives & Rare Books Library, The Ancient and Present State of The County and City of Cork, the author discusses the vast history of County Cork up to his own time in the 18th century. He explains all aspects of Irish history in Cork, ranging from wars to flora and fauna with maps and photos to illustrate what he is discussing. The volumes are part of the growing body of Irish literature in ARB and are consulted frequently by students and scholars interested in urban development, the history of cities, and the general history of Ireland. Smith’s work also includes maps and engravings of Cork City and the surrounding countryside. Continue reading County Cork: A County Unchanged by History
Many of us are looking forward to 2019, when the University celebrates its bicentennial. But another important anniversary is already upon us. On July 1, 1977, the University will mark its 40th anniversary as a state-affiliated institution. Prior to 1977, the University of Cincinnati was overseen by the City of Cincinnati. Continue reading 40th anniversary of University of Cincinnati state affiliation
In my previous blog I mentioned that the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company would be putting on free productions of Merry Wives of Windsor this summer as part of its Shakespeare in the Park series. If you’ve read the play or seen the show, you know a main plot point is about Sir John Falstaff and how he tries to seduce Mistress Page and her best friend, Mistress Ford—at the same time. Both women, faithful to their husbands, decide to create quite the fool out of Falstaff by feigning interest and arranging secret meetings between Falstaff and Mistress Ford. Those meetings are always interrupted by Master Ford coming home, thus putting Falstaff in precarious positions. One of the most notable scenes involves Falstaff donning a dress, pretending to be the fat aunt of the Fords’ servant so he can leave the house without being recognized. It’s been long thought of as one of the funniest scenes in the play…why? What is it about a man in a dress that gives us a big chuckle? Continue reading Dudes in Drag: An Exploration of Humor through Merry Wives of Windsor
Congrats to all the Bearcats who graduated and to those who celebrated surviving another semester! Now that it’s summer time, you might be looking for some fun things to do. I can tell you about one that’s right in your backyard…well, park. Once again the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will offer their free Shakespeare in the Park summer series. It opens July 14th and runs through September 4th. Each year Cincinnati Shakes prepares two shows for their various performances at parks around the city and Hamilton County. This year’s shows are Romeo and Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Past years included A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, and Much Ado About Nothing. The official schedule hasn’t been posted yet, but it will be coming soon! You can check their website for updates. Continue reading A Very Shakespeare Summer
In the spring of 1883, Cincinnati held its first Dramatic Festival at Music Hall, performing for a consecutive six days. The show had a lineup of performances of all sorts of dramatic works, with many of them holding Shakespearian titles. The festival was such a big deal that even the Chicago Tribune sent someone over to see what it was all about but unfortunately, the Tribune was less than impressed with Cincinnati’s efforts, claiming that the largeness of Music Hall drowned out the performances of almost all the actors. However, the critics did have some kind words for the orchestra as well as the performances of Hamlet and Julius Caesar. Apparently, these were the only two plays that were “great” enough to be worthy of performance while simultaneously using the space effectively. It certainly helped that in the role of Hamlet was the famous thespian James E. Murdoch.
Founded in 1819, Cincinnati College was home to two literary societies, the Philomathic Society and the Erophoebic Society (which had a bit of a rivalry between them). Students of the College formed the Philomathic Society prior to the opening of the College, on January 18, 1818. The Society’s aim was “for mutual literary improvement” and its first members were John Hough James, Junius James, George Mackey Wilson, Lemuel D. Howells, Robert T. Lytle, and Edward L. Drake. Soon after its creation, the student members created a separate branch of the Philomathic Society for elected members consisting of William Henry Harrison, Thomas Peirce, Daniel Drake, Benjamin Drake, Peyton Short Symmes, as well as “other gentlemen, well known at that day… interested in literary affairs.” On April 3, 1821, Daniel Drake invited the members of the Philomathic Society to join the public commencement of the Medical College being held the following day at Cincinnati College’s Chapel. In the early part of 1821, the Society created a semi-monthly paper called The Olio, which featured local literature and was “the first effort on the part of a literary society, in the West, for development of poetic ability.” The publication contained historical essays, articles, poetry, and the occasional “humorous essay.”The Olio, published and edited by John H. Wood and Samuel S. Brooks, ended after just one year of publication.Continue reading History of the Philomathic Society of Cincinnati College
Happy National Poetry Month! In 1996, the Academy of American Poet designated April as the month to officially celebrate poetry. Here at ARB, we celebrate poetry all year round, but figured we would take this opportunity to talk some about Shakespearean sonnets. Continue reading That Time of Year Thou Readeth Poetry