Suggestions of a housemaid with a duster

September 7, 2009


‘The very latest came to Steinway Hall yesterday afternoon from Russia via New York…Mr Leo Ornstein ….is a Russian pianist who two years ago began to write ‘futurist’ music for the piano.’

‘Mr. Ornstein is a trick pianist of the first order.   An energetic housemaid with a duster might do some of the things he did, but not nearly all of them.  His facility is amazing, even if it is granted that the actual notes he plays may be the chance of the moment.’

‘Probably the writer of the programme note was write in saying that they are meant to be felt, not analysed.   They are quite unthinkable, but one is stirred by their crudity, their energy, and often by their absurdity.The Times, Saturday, Mar 28, 1914; pg. 6; Issue 40483; col G      A “Futurist” At The Piano. Suggestions Of A Housemaid With A Duster

In 1909 Filippo Tommaso Marinetti published his ‘Manifeste de fondation du Futurisme’,  heralding an approach to the composition and performance of music, art, drama and literature characterised with an impression of speed, violence, militarism, and anarchic energy  kicking against the artistic traditions of the previous centuries,  such as Roman classicism and Italian opera, creating their own mechanical musical instruments , and rejecting all the existing art establishments such as museums and galleries.

At the end of the First World War, the futurist movement moved into turbulent politics with the creation of the Partito Politica Futurista in 1918 [Marinetti writing his Democrazia futuriasta in 1919] ,  shortly to be absorbed into the Fascist movement around 1920, with futurist artists giving the Fascist movement a gloss of  artistic modernism.  

If you would like to learn more about Marinetti and Futurism, please see the resources below.

La futurista by Benedetta Cappa Marinetti shelved at 759.5 MAR/FUT on Level 2

The untameables by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti shelved at 823.8/MAR on Level 2

Marinetti :selected writings /edited, and with an introduction shelved at 709.04033/MAR on Level 2

The genesis of Futurism :Marinetti’s early career and writings 1899-1909 by Günter Berghaus shelved at 809.04/BER on Level 2

Futurist performance /by Michael Kirby ; with manifestos and playscripts translated from the Italian by Victoria Nes Kirby shelved at 792.0945/KIR on Level 2

Italian Futurism

Distruzione Poema Futurista

I manifesti del futurismo

Three Reasons Why Futurism is more Contemporary than Ever – essay by  Marco Bevolo

Literature Online

Web of Science


Fig Leaf Wardrobe

August 27, 2009



The V & A are hosting a new exhibition celebrating contemporary design Telling Tales : Fantasy and Fear in Contemporary Design

The V & A writes that the exhibition ‘ explores the recent trend among European designers for unique or limited edition pieces that push the boundaries between art and design.’

‘It showcases furniture, lighting and ceramics, designed by a new generation of international designers, including Tord BoontjeMaarten Baas,  Jurgen Bey and Studio Job, who are all inspired by the spirit of story-telling. Each tells a tale through their use of decorative devices, historical allusions or choice of materials, sharing common themes such as fantasy, parody and a concern with mortality’

The exhibition is free, open daily 10.00am -17.30pm and Fridays 10.00am -21.30pm, and runs until the 18th October. 

La Mort du duc de Guise

August 25, 2009

Music notes

Alhambra Theatre , London

‘At a “private exhibition” yesterday afternoon, Messers. Pathe Freres, in conjunction with the management, showed on the cinematograph  three wordless plays from Paris.’

‘On the cinematograph we saw not only the murder …but glimpses of the life of cafes , grand and humble …and all sorts of thrilling things, including a  danse d’Apache by Mlle. Mistenguette and a man.’

‘All these, of course,  not in the flesh, but on the films , while the orchestra played….next came a version of  L’Arlesienne… and finally the Murder of the Duke of Guise, a play specially composed for  this kind of performance , by M. Lavenden, and acted by no lesser people than M. le Bargey, M. Albert Lambert, and Mlle. Gabrielle Robbinne.’  The Times, Saturday, Nov 21, 1908; pg. 13; Issue 38810; col

Camille Saint-Saens wrote in 1908 the first modern film score for the cinema, for the silent film Murder of the Duke of Guise [sometimes refered to as  L’Assassinat du duc de Guise].    The film only ran for about 18 minutes, but has become of great historical importance in the development of silent films, film scores, and sound of  the ‘talkies’.  Silent films were still popular in France up to the 1930s.

It is interesting to note that as the film achieved critical acclaim, going some way of launching the fledgeling film industry into popular culture, Saint-Saëns did not himself seek the notariety associated with later film-stars and film score composers.   Saint-Saëns wrote to the German journalist M. Levin in 1901  “I take very little notice of either praise or censure, not because I have an exalted idea of my own merits (which would be foolish), but because in doing my work, and fulfilling the function of my nature, as an apple-tree grows apples, I have no need to trouble myself with other people’s views.”

The Union of Film Music Composers [UFMC] is celebrating the centenary of film music, in association with the Federation of Film and Audiovisual Composers of Europe [FFACE].  UFMC writes that   ‘Le film marque un tournant dans l’histoire du cinéma en édifiant d’une première pierre l’histoire de la musique originale : la composition de Saint-Saëns suit très précisément chaque scène, n’autorisant au chef aucune désynchronisation avec l’image. D’autres extraits de musiques de films ainsi qu’une masterclass suivront la projection.’

 If you would like to lean more about Saint-Saëns and early film music, please see the links below….

Musical memories by Camille Saint-Saëns

French cinema : from its beginnings to the present by Rémi Fournier Lanzoni  shelved on L evel 2 at 791.430944/LAN

The sounds of early cinema /edited by Richard Abel and Rick Altman  shelved on Level 2 at 791.4309/SOU

Spellbound in darkness :a history of the silent film by George C. Pratt shelved on Level 2 at 791.4309/PRA

The ciné goes to town :French cinema, 1896-1914 /Richard Abel shelved on Level 2 at 791.430944/ABE

Musicians of To-Day, by Romain Rolland [1915]

Film and Sound Online – a set of collections of film and video. Login via UK Federation, choose Loughborough University (ATHENS) from the drop-down list then login with your Athens username and password.   Available via MetaLib.

Different significations

August 13, 2009



 Samuel Johnson Tercentenary 2009 

‘This Month will be publifhed, in Two large VOLUMES in FOLIO (Price bound Four Pounds Ten Shillings) A DICTIONARY of the ENGLISH LANGUAGE ; In which the Words are deducted from their Originals and illuftrated in their different Significations, by Examples from the beft Writers.  To which are prefixed, a GRAMMAR and a HISTORY of the LANGUAGE by SAMUEL JOHNSON A.M. ‘

Public Advertiser (London, England), Saturday, March 1, 1755; Issue 6346

Creating and publishing dictionaries had been popular by Johnson’s time,  when previously the idea of looking up information in a book, using the front and middle and end of a book, A-Z , had been a relative novelty.

Johnson was an extraordinary writer, always strapped for cash, and the dictionary became a great challege for him to compile over many years, sifting out words and descriptions suitable for his readers from those he felt were not suitable  [every language has … its improprieties and absurdities, which it is the duty of the lexicographer to correct or proscribe..  ‘ Preface to the Dictionary]

It is interesting to note that Johnson was well aware that despite the publishing of a list of words and their meanings, the English language would still grow and develop.  In the preface of the the Dictionary he tells his reader that ‘sounds are too volatile and subtile for legal restraints….Those who have much leisure to think, will always be enlarging the stock of ideas, and every increase of knowledge, whether real or fancied, will produce new words, or combinations of words.’

Johnson’s friends were perhaps rightly aggreived to see the poor send off the author received at Westminster Abbey when Johnson died in 1784.    Wax candles had been ordered, along with the playing of the organ, however one person observed  that ‘not a key of the organ was ftruck, or a fingle taper was lighted up on the occaifon.  The fervice, the mutilated fervice, was mumbled over …in the moft unfkilful and unfeeling manner….’ Public Advertiser (London, England), Tuesday, December 28, 1784; Issue 15785


If you would like to learn more about Dr Samuel John and his time, please see the resources below.

Domestick privacies :Samuel Johnson and the art of biography /edited by David Wheeler  shelved on Level 2 at 828.6 JOH/DOM

The political writings of Dr. Johnson /edited by J.P. Hardy shelved on Level 2 at 942.07/JOH

The life of Samuel Johnson /James Boswell ; edited, abridged and annotated by John Canning shelved on Level 2 at 828.6 JOH/BOS

BBC Stoke and Stafforshire

Icons – a portrait of England

Johnson Collection

Dr Johnson’s House

Samuel Johnson Tercentenary

Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum

The Poet’s Song

August 12, 2009



Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson, Baron, 1809-1892

The rain had fallen, the Poet arose, 
 He pass’d by the town and out of the street, 
A light wind blew from the gates of the sun, 
And waves of shadow went over the wheat,

Although the Victorian poet laureate Alfred Tennyson was a household name in poetry,  Tennyson’s poetry received  mixed receptions during his lifetime. 

In May 1842 The Examiner  harshly criticised  Tennyson for making ‘Greek compounds out of homely Saxon phrases’ ;  and later in April 1847 an article in the The Hull Packet and East Riding Times still described Tennyson as a poet with a ‘peculiar but undoubted talent’ . 

Tennyson’s catholic imagery, the poetic preoccupation with death, illness, and fate,  may not have been to every reader’s taste, nor the Burns-like of accents such as ‘Wheer ‘asta beän saw long and meä liggin’ ‘ere aloän?  Noorse? thoort nowt o’ a noorse: whoy, Doctor’s abeän an’ agoän’  of the Northern Farmer.   Tennyson’s name was even parodied by W.G. Gilbert in ‘The Rival Curates’ as the ‘lamb like’ Reverend Lawn Tennison.

However with the publication of poems such as The Charge of The Light Brigade, The Lady of Shallot and Ulysses, and others containing lush descriptions of English countryside – including the victorian sentimental take on medieval literature and stories [Old Sword! whose fingers clasp’d thee  Around thy carved hilt? ]  Tennyson became a household name.   

There are a number of resources available which give an insight into the poetry, plays and prose of Tennyson and the times he lived in.   Loughborough University Library holds over 140 books on Tennyson and his works as well as online poetry journals such as Victorian Poetry and Victorian Literature and Culture, which cam be accessed via MetaLib English and Drama databases etc.

Literature Online integrates over 300,000 works of poetry, prose and drama from the 8th to the 21st century, and contains over 500 poetical works of Tennyson, plus over 90 selected web texts, prose, references and critical texts.

BBC Poetry Season

Poetry Archive

The Tennyson Page

The Victorian Web

CAMIO: Catalog of Art Museum Images Online

July 28, 2009




Camio is a new picture resource available via MetaLib.

Camio is a premier resource of high-quality art images from around the world contributed and described by leading museums, all rights-cleared for educational use.

Every work in CAMIO is represented by at least one high-resolution image and a description. Many have additional views of the work, sound, video and curatorial notes.

Terms of Use

Please note:  Any Work (or part thereof) that is downloaded and/or copied into print, digital, or any other media shall include the proper attribution, including but not limited to any copyright notice, as shown for the Work when it is displayed through CAMIO, as well as the database copyright notice “CAMIO.© OCLC”. ……No Work (or any part thereof) may be incorporated into any Web site that is accessible to anyone other than Authorized Users.’

Access is direct from on-campus via MetaLib.    For off-campus access please login to the Library pages via the Remote Working Portal

Project Muse

July 6, 2009


 question mark 1


Project MUSE is excited to announce two new features that help users more easily locate articles relevant to their research.

The new features are: 

A ‘Search this Journal’ search box. This search box appears on each journal’s home page, on the Table of Contents (TOC) of each issue, and on each article.

The ‘Search This Journal’ feature enables a user to quickly check all issues of the journal in MUSE, with a single search, for all articles in that journal pertaining to a particular subject.

Summaries (abstracts) for articles. MUSE now provides a link for the summary of each article. Users know that the ability to scan summaries of articles is essential to determining which articles are relevant to their research.

That ability is now available in MUSE. The Summary links appear on the TOCs and in search results, next to the article format options of HTML and PDF.

MUSE on MetaLib

Project Muse is available on MetaLib

Your Athens username and password is required to access this database.  If you do not have your Athens username and password please contact Ask a Librarian.

MUSE on Facebook 

MUSE has been on Facebook for some time now….Find MUSE at  Become a fan of MUSE! You can also follow Muse on Twitter, @ProjectMUSE.