"A complete exposé of the modus operandi of fire eaters, heat resisters, poison eaters, venomous reptile defiers, sword swallowers, human ostriches, strong men, etc.", [by Harry Houdini, from the subtitle].
This is one of Nietzsche's early academic writings - a scholarly theory about Ancient Greek theatre, specifically tragedies. In a nutshell, this work theorizes about why (Greek) spectators enjoy watching actors in a long series of scenes that depict human suffering (i.e., tragedy). It is a curious question, especially at the time since scholars generally thought of the Greeks as "A race of men, well-fashioned, beautiful, envied, life-inspiring, like no other race hitherto" (per Nietzsche's introduction). What did they need tragedy for? The question itself, and the path Nietzsche takes to answer this question, outraged the academic world. Later, an older Nietzsche criticizes this book himself and warns the reader that this text "should be treated with some consideration and reserve; yet I shall not altogether conceal how disagreeable it now appears to me, how after sixteen years it stands a total stranger before me."
Reading the Cup is essentially a domestic form of Fortune-telling to be practiced at home, and with success by anyone who will take the trouble to master the simple rules laid down in these pages: and it is in the hope that it will provide a basis for much innocent and inexpensive amusement and recreation round the tea-table at home, as well as for a more serious study of an interesting subject, that this little guide-book to the science is confidently offered to the public.
Barnum, P. T.
P. T. Barnum exposes some of the chief humbugs of the world with his usual entertaining style. He looks at medicine and quacks, ghosts, witchcraft, religious humbugs, money manias, adventurers, personal reminiscences, and much more.
“... But, beside those great men, there is a certain number of artists who have a distinct faculty of their own by which they convey to us a peculiar quality of pleasure which we cannot get elsewhere; and these, too, have their place in general culture, and must be interpreted to it by those who have felt their charm strongly, and are often the objects of a special diligence and a consideration wholly affectionate, just because there is not about them the stress of a great name and authority.”
P. T. Barnum
The 1873 edition of the autobiography of the founding genius of the "Greatest Show on Earth," P.T. (Phineas Taylor) Barnum. It details his life and business struggles up to the year 1872. Not only a showman and a museum operator, but an antislavery politician, Connecticut state legislator, Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and temperance lecturer, Barnum lays aside some of the gilding to provide his thoughts on his career, economics, how to make money, and other issues of the day.
Tacitus, Publius Cornelius
The scene of the Dialogus de Oratoribus, as this work is commonly known, is laid in the sixth year of Vespasian, 75 a.D. The commentators are much divided in their opinions about the real author; his work they all agree is a masterpiece in the kind; written with taste and judgement; entertaining, profound, and elegant. It is normally considered to have been written by Tacitus, even though some ascribe it to Quintilian. The main subject is the decadence of oratory, for which the cause is said to be the decline of the education, both in the family and in the school, of the future orator. In a certain way, it can be considered a miniature art of rhetoric.
Ned Wayburn, a popular and outstanding choreographer of the early 1900's, writes about the different styles and requirements of dancing and his way of teaching it.
A collection of essays by American critic Clayton Hamilton concerning theatre & dramatic practices, and the criticism thereof, from an early 20th century perspective.
Albert Bigelow Paine
An authorized biography of Lillian Gish, the renowned silent film star known in her heyday as the First Lady of American Cinema. Albert Bigelow Paine chronicles Gish's early life, her close relationship with her sister Dorothy, her rise in film as an actor with Biograph Studios and muse of D. W. Griffith, her short time as a contract actor with MGM, and her return to the stage in the advent of the talkies. Peppered throughout with intimate and amusing anecdotes, this is a must-read for film historians, silent film enthusiasts, and admirers of one of cinema's legendary talents. (Tomas Peter)
John M. Burke
William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody is one of the legends of the American western frontier. As a teen he rode for the pony expressed and then drove for the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. He later rejoined the army as a scout and was awarded the medal of honor for his valor during the Indian Wars. His fame became worldwide, however, through his flamboyant Wild West shows which toured not only across the American West but through England and Europe.
John M. Burke served as Cody’s publicist and promoter for the Wild West shows, propelling him into celebrity status. From his preface to this biography:"An association of some thirty years with the subject of these pages, a familiarity with his history gained by opportune meetings and conversations with comrades now living, and those since dead—who were witnesses of the events that assisted to make the individual prominent—makes me feel it a public duty to accede to the publisher’s request to compile a short, sharp, and veracious account of the unique history of this picturesque character. The compiler of the accompanying pages has attempted to present to the reader, in a terse, compact compendium of facts, the story of a career that, if given in a detailed biography, would absorb volumes, believing that owing to his prominence at home and abroad the public desire some authentic knowledge of the notable events in his career. In fact, here are presented a few plain truths, unadorned, for the benefit of those too occupied to have heretofore learned the story and triumphs of the frontier lad of nine years, from the wild Western scenes of Kansas and Nebraska, from the prairies of the Platte to the parlors of the East and the palaces of Europe."
Niccolò (or Nicolò) Paganini (1782 – 1840) was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. François-Joseph Fétis (1784 – 1871) was a Belgian musicologist, composer, teacher, and one of the most influential music critics of the 19th century.
Ethel Brilliana Tweedie
In this collection of essays the author gives us an opportunity to peek into the mysterious life of the theatre; she recalls her numerous conversations with and anecdotes about the "stage folk", such as actors, actresses, playwrights, stage directors or managers. However, her portrayal of theatrical life doesn't aim at glamorising the profession and the day-to-day life of those connected with the stage. On the contrary, if there's one overarching theme to her stories it is the repeated assurance that it's a hard and precarious existence, even for those at the top of the profession, let alone those who play minor parts and are rarely mentioned.
Julia Darrow Cowles
In preparing this book the author has sought to awaken a keener perception and a higher appreciation of the artistic and ethical value of story-telling; to simplify some of its problems; to emphasize the true delight which the story-teller may share with her hearers; and to present fresh material which answers to the test of being good in substance as well as in literary form.
In presenting this autobiography to the public, the author feels it incumbent upon herself to impress upon her readers the fidelity and strict adherence to the truth, relative to the conditions which surround the player. In no instance has there been either exaggeration or a resort to imaginative creation. It is a true story with all the ugliness of truth unsoftened and unembellished. Nor is the situation presented an exceptional one. One has but to follow the career of the average actor to be convinced that the dramatic profession is not only inconsistent with but wholly hostile to the institution of marriage. Managers and actors alike know and admit this to be the truth—amongst themselves. What they say in print is, of course, merely so much self-exploitation. The success of any branch of "the show-business" is dependent on the bureau of publicity. (From the Foreword)
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.