A mixed bag of new books hitting the shelves; just what I love!
Mimi Colligan is one of our foremost writers on theatre and popular culture in 19th century Australia, and this fascinating new book focuses on the varied careers of two remarkable figures who should be whole lot better known in our performing arts history than they are. Rose Edouin and her husband George Benjamin William Lewis forged theatrical careers that saw them top the bills in Europe, China, India, New Zealand and Australia, encompassing everything from equestrian spectacles to circus to Shakespeare and beyond. The ephemeral nature of fame and popularity can be a cruel thing, but works like this demonstrate how the keen historian can reinvigorate forgotten lives of real accomplishment.
Samurai, stars of the stage and beautiful women : Kunisada und Kuniyoshi : masters of the color woodblock print: edited by Gunda Luyken and Beat Wismer
I find it hard to resist books on Japanese woodblock prints, and this hefty tome on the work of two great 19th century masters, Kunisada and Kuniyoshi, comes from a particularly lively time just prior to the Meiji Period, when all things Western started influencing this hitherto closed culture. The spirit of classic Ukiyo-e imbues these works, and the subject matter of samurais, stars of the stage and beautiful women all attest to the pre-eminence of the woodblock print as Japan’s truly popular art form.
Heavy metal : controversies and countercultures: edited by Titus Hjelm, Keith Kahn-Harris and Mark LeVine
Speaking of popular art forms, Heavy Metal has well and truly proved its staying power within the rock music universe, and is now over 40 years old (but don’t try telling it that!). This volume of essays investigates some of the controversies that have formed around the Metal scene over the years, and some of the chapter headings are enough to keep you awake at night: Twilight of the maggots? Valorization of metal in the rock press/ Dworkin’s nightmare: Porngrind as the sound of feminisit fears/ Extreme music for extreme people: Norwegian black metal and transcendent violence etc., etc. The Arts Library’s own metal-head, John, tells me that the gentleman on the cover is metal superstar Gaahl of the band Gorgoroth (and many others), and I believe him.
Awakening the night : art from Romanticism to the present: edited by Agnes Husslein-Arco, Brigitte Borchhardt-Birbaumer, and Harald Krejci
Continuing along a dark path, this beautiful volume based on an exhibition held at the Belvedere in Vienna, explores how artists over two centuries have responded to the idea of the night, and how our perceptions of it have changed with advances in technology; not to mention our means of capturing it. There are so many glorious images here, you could well dread the coming of the morn…….
Getting into metal from an early age, from our Picture Collection: