mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
I was looking for the text of a song I sang (as part of a chorus) in college; it was a setting of Sara Teasdale's "Pierrot stands in a garden".  I fell over a 19-teens anthology that is entirely poems about Pierrot.    I remember reading Murder Must Advertise and having no idea at all who Pierrot, Pierrette, and Columbine were.   Why did the Commedia dell'arte characters make so little of a lasting mark in American culture?  (Or, can it be, in my head?)

edit: I have just run into the section of WW1 poems about Pierrot.  Bizarre.

PIERROT AT WAR
A Year ago in Carnival
We danced till break of day;
A year ago in Carnival
The boulevards were gay;
And roses shook the whispering air,
Like a great sibilant soft fanfare.
 
In Carnival, in Carnival,
A Prince of Magic comes,
To the sound of fifes, and the sound of horns,
And the sound of little drums.

A year ago in Carnival,
The lamps along the quays
Lay softer on the misty night
Than stars in leafy trees,
And down the ribboned sparkling street
Pierrot ran on twinkling feet.
 
Ah year! — There is no Carnival:
The north burns dusky red,
And on the white of Pierrot's brow
Is a long scar instead;
While ever the muttering runs
From the bleeding lips of the guns.
 
This year, this year at Carnival 
A Prince of Magic comes, 
With blood-red crest against the sky 
And a snarl of angry drums. 
 
Maxwell Struthers Hurt

Date: 2017-06-28 04:42 am (UTC)
sovay: (I Claudius)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Why did the Commedia dell'arte characters make so little of a lasting mark in American culture? (Or, can it be, in my head?)

I don't know that the U.S. retained much of a performance tradition of either the Commedia or its pantomime descendants. As far as Pierrot specifically goes, I think we got sort of the Decadent, literary version, and otherwise we had different sad clowns and holy fools, mostly on film.

I have just run into the section of WW1 poems about Pierrot. Bizarre.

It makes sense to me: if he's one of your universal archetypes, then of course he would have gone to the war like everyone else. I take it there's more than one poem on this theme?

Date: 2017-06-28 05:37 am (UTC)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
This year, this year at Carnival
A Prince of Magic comes,
With blood-red crest against the sky
And a snarl of angry drums.


I actually really like that.

Date: 2017-06-28 10:02 am (UTC)
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
From: [personal profile] sovay
It made me think of the Piper in L.M. Montgomery's Rilla of Ingleside (1921): "The Piper has comeā€”and he will pipe until every corner of the world has heard his awful and irresistible music."
Edited (punctuation) Date: 2017-06-28 10:03 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-06-28 07:54 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
I gather there was a lot of Pierrot imagery in Sayers' book of post WWI poetry, OP.1 (which I have not read)

Date: 2017-06-28 12:51 pm (UTC)
oracne: turtle (Default)
From: [personal profile] oracne
I must read that.

Date: 2017-06-28 11:15 pm (UTC)
ethelmay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ethelmay
And Pierrot is a nickname for Pierre, i.e., Peter, correct?

Date: 2017-06-28 07:55 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] caulkhead
It wouldn't have made much sense to me, but we did The Servant of Two Masters, which is pretty much Commedia, for GCSE.

Date: 2017-06-28 08:31 am (UTC)
oursin: Painting by Carrington of performing seals in a circus balancing coloured balls (Performing seals)
From: [personal profile] oursin
The Pierrot tradition lingered on in British popular entertainment - seaside end-of-pier or on the sands amusements often included Pierrots. Harlequin remained part of the great pantomime tradition for quite a long time. But this very British (even, perhaps, specifically English?) version of the Comedia del Arte did continue a recurrent literary motif into the interwar period: Noel Coward, 'Parisian Pierrot', and alluded to in novels well beyond Sayers (there is a good passage somewhere in one of GB Stern's 'rag-bag chronicles' about how she had to get over her early Pierrot-fixation). It would be an interesting topic to research but would be very broad - theatre/performance studies, art history, advertising, these various text.

Date: 2017-06-28 11:17 pm (UTC)
ethelmay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ethelmay
It even gets into Diana Wynne Jones: Polly plays Pierrot in a school play in Fire and Hemlock.

Re: Separated by a common language

Date: 2017-06-29 08:17 am (UTC)
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
From: [personal profile] oursin
Partly 1930s or so BBC English/RP - have seen an educational film featuring various members of the Terry/Gielgud family, and they all spoke in very clipped tones - and partly, I suspect, Coward's own lisp.

Date: 2017-06-28 12:01 pm (UTC)
sabotabby: (doom doom doom)
From: [personal profile] sabotabby
This is bleak and incredible.

Date: 2017-06-29 04:43 am (UTC)
recessional: a photo image of feet in sparkly red shoes (personal; from the fucking gnome king)
From: [personal profile] recessional
Oh they are absolutely tinkly!

It's like taking a bloody knife to a Thomas Kinkaide painting, and that's what I love about it.

(Not that anyone else has to; it just seemed meet to point out that you're quite right, it's just that tinkly is the point, tinkly till it turns on you and bites. I love that kind of thing.)

Date: 2017-06-28 12:50 pm (UTC)
oracne: Siegfried Sassoon (sassoon)
From: [personal profile] oracne
Whut?

All righty then.

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