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May the Fourth Be With You! A Star Wars Dig Deeper

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To say Star Wars is the best movie franchise of all time might be overselling it (especially considering the execrable episodes I-III), but it was the first movie I ever saw on the big screen, and yes, it was brand new when I saw it in 1977. I was five, and even though I didn’t understand the subtext, it helped define my lifelong love of science fiction and high fantasy and the same can be said of millions of fans worldwide. The question is “why”? Why is it so important to so many people? Why has it been translated into dozens of languages, spawned more movies, cartoons, dozens of novels, and a fanatical global following? Why are my friends handing down their original 1970’s Kenner action figures to their children, like some ancient sword passed down from their father’s, father’s, father? Why is it being reborn, yet again, by Disney and directed by the highly respected J.J Abrams?

Two simple words: It’s awesome.

Prior to Star Wars (now known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, an inelegant name for an inelegant time) a “Space Opera” was a pejorative term for the cheap, pulp comics of the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a science fiction story or drama set in space; space fiction esp. of an unsophisticated or clichéd type.” These stories are known for their melodramatic and overly romantic portrayals of enemies fighting each other in outer space using advanced, futuristic weaponry and technology.

By 1977, Space Opera was a well-established – if fringe – genre in comic books like Flash Gordon (1934), television shows like Star Trek (1966), and films like Barbarella ( 1968). But Star Wars brought something new to the equation; a complex coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of a totalitarianism and rebellion.

star-wars-issue-1-Alex-Ross-1

Themes of mysticism, oppression, community, colonialism, trade politics and self-discovery gave the first trilogy a depth that did not jibe with the “unsophisticated” definition of Space Opera. The genre had suddenly become something for grown ups: The number of times you saw “Jedi” became a badge of pride for geeks and non-geeks alike. Its state-of-the-art special effects blurred the line between reality and fiction to the point that robots and fighting teddy bears became lovable – and essential – characters. Discussions about hyperdrive, Jedi mind tricks, and the feasibility of real world light sabers became water cooler conversation. It marked a sea change that first legitimized Space Opera and, by extension, science fiction as a mainstream genre.

Viewership for shows like Star Trek and Battlestar Gallactica swelled as fans hungered for more and the success of these shows and ancillary movies spawned hundreds of sci-fi knock-offs and permutations. Whether you love Star Wars or not, it can be argued that all modern science fiction, from blockbuster movies like Interstellar and Transformers to TV shows like Futurama and Doctor Who, owe their continued success, and even their genesis, to a low budget 1970’s film trilogy about a farm boy, a scoundrel, a sassy princess, and a few droids who toppled an oppressive empire and saved their galaxy a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

To learn more about the Star Wars universe and its influence, check out these Falvey Memorial Library resources:

Non-Fiction Books:
Star Wars and Philosophy : More Powerful than you Can Possibly Imagine
by Kevin S. Decker
PN1995.9.S695 S76 2005 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

Empire Building : The Remarkable, Real-life Story of Star Wars
by Garry Jenkins
PN1995.9.S695 J46 1999 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

Culture, Identities, and Technology in the Star Wars Films : Essays on the Two Trilogies
by Carl Silvio
PN1995.9.S695 S55 2007 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

From Star Wars to Indiana Jones : The Best of the Lucasfilm Archives
by Mark Vaz
PN1995.9.S695 V3913 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

Fiction Books:
Star Wars: Darth Plagueis
by James Luceno
PS3562.U254417 D37 – Falvey popular reading collection, Main floor

Star Wars: Heir to the Empire  by Timothy Zahn  PS3576.A33 H45 1991 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

e-Books:
How Star Wars Conquered the Universe : The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise
by Chris Taylor

Articles:
Search for articles using the search terms “Star Wars” (in quotes) and Film. Other useful search terms: politics, mysticism, influence, impact, technology, etc.

For help with research on the movies and their influence, contact Rob LeBlanc, first-year experience & humanities librarian at robert.leblanc@villanova.edu.


Rob LeBlanc is first-year experience & humanities librarian.Rob-ed


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‘Caturday: Poets, Then and Now

Five years ago Christine Simmons, ’10, then editor-in-chief of Arthology, presented the newest issue of Villanova’s student literary-art magazine at Falvey’s Open Mic Poetry Reading. This link will take you to the full blog article that mentions other poets and artists, including the Senior Class Poet of 2010, Emily Southerton, whose work was published in Arthology.

I wonder who will be featured this year at the Open Mic event on April 22.

Christine Simmons

Christine Simmons, ’10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


LuisaCywinski_headshot thumbnail‘Caturday feature by Luisa Cywinski, writer, Communication & Service Promotion team, and team leader, Access Services.


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Women’s History Month: Power & Magic in the Kitchen

Historically speaking, the kitchen is a woman’s domain. Women were chained to their stoves for hours on end. Cooking skills were right up there with other desirable traits, such as purity, appearance, and obedience to men. As Laura Schenone puts it in her book, A thousand years over a hot stove, “cooking reveals itself as a source of power and magic, and, at the same time, a source of oppression in women’s lives.”

To paraphrase Schenone, what women learned and what they knew wouldn’t be found in a book. It was passed down in the oral tradition, shared with daughters and friends. Women shared information and found support for more than just cooking. They relied on each other to learn healing remedies, to craft utensils and containers, to secure moral support, and to learn survival skills.

When times made life difficult and challenged even the most experienced cook, women found ways to feed their families with what little food was available. They would pool their resources or come to the aid of a hungry family. Women created new recipes to stretch the limited types and quantities of food.

Not unlike other American households, during World War II, Eleanor Roosevelt’s housekeeper, Ms. Henrietta Nesbitt found ways to deal with meat rationing and developed “meat-stretcher” recipes. There is one such recipe in The Husbandman, an agricultural newspaper. This newspaper was published during America’s Gilded Age, a period when the women’s suffrage movement was strengthening in the United States.

The original recipe for scrap pie is below. My adaptation follows the image.

Scrap Pie – 1886

The husbandman, v. XIII, no. 640, Wednesday, November 24, 1886

Scrap Pie Women's History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrap Pie – 2015

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. white or red potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks

½ large onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp. chicken, beef, or vegetable broth

1 egg, beaten

4 tbsp. butter

¼ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare and assemble all ingredients.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain and set aside. Sauté onion and set aside. Use 1 tbsp. butter to coat the inside of a 9” pie plate. Cover the inside bottom of the pie plate with ground beef. Drizzle broth over beef. Layer the sautéed onion over the beef. Boil chopped potatoes in large pot of water until potatoes are tender. Turn off burner, drain and return potatoes to pot. Mash potatoes until smooth. Add the beaten egg, 1 tbsp. butter, salt, and pepper to the mashed potatoes. Whisk by hand or use an electric hand mixer until smooth. Cover the beef with the mashed potato mixture. Use a dinner fork to create a design on the potatoes. Use remaining 2 tbsp. of butter to dot the top of the potatoes.

beefbeef onionsbeef potato

 

 

 

 

 

Bake at 375° until top is browned, about 30 – 35 minutes.

Scrap Pie done

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makes 4-6 servings. Serve with salad or cooked vegetables.

Below are links to books, articles and blogs for your reading, watching and listening pleasure.

A thousand years over a hot stove can be requested through E-ZBorrow or Interlibrary Loan.

What we lose in losing Ladies’ Home Journal (Thanks to Laura Bang, Special Collections, for the link.)

The First Kitchen

Women’s History and Food History: New Ways of Seeing American Life

#FoodieFriday: 5 Kitchen Appliances and Food Creations that Transformed Women’s Lives in the 20th Century

Women’s History Month – Audio and Video

My thanks to Michael Foight, Special Collections, for sending me the link to our digitized copy of The Husbandman.


LuisaCywinski_headshot thumbnailMonthly food blog feature by Luisa Cywinski, writer, Communication & Service Promotion, and team leader, Access Services.


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Art of Spring Break: See Rare Illustrations that Complement Cortona Painting—A Conservation Update

ARTOFSB
What is the latest news about the conservation of “The Triumph of David,” the large painting attributed to Pietro da Cortona, located in the Reading Room of Falvey Hall (aka Old Falvey)?

Conservation is well under way. The painting has been cleaned, areas where paint is missing have been filled (these are the reddish brown areas visible), the painting has been varnished several times and the conservator,

deGhetaldi

deGhetaldi

Kristin deGhetaldi, and her interns are now in-painting (filling in with color the areas where paint was lost). This in-painting is a slow process, using very soft, fine pointed brushes to make tiny strokes. Thus, you are not likely to see dramatic changes day to day or even week to week.

However, one very obvious change to the room is the addition of a small exhibit housed in two cases, one on each side of the gated entrance to the painting. This exhibit, designed by Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, will remain on display until the conservation of “The Triumph of David” is completed.

In her introduction to the exhibit, Bang explains, “Princess Ruspoli’s adopted daughter, Maria Theresa Droutzkoy, also a princess after marrying a Russian prince in 1945, provided funds for the framing and conservation of “The Triumph of David” in the 1950s. [The painting itself was donated to Villanova University by Princess Ruspoli.] She and her husband, Prince Alexis Droutzkoy, donated some other art to the University at the same time, as well as four books that were donated to the Library’s Special Collections, on display in these cases.”

The two books in the left case are both open to show illustrations. The first book is Catalogue of Paintings Forming the Private Collection of P. A. B. Widener: Ashbourne, Near Philadelphia, written by Aliene Ivers Robinson and published in Paris in 1885. The large black and white illustration shows a man with two horses in an expansive landscape. At the time this catalog was published, it was not possible to print photographs in books, so what is shown is a black and white engraving of the painting.

P.A.B. Widener

P.A.B. Widener

P. A. B. Widener, Peter Arrell Brown Widener (1834-1915), was a wealthy Philadelphia businessman, an art collector and a former Philadelphia city treasurer. His collection included works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Edouard Manet and Auguste Renoir. Ashbourne, the residence named in the book’s title, still stands in Elkins Park although it is now called Lynnewood Hall. In 1940 P. A. B. Widener’s sole surviving son, Joseph, donated over 2,000 items from his father’s collection—sculptures, paintings and decorative arts—to the National Gallery of Art.

The Catalogue of Paintings itself was donated to Special Collections in 1961. It is number 17 of an edition of 250. Widener gave this signed book to Aliene Ivers Robinson. One wonders how it made its way into the possession of the Droutzkoys.

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In the same case is volume three of the 12 volume set of Cérmonies Et Coutumes Religieuses De Tous Les Peuples Du Monde: Représentées Par Des Figures Dessinées De La Main De Bernard Picart [Religious Ceremonies and Customs of All the Peoples of the World: Illustrated by Hand Drawn Pictures by Bernard Picart]. The text, in French, is by Jean Frederick Bernard of Amsterdam; the engraved illustrations, as noted in the title, are the work of Bernard Picart. This large volume was published in Paris in 1807.

Picard and Bernard intended to document the rituals and ceremonies of all the religions known at the time. Cérmonies Et Coutumes Religieuses …, volume three, discusses the Greeks and Protestants. It is opened to show text on the right and three illustrations on the left page. Two of the illustrations show ceremonies on Pentecost in The Hague (Netherlands) and Schmerhorn (Germany); the third illustration is titled “The Kings’ Star Carried (or on Parade) through Amsterdam[Netherlands].” The three Kings are likely the Magi. Falvey’s Digital Library has all 12 volumes of this edition digitized.

The series of Cérmonies Et Coutumes was first published between 1723 and 1737. Picart was a famous 18th century engraver. Cérmonies Et Coutumes is the first work undertake such a broad view of the known religions, and it was reprinted several times. Falvey’s set is a later reprint. For the significance of Cérmonies Et Coutumes, see The Book That Changed Europe.

The second case holds two additional books donated by the Droutzkoys: Shelley and Keats As They Struck Their Contemporaries: Notes Partly From Manuscript Sources by Edmund Blunden, and an untitled photograph album. Shelley and Keats … was published as an edition of 310 copies in London in 1925. Falvey’s copy is number five, and it is signed by Blunden, the editor; by the designer, Wyndham Payne; and by the publisher, binder and typographer, Cyril W. Beaumont. Payne also designed the cover, a wallpaper-like pattern, as well as the decoration of the title page. Prince Droutzkoy donated this book in 1960.

The most fascinating book in this small exhibit, for this writer, is the photograph album. Bang says, “This appears to be a photograph album containing original photographs of the city of Florence.” The album is opened to two photographs, one of the Piazza Santa Croce and the other of the cloister of the church of Santa Croce and the Pazzi Chapel designed by Brunelleschi. In the lower left margin of each photograph is “Edizione Brogi.” The photographs seem to be albumen prints.

A bit of research provided additional information: Giacomo Brogi (1822-1881), an Italian photographer, founded a company in Florence which published photographs. In the late 1800s the company employed 85 people. Brogi photographed not only Florence but also other sites in Italy, and he traveled to the Middle East in 1868. Giacomo Brogi had shops in Florence, Naples and Rome.

Carlo Brogi, retrieved from http://www.giacomobrogi.it

Carlo Brogi, http://www.giacomobrogi.it

His son, Carlo Brogi (1850-1920), continued the business after his father died. Carlo Brogi sold both his own and his father’s photographs under the label “Edizione Brogi Firenze.” This writer speculates that the photographs on display date from the 1880s and that the album may have been purchased as a souvenir of someone’s trip in a time, very unlike ours, when few people owned cameras.

One wonders where and when Prince and Princess Droutzkoy acquired these books. And did they purchase them as collector’s items, or did they enjoy them for their aesthetic appeal?

The exhibit will remain on display for the duration of the conservation of “The Triumph of David.” Small though it is, the display is fascinating and well worth a very detailed examination. And if the conservators are working on “The Triumph of David” during your visit, feel free to enter the fenced area for a closer look and to ask questions. The conservators are very gracious about sharing their knowledge.


imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 


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‘Caturday: Heel’d – A Villanova Documentary About People & Pets

Heel'd For some, Spring Break is an opportunity to serve others. Next week Villanova ‘Cats will be traveling all over the world on service trips that benefit people and their communities.

Social justice, as noted on Villanova’s Center for Service and Social Justice website, is “action that seeks to bring about peace and justice in the world” and can be achieved “through service, advocacy, and justice education.”

Two years ago, as part of a social justice course, a short documentary was written, filmed and produced by a group of Villanova students. It tells the story of “a local Philadelphia nonprofit, Hand2Paw, and its mission to bring together homeless youth and homeless animals.” (Main Line Media News)

Here’s the official trailer.

 


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Share the Love: Seeking Romantic Art for Valentine’s Day?

SHARETHELOVE2

When asked to write a blog about romantic art, I could think of no images to accompany it; this is not a typical subject for this art historian. A search of Falvey’s catalog for “art, romantic” retrieved 297 titles, but these deal with romanticism in art and in literature. A Google search first gave me “Romanticism – The Metropolitan Museum of Art,” followed by “Romanticism – Wikipedia, the free encylopedia” and “images for romantic art.” None of these references yielded the type of images associated with love or Valentine’s Day. What they did have in common were references to a specific period in art history, the style known as Romanticism: a period which lasted from about 1750 to about 1850.

What is Romanticism in art? Broadly defined it is the beginning of modernism. Artists, according to Hugh Honour, had no programs nor common goals but were concerned with “integrity of feeling” (p. 25). Their subject matter is considered romantic because it stresses ideal beauty or strong emotions or combinations of ideal beauty, strong emotions and other materials. Gardner (Art Through the Ages, ninth edition, p. 872) says, “The Romantic artist, above all else, wanted to excite the emotions of the audience.” And these emotions can be either positive or negative.

"John Constable - Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Garden - Google Art Project" by John Constable - SQHNHPBhfP7FBg at Google Cultural Institute,  Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia

“John Constable – Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Garden – Google Art Project” by John Constable  at Google Cultural Institute, Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Is it just us, or is this the view looking east from Tolentine Hall?

This is one of the great ages of landscape painting – J. M. W. Turner, John Constable, Caspar David Friedrich and the American, Thomas Cole are major artists. Other artists with very different subjects are Antoine-Jean Gros, Théodore Géricault, Eugène Delacroix and Henry Fuseli.

The Barque of Dante, Delacroix 1822 (150 Kb); Oil on canvas, 189 x 242 cm (74 1/2 x 95 1/4"); Musee du Louvre, Paris

The Barque of Dante, Delacroix
1822 (150 Kb); Oil on canvas, 189 x 242 cm (74 1/2 x 95 1/4″); Musee du Louvre, Paris

The Metropolitan Museum of Art compiled a list of works of art dealing with love, but again, these will not meet your expectations of romantic, Valentine-type art.

For a more light-hearted approach to the subject, visit, “Love Is in the Air, and in the Art,” by Ken Johnson, “The New York Times, Art & Design,” published Feb. 7, 2013.

Dig Deeper

Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Romanticism.”
Romanticism by Hugh Honour. A classic work.
The Romantic Rebellion: Romantic Versus Classic Art by Kenneth Clark. Another classic.
The Romantic Rebellion by Eric Newton.
Romantic Art in Britain: Paintings and Drawings, 1760 – 1860 by Frederick J. Cummings.
German Romantic Painting by Hubert Schrade
Romantic Painting in America, Museum of Modern Art exhibition catalog.
Historical Dictionary of Romantic Art and Architecture by Allison Lee Palmer.


imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 


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Now through March 27, Peruse the Bloomsbury Collection

evUntil March 27 the library has a trial subscription to Bloomsbury Collections. This is a collection of e-books from Bloomsbury Publishing, which incorporates the previous Continuum, Methuen, and Berg imprints, among others. The collection is strong across a wide range of humanities and social science disciplines, including classical studies, history, literary studies, philosophy, political science and religious studies.

Click here to access the collections.

BLOOMSBURY

Some highlights: The Philosophy collection contains titles of particular interest in critical theory, postmodernism, political philosophy and aesthetics, as well as a number of excellent series, including Bloomsbury Studies in Continental Philosophy, Key Thinkers, and Ancient Commentators on Aristotle. The Literature collection contains the Arden Shakespeare, and the History collection has a large number of titles on ancient, medieval and early modern topics.

The collection is easily searchable and can be browsed by subject, so it’s simple to find book chapters on your topic of research. It also features a particularly clear interface. Most titles include a book summary/abstract, and individual chapters can be read as HTML, or downloaded and printed as PDF files.

Please contact Nikolaus Fogle (nikolaus.fogle@villanova.edu) with any questions or comments.


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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 25

ADVENT DAY 25

1 Day Till Christmas

“Trust” by Gerald Dierkes
Read by Gerald Dierkes
Submitted by Gerald Dierkes

Gerald Dierkes is an information services specialist, and one of three Falvey staff members to submit one of their own poems for the Advent calendar.

With this final post I would like to thank everyone who has followed along with our Advent calendar as we made our way towards Christmas, my colleagues for contributing their favorite poems, especially my colleagues who bravely shared their own beautiful work with us, and our graduate assistant Michelle for working with me to get each one of these posts up on our blog.

I hope you enjoy our final poem, written and read by Gerald Dierkes, a reflection on trust.

Trust

Joseph, Mary’s husband, did you feel shocked
to learn of Mary’s unplanned pregnancy?
_____________________________Betrayed
by her apparent infidelity
so soon after your commitment to each other?
_____________________________Confused
by Mary’s joy in anticipating her child’s birth?
_____________________________Overwhelmed
by her implausible explanation?
_____________________________Love
as you protected her from legal consequences
of her alleged adultery?
_____________________________Duty
as you accepted responsibility for her child?
_____________________-_______Judged
by your neighbors in your small community?
_____________________________Puzzled
by God’s plan?
_____Why didn’t God arrange things differently?

When Caesar Augustus’ decree forced you to
leave your home in Galilee,
journey to Bethlehem, and
cause Mary to travel in the ninth month of her pregnancy and
give birth away from her home, away from her family, did you ask,
_____Why didn’t God time things differently?

When you sought shelter at an inn for your obviously pregnant wife
—and were refused—
did you think, What gives, God? I’m trying to follow your will, aren’t I?
You persevered, though, finding a shelter for animals in which Mary could give birth,
without her mother, without a midwife, with only you at her side.
Mary did give birth, and God’s Son was born into our world.
_____Why didn’t God plan things differently?

Mere days later, the angel again directed you to change your plans,
this time fleeing to Egypt for an unspecified length of time,
causing your father, Jacob, and Mary’s mother, Ann, to wait years before seeing their grandson.
_____Why didn’t God do things differently?

Did you expect God’s will to be predictable, logical (by human standards), and non-challenging?
Did you ever pause, in your struggle to trust God, to consider how much He trusts you?


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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 24

ADVENT DAY 24

2 Days Till Christmas

“Fra Moses And The Flowers” by Eleanor C. Donnelly
Read by Sarah Wingo
Submitted by Laura Bang

Laura Bang is Falvey’s Digital and Special Collections Curatorial Assistant, and she is found this wonderful historical poem to share. This poem comes from page 2 of the first issue of The Villanova Monthly, from January 1893. The Villanova Monthly was the first student newspaper, running from 1893-1897. Returning after a hiatus in 1916, the paper was renamed The Villanovan.

The poem itself is by Eleanor C. Donnelly (1838-1917), a local Philadelphia Catholic poet. Falvey has digitized the Eleanor C. Donnelly Papers from the American Catholic Historical Society, which can be viewed in our Digital Library.

Dec 23rd FraMosesAndTheFlowers

 

 


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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 23

ADVENT DAY23

3 Days Till Christmas

little tree, by: E.E. Cummings
Read by Alan Davis Drake
Submitted by Melanie Wood

Melanie Wood is Falvey’s Academic Integration Technical Specialist. This poem is, to me, a simple and sweet reminder to take notice of and appreciate the beauty of the little things in life.


 

little tree, by: E.E. Cummings

 

little tree

little silent Christmas tree

you are so little

you are more like a flower

 

who found you in the green forest

and were you very sorry to come away?

see i will comfort you

because you smell so sweetly

 

i will kiss your cool bark

and hug you safe and tight

just as your mother would,

only don’t be afraid

 

look the spangles

that sleep all the year in a dark box

dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,

the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

 

put up your little arms

and i’ll give them all to you to hold

every finger shall have its ring

and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy

 

then when you’re quite dressed

you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see

and how they’ll stare!

oh but you’ll be very proud

 

and my little sister and i will take hands

and looking up at our beautiful tree

we’ll dance and sing

“Noel Noel”


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Last Modified: December 22, 2014