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The Kiss (1896) - William Heise

Ubu Roi (1896) - Alfred Jarry

Jarry's epochal play about human greed, cowardice, and stupidity, Ubu Roi (King Ubu), emerged from the presses on June 11, and premiered at the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre on December 10, 1896. The woodcut frontispiece for Ubu Roi is the best-known print by Jarry. It shows Ubu, with pointed head, spiral gut, and his physic-stick (bâton-à-physique), who became a symbol of ignorance and evil that has had a remarkably tenacious existence in the twentieth century. While Jarry cultivated a stance of political indifference, his revolutionary ideas challenged many assumptions about society and existence, and he has been understood as heralding the nihilist Dada movement and the theater of the absurd. In this lithographic announcement by Jarry for the performance of Ubu Roi, King Ubu appears as a shadow puppet with a segmented arm. He brandishes a dreadful, serrated scimitar in one hand and clutches a sack of gold in the other pincer-like hand. --http://www.ku.edu/~sma/printedart/jarry.htm [Dec 2004]

Rupert Carabin [...]

Africa [...] but the nudes carved by French sculptor Rupert Carabin are realistically plain and dumpy. This makes his wooden chair of 1896 with a naked woman bound to its back all the more disturbing, and a far cry from the Scot Charles Rennie Mackintosh's oak chair of 1904 with its pattern of ribs set at strict right angles. --http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/2000/0619/nouveau.html

The Kiss (1896) - William Heise

The Kiss is simple that. It's about 20 seconds long, each second pure and innocent as your first kiss. Even the way it is filmed, very close and personal, that it makes you feel like it is the first time you are witnessing a kiss. You're never going to see this unless you take a History of Film class. Make sure you're there for the first day of class because that's when they're going to show this flick. It stands today as one of the first motion picture shorts in America. --via imdb.com

Lasting just more than 20 seconds, The Kiss is one of the earliest films from the Edison Manufacturing Company, which dominated the early years of cinema. Edison defended his patents vehemently and prevented competition from many other companies in the United States, with the notable exception of Biograph, which used slightly different equipment and managed to make movies despite Edison's legal battles. Film scholars and historians credit The Kiss as showing the first screen kiss, but probably everyone in the world would agree that screen kisses have improved drastically since the 21-second clip. The lady pictured against a black background with actor John Rice, May Irwin, is not attractive whatsoever and does not seem to be very enthusiastic about her place in film history. The film, also often called "The May Irwin Kiss," uses a single camera position, like many other early short films. It lacks any cinematic value, but is one of many early demonstrations of film that tested the medium's ability to show motion, even just for a matter of seconds. --Jonathan L. Bowen http://www.orbitalreviews.com/pages/full/TheKiss.shtml [Sept 2004]

Havelock Ellis Publishes Sexual Inversion

Englishman Havelock Ellis published the first edition of his Sexual Inversion as Das Konträre Geschlechtsgefühle in Leipzig, Germany because English publishers turned him away for fear of obscenity charges. Ellis was not an invert himself, and the book is neither polemical nor salacious, but the book's many case studies gave inverts a chance to speak for themselves. The theory that Ellis propounded - that inversion is a congenital variation but not a disease - added to the controversy. When an English judge reviewed the book, he found it filthy and returned a guilty verdict against a man caught selling a copy to an undercover policeman.

Ellis rejected both the notion that inversion is a crime and the views of Ulrichs, Westphal, and Hirschfeld who all agreed that male inverts are effeminate. Instead, he presented a variety of case studies that showed that inverts are as variable in personality as "normal" men. By 1903, Ellis work was accepted by a respected American publisher and enjoyed many English language editions.

Ellis was an explorer of sexuality rather than a systematic thinker and never gained the following or notoriety of his contemporary Sigmund Freud who rejected Ellis' congenital theories in 1905. --© 1999, Andrew Wikholm, http://www.gayhistory.com/rev2/factfiles/ff1896b.htm

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896) - H.G. Wells

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896) - H.G. Wells [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

A shipwreck in the South Seas, a palm-tree paradise where a mad doctor conducts vile experiments, animals that become human and then "beastly" in ways they never were before--it's the stuff of high adventure. It's also a parable about Darwinian theory, a social satire in the vein of Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels), and a bloody tale of horror. Or, as H. G. Wells himself wrote about this story, "The Island of Dr. Moreau is an exercise in youthful blasphemy. Now and then, though I rarely admit it, the universe projects itself towards me in a hideous grimace. It grimaced that time, and I did my best to express my vision of the aimless torture in creation." This colorful tale by the author of The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds lit a firestorm of controversy at the time of its publication in 1896.--Amazon.com

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