History


Quotes

A taste of armadillo

The armadillo, remarkable for its laminated shell, when baked in its scaly coat is a good treat, the flesh being considered delicate eating, somewhat like a rabbit in taste and colour. The flesh of the large twelve-banded Brazilian one (Dasypus Tatouay) is said to be the best of all. In South America there are several species of armadillo, all of which are used for food when met with.

Le style atome

The team's cartooning technique – partly inherited but soon individualised – was an animated, breezy, ultra-modern one. Eventually, it became known as 'le style atome'. This moniker derived from the 1958 Brussels World's Fair, whose signature was a sculpture called 'the Atomium'. An outsized icon of Populuxe design, this seemed to match the sparky visual spirit of post-War Spirou. Certainly it paralleled the artists' angular shapes, their streamlined drawings and a use of bright, sharp colours. Graphically much brasher than Hergé's ligne claire, le style atome gave a nod to '50s and '60s US culture. It featured rounder speech bubbles instead of rectangles and privileged short, spunky dialogue over declamations.

[...]

Spirou's energetic art is now known as "the Marcinelle school" or "the school of Charleroi". Both terms refer to the site of the Dupuis' printing firm. But those artists who worked with Jijé had a different name for it. They called the work gros nez – or "big nose" – comedy.

The flipside of Marcinelle art was found in the pages of Tintin. A vehicle for Hergé's hero, this weekly was the laboratory of a rival "Brussels' school". Just as Marcinelle art reflected Jijé’s temperament, the Tintin employees operated in Hergé's shadow. Their highly polished work was required to resemble his and, in their atelier, an artist wore his suit and tie. He would labour to produce pristine pages, with refined lines underscored by un-shaded colour.

Finding space to be alone in the 18th century

This reminds us of a problem which has faced people for much of history. Finding space to be alone was a challenge for rich and poor alike. Larger households would be filled with staff, while in the houses of those lower down the social scale, there was simply not enough room. The lack of privacy caused by all these bodies jostling for space was compounded by the nature of premodern architecture. Until corridors came into fashion during the 18th century (which in itself affected only the wealthiest households), houses were designed en enfilade, with rooms running onto each other. Household traffic was not contained within corridors, but rather moved through rooms, meaning that doors could (and did) swing open at compromising moments.

Martha Bailey (History Today)
All By Myself
Published in History Today Volume 71 Issue 3 March 2021

Notes

Ye olde colophon

A common colophon from the days of hand writing or copying manuscripts was “Finished, thank God.”

Weird Old Book Finder

Clive Thompson has made a wonderful little site called Weird Old Book Finder, where you can input a search term and get a random old book in return. I tried searching for “food” and was presented with this mouthful of a title from 1859: “The Curiosities of Food; or the Dainties and Delicacies of Different Nations Obtained from the Animal Kingdom” (Google Books) The gist of it is: if an animal exists, someone has made good eatin’ out of it. It reads like some explorer has traveled the world and eaten his way through a list of exotic and endangered animals. Elephant’s paw? Yes, please! Here’s a taste:

The armadillo, remarkable for its laminated shell, when baked in its scaly coat is a good treat, the flesh being considered delicate eating, somewhat like a rabbit in taste and colour. The flesh of the large twelve-banded Brazilian one (Dasypus Tatouay) is said to be the best of all. In South America there are several species of armadillo, all of which are used for food when met with.