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1897 article: Rosie O'Grady not so sweet

SharonA 22 Jul 09 - 12:02 AM
Amos 22 Jul 09 - 12:19 AM
Joybell 22 Jul 09 - 01:57 AM
SINSULL 22 Jul 09 - 08:46 AM
Desert Dancer 22 Jul 09 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 23 Jul 09 - 09:16 AM
Phil Edwards 23 Jul 09 - 09:25 AM
SharonA 23 Jul 09 - 11:03 AM
SharonA 23 Jul 09 - 11:52 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Jul 09 - 12:32 PM
Artful Codger 23 Jul 09 - 02:29 PM
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Subject: 1897 article: Rosie O'Grady not so sweet
From: SharonA
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 12:02 AM

I just stumbled across the following article and thought Mudcatters would enjoy it. Seems that some things just never change... like attitudes toward folk music and certain instruments. Anyone who has seen the movie "Awakenings" will recognize this story as an awakening gone awry! Reprinted from The New York Times, originally published on August 20, 1897, and submitted for your approval...


THE MANDOLIN IN HEALTH AND DISEASE

The case of Mamie Steinhaus, an inmate of Bellevue Hospital, has lately amazed a few physicians and made a lot of good, sentimental "copy" for the readers of some of the newspapers, but the most important and interesting aspect of the case seems to us to have been missed altogether. The mysterious malady of Mamie is a kind of catalepsy, and some ingenious medical practitioner prescribed music to awaken her from her protracted slumber. What the result might have been, if the advice thus given had been faithfully followed, may never be known. Music has not been used in medicine before, we believe, or if it has been, no record of the result is at hand. But the power of music, in fable if not in fact, is ever restful and soothing, inclining the listener to a state of physical tranquility. It was Congreve's idea that it possesses charms to soothe the savage breast, and presumably the poet believed that its influence was proportionately charming upon the breasts of folks not actually savage. But all music is not alike, and we can well understand that the right sort of music properly performed might exert such an influence upon a human being in a trance as to gently awaken him. The subject is certainly worth much thought, and in the case of Miss Steinhaus the experiment was worth making.

But it was not made. Instead of using music to awaken the patient, a creature in human guise was permitted to pick "Sweet Rosy O'Grady" on the mandolin by her bedside, the result being that Mamie presently barked like a dog, snarled, and foamed at the mouth. It is useless to argue that she was, nevertheless, awakened, and that, so far, the experiment was successful; for the prescription called for "music," and while the circumstances show that the girl was awakened by noise, there is no proof that any other noise would not have answered quite as well. Few noises are so disagreeable as the sound of the picking of a mandolin even when the formula followed in the picking is not that technically described as "Sweet Rosy O'Grady."

But no well-informed person ever called the picking of the mandolin music. To be sure, it has been exalted by a lot of third-rate poets with unmusical and rather too obvious ears; but facts are facts, and the mandolin really is no more closely related to musical instruments than a xylophone or a comb wrapped in a bit of paper. Its effect upon Mamie Steinhaus was not peculiar to her case, except that it was intensified because of her weak and hysterical condition. She did exactly what many sensitive persons with difficulty restrain themselves from doing when they are compelled to listen to the mandolin.

Copyright © The New York Times


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Subject: RE: 1897 article: Rosie O'Grady not so sweet
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 12:19 AM

LOL! 1897!!!   Wow, they don't write reviews like that much any more--except for Maureen Dowd!


A


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Subject: RE: 1897 article: Rosie O'Grady not so sweet
From: Joybell
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 01:57 AM

That's great, Thank you Sharon.
Having been part of the Banjo Club I seem to remember picking this very same tune on a banjo-mandolin along with about 100 other little kids. Audiences controlled their desire to bark, foam at the mouth, or scream -- but then mostly they were made up of our Mums and Dads.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: 1897 article: Rosie O'Grady not so sweet
From: SINSULL
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 08:46 AM

The New York Times, all the news that is fit to print.

LOL Great article.


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Subject: RE: 1897 article: Rosie O'Grady not so sweet
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 01:04 PM

Ha! I knew it!

~ Becky in Long Beach this week


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Subject: RE: 1897 article: Rosie O'Grady not so sweet
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 09:16 AM

"a creature in human guise was permitted to pick "Sweet Rosy O'Grady" on the mandolin..."

I do not believe that that image derived from science fiction appeared in the New York Times in 1897.

Sorry.

I like mandolin myself.


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Subject: RE: 1897 article: Rosie O'Grady not so sweet
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 09:25 AM

GUEST - I do not believe that that image derived from science fiction. Folklore, maybe.


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Subject: RE: 1897 article: Rosie O'Grady not so sweet
From: SharonA
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 11:03 AM

GUEST (Crazy Little Woman): Believe it. If you follow my link -- the title of the article I posted -- it will take you to a page in the NY Times archives that shows a scanned clipping from the newspaper. You'll have to scroll down to see it.

Why wouldn't an image derived from science fiction have appeared in an editorial in 1897? At the time, H.G. Wells had already published"The Time Machine", "The Island of Doctor Moreau" and "The Invisible Man", and he was working on "The War of the Worlds". But Mary Shelley had explored science in fiction far earlier than that: "Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus" was published in 1818.


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Subject: RE: 1897 article: Rosie O'Grady not so sweet
From: SharonA
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 11:52 AM

...Then there's Robert Lewis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1857). Then there's Jules Verne: "A Journey to the Center of the Earth" (1864), "From the Earth to the Moon" (1866), "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" (1870), and "Mysterious Island" (1874). Then there's Edwin A. Abbott's "Flatland" (1884)... and on and on anon. As scientific discoveries exploded in the Industrial Age, so did the imaginations of fiction writers.

Pip's correct, though, that creatures in human guise can certainly be found in folklore as well as in science fiction. Tales of the supernatural are as old as natural man himself!


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Subject: RE: 1897 article: Rosie O'Grady not so sweet
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 12:32 PM

Yes, music used as an instrument of torture- far more effective than water boarding and other current means.

The s--- is in the DT and thread 1897 (I will refrain from linking). Perhaps a compasionate, caring clone will remove-


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Subject: RE: 1897 article: Rosie O'Grady not so sweet
From: Artful Codger
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 02:29 PM

And when the moon is full, the were-musician raises his mandolin and terrorizes the countryside with infernal strumming...!


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