The Rest Is History

Beans, books, wannabe actors, and walking.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, April 20, 2018

Charles Dickens, as Captain Bobadill.

Charles Dickens as Captain Bobadill in a production of Every Man in His Humour by Ben Jonson, 1871. The New York Public Library, Billy Rose Theatre Division.

• A young clerk’s great expectations for his future in the theater: “At one point Dickens even considered becoming a professional actor, writing in 1832 to George Bartley, the stage manager of Covent Garden Theatre, to introduce himself as someone with ‘a strong perception of character and oddity, and a natural power of reproducing in his own person what he observed in others.’” (Times Literary Supplement)

• The history of silent black cinema: “The coming of sound spelled the end of the black movie, because white film companies saw black musicals as a lucrative market. Some blacks thought that silent film deprived Paul Robeson of his greatest asset, his voice, while some black critics now see singing and dancing as the slippery road that led back to the old racial stereotypes.” (The New York Review of Books)

• Finding out about the past via heirloom bean: “their entire history is a genetic experiment.” (The New Yorker)

• A statue of a man who experimented on slaves was removed from Central Park this week as someone yelled, “Off with his head!” (New York Daily News)

• The evolution of comic books. (Vulture)

• The story of Frank Hart, an immigrant from Haiti who became a famed pedestrian. (Atlas Obscura)

• This week in obituaries: an adopter of elephants, a man who spoke for the wild at the Capitol, and a “mysterious narrator of the American nightscape.”