Book Description

FIRST EDITION. Side-stapled pamphlet (18.3 x 12.3cm), pp. 56, incl. b/w line illustrations throughout. Original beige wrappers, lettered in red. Wrappers gently used, pushing to spine ends, corners creased and dog-eared, else, clean and tidy. A pleasing copy of a pamphlet that provides a glimpse into colonial missionary leisure activities and the construction of racial difference. Very good. Unusual both in the trade (despite it having been reprinted at least four times, and as late as 1964) and in British and Irish research libraries: Jisc LHD lists only six copies (BL, UoBirmingham, Bodleian, NLS, NLW/LGC & TCD).
Dealer Notes
A theatrical guide aimed at Missionary Society members, advising on the correct way to wear and create "overseas costumes" for performances, with each Missionary Society, it tells us, having a Costumes department. Comprising, 'I: Dressing Up with Borrowed Costumes'; II. Improvisation of Costumes' and 'III. Make-Up', the pamphlet's key message is about the importance of authenticity of costume: "The effect of overseas costumes is often completely spoilt because they are worn on top of an English dress or skirt. No-one would send a girl to a party wearing her best frock over her gym tunic or everyday dress! Would we not think it odd if we met an Indian girl wearing an English dress over her sari?" The pamphlet is also keen to emphasise the costumes' worth in post-war times: "it will be a long time before stock can be replenished. Costumes should be treated as though they were valuable, as indeed they are". The pamphlet reifies yet simultaneously undermines the construction of racial difference, revealing "race" quite literally as performance. Actors are advised to use "colour wash" to simulate different skin tones, rather than wear brown or black woollen tights, while for "Africa. Wigs can be made from black crêpe paper". The pamphlet is again concerned to steer readers towards naturalistic representations: "In dealing with an Oriental character such as a Chinese, many players make a fatal mistake in over-emphasising the eyebrows with a black line going up at an angle reminiscent of Mephistopheles, and while this may be suitable for a comic-opera Chinese character, it is not necessarily true enough for a missionary play."
Author The United Council for Missionary Education; BARTON, Theodora (costume notes); OWEN, Olwen M. (diagrams)
Date 1949
Binding Wrappers
Publisher Edinburgh House Press/ The United Council for Missionary Education
Condition Very good

Price: £45.00

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