pantomime or mime (păn´təmīm) [Gr.,=all in mimic], silent form of the drama in which the story is developed by movement, gesture, facial expression, and stage properties. It is known to have existed among the Chinese, Persians, Hebrews, and Egyptians and has been observed in many other cultures. Pantomime was popular in ancient Rome, where it was often explained by songs or simple action. The traditional characters of pantomime take their origin in the Italian commedia dell'arte of the 16th cent. English pantomime, originated by John Rich, was more pageant than pantomime, and in 1818, when J. R. Planche began his extravaganzas with "speaking openings," pantomime in England became a dramatic spectacle with songs and speeches. Joseph Grimaldi and Jean Gaspard Deburau were famous pantomime stars of the 19th cent. In silent pictures, Charlie Chaplin made his name as a great pantomime actor. Marcel Marceau has been the leading artist in France.

See C. Aubert, Art of Pantomime (1927, repr. 1969); J. Lawson, Mime (1957, repr. 1973).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Mime: Selected full-text books and articles

The Mime
Jean Dorey; Etienne Decroux; Jean-Louis Barrault; Marcel Marceau; Robert Speller; Pierre De Fontnouvelle.
R. Speller, 1961
Festive Revolutions: The Politics of Popular Theater and the San Francisco Mime Troupe
Claudia Orenstein.
University Press of Mississippi, 1998
Masks, Mimes and Miracles: Studies in the Popular Theatre
Allardyce Nicoll.
Cooper Square Publishers, 1963
The Roman Stage: A Short History of Latin Drama in the Time of the Republic
W. Beare.
Methuen, 1950
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XVIII "The Mime"
The Choreographic Art: An Outline of Its Principles and Craft
Peggy Van Praagh; Peter Brinson; Robert Bruce Church.
Alfred A. Knopf, 1963
Librarian’s tip: "Mime and Acting" begins on p. 108
Reflections on the Theatre
Jean Louis Barrault.
Rockliff, 1951
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of mime begins on p. 26 and "Concerning Mime and Dance" begins on p. 155
On Stage: A History of Theatre
Vera Mowry Roberts.
Harper & Row, 1962
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Imitations and Innovations of the Romans"
Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Vicki K. Janik; Emmanuel S. Nelson.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Jean-Louis Barrault" begins on p. 71
A Meeting of like Minds: Marcel Marceau and Bill Irwin Bring the Grace of Dancers to the World of Mime
Sims, Caitlin.
Dance Magazine, Vol. 72, No. 3, March 1998
No More Clowning Around: For Vaudeville Clown and Mime Artist Bill Irwin, Writing Serious Plays Means Reaching into a New Bag of Tricks
Miller, Stuart.
American Theatre, Vol. 20, No. 8, October 2003
Bring on the Clowns: Clover Hughes Celebrates the Return of a Neglected and Misunderstood Art Form. (Performance)
Hughes, Clover.
New Statesman (1996), Vol. 132, No. 4622, January 27, 2003
Jacques Lecoq
Simon Murray.
Routledge, 2003
Dance as Education: Towards a National Dance Culture
Peter Brinson.
Routledge Falmer Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Whose Arts, Whose Community?"
Acting (Re)considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide
Phillip B. Zarrilli.
Routledge, 2002 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Etienne Decroux's Promethean Mime"
Contemporary Feminist Theatres: To Each Her Own
Lizbeth Goodman.
Routledge, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Black Mime Theatre Women's Troop" begins on p. 166
Theatre for Working-Class Audiences in the United States, 1830-1980
Bruce A. McConachie; Daniel Friedman.
Greenwood Press, 1985
Librarian’s tip: "History I: The Pioneers" begins on p. 201
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