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© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Mime: Selected full-text books and articles

The Mime By Jean Dorey; Etienne Decroux; Jean-Louis Barrault; Marcel Marceau; Robert Speller; Pierre De Fontnouvelle R. Speller, 1961
Masks, Mimes and Miracles: Studies in the Popular Theatre By Allardyce Nicoll Cooper Square Publishers, 1963
The Roman Stage: A Short History of Latin Drama in the Time of the Republic By W. Beare Methuen, 1950
Librarian's tip: Chap. XVIII "The Mime"
The Choreographic Art: An Outline of Its Principles and Craft By 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 By 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 By 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 By Vicki K. Janik; Emmanuel S. Nelson Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: "Jean-Louis Barrault" begins on p. 71
Jacques Lecoq By Simon Murray Routledge, 2003
Acting (Re)considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide By Phillip B. Zarrilli Routledge, 2002 (2nd edition)
Librarian's tip: Chap. 10 "Etienne Decroux's Promethean Mime"
Theatre for Working-Class Audiences in the United States, 1830-1980 By Bruce A. McConachie; Daniel Friedman Greenwood Press, 1985
Librarian's tip: "History I: The Pioneers" begins on p. 201
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