puppetry

Discuss word origins and meanings.
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puppetry

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:11 pm

In everyday usage people call marionettes puppets, so is someone who performs with marionettes a puppeteer or a marionetteer?
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Re: puppetry

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:46 pm

aaa
Bob, Not ‘marionetteer,’ but I did find the following :

MARIONETTIST noun [1918]: A person who operates marionettes; also figurative.

[[The OED is the only dictionary I found that lists ‘marionettist.’ A Google search produced about 8,000 hits (at my space-time coordinates), so it is out there, but it’s not all that common. I for one never heard it before]]

(Oxford English Dictionary)
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MARIONETTE noun [circa 1645]: A jointed puppet manipulated from above by strings or wires attached to its limbs.

Etymology: French marionette, from Middle French maryonete, from Marion (diminutive of the name Marie Mary) + Middle French –ete -ette; probably from the conception that a puppet resembles an image of the Virgin Mary.

(American Heritage Dictionary and Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary)
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PUPPET noun [1538]: A model of a person or animal that can be manipulated to mimic natural movement; (originally) a figure with jointed limbs moved from above by strings or wires, a marionette; (subsequently also) a figure supported and moved from below by rods, or a figure made to be fitted over and moved by the hand, finger, etc. Also: any of the characters in a puppet-show.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
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So, puppet was the original term that referred to the figure that was manipulated from above by string or wires. A century later the word marionette appeared as its synonym. Subsequently, ‘puppet’ additionally came to refer to the figure that is worked by hand from below, and ‘marionette’ came to refer exclusively to the figure manipulated from above. [PUPPET: 1) marionette (above). 2) puppet (below).]

Thus, in answer to your question, “is someone who performs with marionettes a puppeteer or a marionetteer?” I would say they are both a puppeteer and a marionettist.
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The following quotes are from the Oxford English Dictionary and archived sources:
<1918 “The Marionnettist has put his dolls in their box . . . His wife is counting the pennies.”—In Marionette (Florence), January, page 98>

1936 “M. Delannoy . . . gives a list of the marionettists who applied to the city of Lille . . . for permission to show their dolls.”—Marionettes in Northern France by R. S. Sibbald, i. page 44>

<1971 “God isn't a master Marionettist, pulling strings and making everything happen.”—When Children ask about God by H. S. Kushner, iv, page 95>

<1981 “Marionettists, who for years had entertained fair crowds, also found the lyric comedy appropriate for their shows.”—Journal of Modern History, Vol. 53, page 37>

<1999 “Equally captivating is marionettist Huang, a master of Chinese string puppet theater who's been at it for more than 60 years and will make his Twin Cities debut.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), 29 August)

<2007 “David Tredinnick completes this selection with his investigation into the life, career and vicissitudes of the legendary Australian marionettist, Peter Scriven, . . .”— Australasian Drama Studies, 1 October>

<2013 “Taylor, a marionettist, performed with her marionette puppets at the last coffeehouse event held several years ago.”—Winnipeg Free Press (Manitoba, Canada), 9 January>
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Ken – April 16, 2013
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Re: puppetry

Post by Bobinwales » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:39 am

Thanks Ken, that is very interesting.

I Googled MARIONETTIST and got some 7,700 hits. I also discovered that "The Grand Marionettist" is a character in Dungeons and Dragons (do people still play that?), so a lot of that 7,700 would be connected to the game I would imagine.

On the basis of your discoveries Ken, I would say that a marionette operator was originally a puppeteer and can safely be called one now. In any event, marionettist don't 'arf sound pretentious!
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Re: puppetry

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:19 pm

Marionettist may be a relatively rare word, Bob, but what makes you say it sounds pretentious? After all, marionette isn't generally regarded as pretentious, and a marionettist is merely someone who operates a marionette...
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Re: puppetry

Post by Bobinwales » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:29 pm

Perhaps it is just to my ear Erik.
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Re: puppetry

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:43 am

.. Bob I see where you are coming from .. a puppeteer is very general and could apply to anybody form the person who uses a sock puppet or works Sooty to one of the group of people it takes to work one of Frank Oz's creations .. by singling themself out as being specifically a marionettist it does sound pretentious more than just being informative ..

.. oh and Bob yes they do still play D&D .. our Dean is a Dungeon Master and just recently they got the old team back together, yes they are all in their 40s, and went on another adventure with the same characters they created all when they were teenagers .. and have maintained contact in the Other Worlds all that time ..

WoZ a Dwarf Wizard
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Re: puppetry

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:34 am

Thanks, WoZ... I think I now understand the principle, and so the following must apply:

Unpretentious

1a) Sportsman
2a) Builder
3a) Driver
4a) Office worker

Pretentious

1b) Footballer
2b) Plumber
3b) Bus driver
4b) Secretary

Or perhaps I'm missing something here? ;-)
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Re: puppetry

Post by Bobinwales » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:48 pm

No Erik, more because puppeteer gets 1,590,000 hits on Google and marionettest only 7,700.

Originally a marionette was called a puppet, and at that time there could be no such thing as a marrionettist.

And beside that marrionettist gets a wiggly line!
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End of topic.
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