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Home / Editions and Resources / Newsletters / Marianne Moore Newsletter - Volume 2 Number 2 Fall 1978

Marianne Moore Newsletter - Volume 2 Number 2 Fall 1978


Marianne Moore Newsletter

Volume II Number 2 Fall 1978



Volume II, Number 2, Fall 1978 

Tritonis charonia drawn by MM at Norfolk, Virginia, 28 August 1936. MM noted on the drawing that the shell measured 12 x 5 1/4 inches.

All previously unpublished material by Marianne Moore is published here by permission of Clive E. Driver, Literary Executor of the Estate of Marianne C. Moore.

Subscription: Two issues a year, Spring and Fall. U.S.A. $4.00 a year; Foreign $4.50. Subscriptions run for calendar year in which placed. Continuing subscriptions available. Please make cheques payable to MMN, The Rosenbach Foundation.

Contributions welcome on all aspects of MM and her work up to 750 words. Deadlines: Spring, February 1st; Fall, October 1st.

Address correspondence to Patricia C. Willis, Editor, MMN, The Philip H. & A.S.W. Rosenbach Foundation, 2010 DeLancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103

Copyright © 1978

by Clive E. Driver, Literary Executor of the Estate of Marianne C. Moore

ISSN 0145-8779

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Marianne Moore Newsletter

Volume II Number 2 Fall 1978

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Tippoo's Tiger

MM derived "Tippoo's Tiger," as she stated in her note to the poem, from the Victoria $ Albert Museum monograph of that name by Mildred Archer, 1959. This illustrated booklet, now in the MM Archive, was given to her by Lincoln Kirstei.n in 1963 , and her characteristic marginal markings adorn nearly every page. What those markings show is that "derived" is the apt word: every line in the poem quotes from or summarizes material in the monograph.

"Tippoo's Tiger" is a wooden construction nearly six feet long and two and a half feet high which depicts a prostrate European being savaged by a Bengal tiger. Inside is a wooden pipe organ operated by a handle inserted into the tiger’s chest. When the handle is cranked, the victim's forearm waves and the organ emits sounds "very much like the growling cough of the Bengal tiger at its kill."

To explain the origin of the man-tiger-organ, the "vast toy" and "curious automaton," Mildred Archer presents the history of Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore,

India, killed in a battle with British troops in 1799. Tipu, or Tippoo, had been named for the tiger and took the beast as his symbol with the devise, "The Lion of God is the Conqueror" (lion and tiger are both "tipu" in the Sultan’s language, Canarese). His favorite form of hunting most evidenced his "tigerish qualities:" he trained cheetahs to hunt antelope.

During Tipu's reign, the only son of Sir Hector Monro fell victim to a tiger on Sauger Island and was carried off and fatally wounded before his companions could shoot the beast. This tale made its way back to England where it became the subject of both story and pottery:Staffordshire issued an alarmingly realistic

Note: Photographs anil quotations from Mildred Archer, Tippoo's Tiger, London, 1959, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

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"Tippoo's Tiger," Seringapatam, Mysore, India, c. 1795. Painted wood with metal fixtures. length, 5ft. lOin., height 2ft. tin.

The Victoria and Qlhert Museum.

pottery group showing Monro in the mouth of a tiger. Nearly a century later, Monro's descendant Hector Hugh Monro, the famed storyteller "Saki," wrote "Sredni Vash-ter,” a tale which Archer finds parallel to that of his ill-fated relative, Sredni Vashter, a polecat ferret kept in a shed by one young Conradin, gets out of his cage and kills Conradin's much-detested aunt. After the attack, "the great pole-cat ferret made its way down to a small brook at the foot of the garden, drank for a moment, then crossed a little plank bri