Thursday, January 7, 2010

Youself (for Yourself)

Today's typo is Youself and I daresay it's one that you may have made yourself. It finds itself 34 times in OhioLINK, which makes it a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list. Youssef Wahbi (Wahby)—or, according to NACO and with all the diacritics intact, Yūsuf Wahbī—was a famous Egyptian stage actor and matinee idol in the 1930s and '40s. In fact, he continued to make movies (starring in, writing, and directing) right up until the late 1970s. I've never seen any of his fifty-odd films, but I love the names of some of them: The Spoiled Children, or Sons of Aristocrats (1932), The Hour of Fate (1938), A Suitor from Istanbul (1941), A Sleepless Man (1949), The Marital Dwelling (1954), The Small Angel (1958), The People Downstairs (1961), A Husband's Confession (1965), How We Stole the Atomic Bomb (1968), Searching for a Scandal (1973), Alexandria...Why? (1978). Upon delivering a Devil of a performance in 1945's The Ambassador of Hell, Wahbi wanted to try his hand at playing Muhammad too, an idea that was foreseeably forbidden by his culture and religion. As a young man, Wahbi renounced his family's wealth in order to pursue an acting career in Rome. He was beloved throughout Europe and the Middle East, where he protested the old colonial and sexist traditions and promoted the theatrical arts. Please take it upon yourselves to correct all occurrences of Youself in your library catalogs.

(Portrait of Youssef Wahbi from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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