J is for Jellicle Cat
What is a Jellicle Cat? The original Jellicle Cat came from T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, a book of poems about cats, that was later turned into the musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
In Eliot's poem Jellicle Cats were black and white cats who slept all day and came awake at night and liked to congregate at The Jellicle Ball. As the poem The Song of the Jellicles says:
Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats are rather small;
Jellicle Cats are merry and bright,
And pleasant to hear when they caterwaul.
Jellicle Cats have cheerful faces,
Jellicle Cats have bright black eyes;
They like to practise their airs and graces
And wait for the Jellicle Moon to rise.
Lloyd Webber took a slight liberty with the original text. His Jellicle Cats were different sizes and colours. And in the musical there is a sub-plot about the disappearance of the Jellicle cat called Old Deuteronomy.
The term "jellicle" came from Eliot's young niece's attempt to say "dear little". Eliot then coined the term "pollicle" for "poor little" and wrote a poem - not included in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats - called Pollicle Dogs and Jellicle Cats.
Below is the complete Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats read by the wonderful Irene Worth and John Gielgud.
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