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Introduction: Exhibiting Freaks

Nadja Durbach

in Spectacle of Deformity: Freak Shows and Modern British Culture

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
March 2012
ISBN:
9780520257689
eISBN:
9780520944893
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:
10.1525/california/9780520257689.003.0001
Subject:
History, European Modern History

This introductory chapter first sets out the purpose of the book, which is to argue that freak shows should not be dismissed as merely marginal, exploitative, or voyeuristic forms of entertainment. ... More


Spectacle of Deformity: Freak Shows and Modern British Culture

Nadja Durbach

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
March 2012
ISBN:
9780520257689
eISBN:
9780520944893
Item type:
book
Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:
10.1525/california/9780520257689.001.0001
Subject:
History, European Modern History

In 1847, during the great age of the freak show, the British periodical Punch bemoaned the public's “prevailing taste for deformity.” This detailed work argues that far from being purely ... More


Conclusion: The Decline of the Freak Show

Nadja Durbach

in Spectacle of Deformity: Freak Shows and Modern British Culture

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
March 2012
ISBN:
9780520257689
eISBN:
9780520944893
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:
10.1525/california/9780520257689.003.0007
Subject:
History, European Modern History

This chapter discusses the decline of the freak show, which began in the second decade of the twentieth century. Although many show shops, seaside resorts, and freak museums continued to flourish ... More


Monstrosity, Masculinity, and Medicine: Reexamining “the Elephant Man”

Nadja Durbach

in Spectacle of Deformity: Freak Shows and Modern British Culture

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
March 2012
ISBN:
9780520257689
eISBN:
9780520944893
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:
10.1525/california/9780520257689.003.0002
Subject:
History, European Modern History

This chapter juxtaposes two competing narratives of Victorian Britain's most famous freak—“Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man”—to offer a reappraisal of the place of the freak show within the social, ... More


“When the Cannibal King Began to Talk”: Performing Race, Class, and Ethnicity

Nadja Durbach

in Spectacle of Deformity: Freak Shows and Modern British Culture

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
March 2012
ISBN:
9780520257689
eISBN:
9780520944893
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:
10.1525/california/9780520257689.003.0006
Subject:
History, European Modern History

In the late nineteenth century it was relatively common knowledge that freak show entrepreneurs who could not afford to import troupes of exotic foreigners regularly employed locals, often ... More


Decadence in the Age of Fascism: Djuna Barnes’s Freak Dandies

Robin Blyn

in The Freak-garde: Extraordinary Bodies and Revolutionary Art in America

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
August 2015
ISBN:
9780816678167
eISBN:
9781452947853
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:
10.5749/minnesota/9780816678167.003.0003
Subject:
Art, Visual Culture

This chapter explores the novel Nightwood by modernist writer Djuna Barness. It argues that the novel combines the arts of the freak show with the decadent aesthetics of the fin de siècle to protest ... More


The Missing Link and the Hairy Belle: Evolution, Imperialism, and “Primitive” Sexuality

Nadja Durbach

in Spectacle of Deformity: Freak Shows and Modern British Culture

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
March 2012
ISBN:
9780520257689
eISBN:
9780520944893
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:
10.1525/california/9780520257689.003.0004
Subject:
History, European Modern History

In 1883 the great Canadian impresario G. A. Farini unveiled his latest discovery: “Krao, the Missing Link.” Krao was a seven-year-old girl from what Victorians called “Indochina” whose small, ... More


Two Bodies, Two Selves, Two Sexes: Conjoined Twins and “the Double-Bodied Hindoo Boy”

Nadja Durbach

in Spectacle of Deformity: Freak Shows and Modern British Culture

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
March 2012
ISBN:
9780520257689
eISBN:
9780520944893
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:
10.1525/california/9780520257689.003.0003
Subject:
History, European Modern History

At the same moment that “the Elephant Man” was admitted to the London Hospital in the summer of 1886, “Lalloo the Double-Bodied Hindoo Boy” began to exhibit himself across the United Kingdom. Lalloo ... More


Between Silence and Sound: The Lon Chaney Sensation

Robin Blyn

in The Freak-garde: Extraordinary Bodies and Revolutionary Art in America

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
August 2015
ISBN:
9780816678167
eISBN:
9781452947853
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:
10.5749/minnesota/9780816678167.003.0002
Subject:
Art, Visual Culture

This chapter examines the freak show silent films of Lon Chaney, the so-called Man of a Thousand Faces. It argues that the revival of the freak-garde in film occurs amid revolutionary changes in the ... More


The Freak-garde: Extraordinary Bodies and Revolutionary Art in America

Robin Blyn

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
August 2015
ISBN:
9780816678167
eISBN:
9781452947853
Item type:
book
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:
10.5749/minnesota/9780816678167.001.0001
Subject:
Art, Visual Culture

Since the 1890s, American artists have employed the arts of the freak show to envision radically different ways of being. The result is a rich avant-garde tradition that critiques and challenges ... More


“I’m Evolving!”: Birds, Beasts, and Parodies

Kirsten Shepherd-Barr

in Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett

Published in print:
2015
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164702
eISBN:
9780231538923
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164702.003.0001
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

This chapter focuses on theatrical engagements with evolution during the nineteenth century. The Victorian era witnessed a cultural landscape in which “curiosity was a great leveler.” Every type of ... More


Barnum & Bailey & Barney: Freak Show at the Guggenheim

Robin Blyn

in The Freak-garde: Extraordinary Bodies and Revolutionary Art in America

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
August 2015
ISBN:
9780816678167
eISBN:
9781452947853
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:
10.5749/minnesota/9780816678167.003.0006
Subject:
Art, Visual Culture

This concluding chapter explores the history of the freak-garde and their descriptions about posthuman subjectivity and corporate personhood. It emphasizes Matthey Barney’s Cremaster cycle and its ... More


Staging Humanimality: Patricia Piccinini and a Genealogy of Species Intermingling

Sara E. S. Orning

in Animalities: Literary and Cultural Studies Beyond the Human

Published in print:
2017
Published Online:
January 2018
ISBN:
9781474400022
eISBN:
9781474434584
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474400022.003.0005
Subject:
Literature, Criticism/Theory

Orning raises questions about the provocative work of Patricia Piccinini, a contemporary sculptor and artist. Piccinini’s work often stages encounters between what look like human figures and what ... More


Mass culture: the Victorian world picture

Andrew Horrall

in Inventing the Cave Man: From Darwin to the Flintstones

Published in print:
2017
Published Online:
January 2018
ISBN:
9781526113849
eISBN:
9781526128225
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:
10.7228/manchester/9781526113849.003.0001
Subject:
History, Cultural History

This chapter explores aspects of nineteenth-century popular culture that contributed to the emergence of the cave man character. References are made to previous works from history, cultural and ... More


Collyer Curiosa

Scott Herring

in The Hoarders: Material Deviance in Modern American Culture

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
May 2015
ISBN:
9780226171685
eISBN:
9780226171852
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226171852.003.0002
Subject:
Society and Culture, Cultural Studies

This chapter explores the role that Collyer Brothers syndrome played in hoarding’s historical formation. This cultural history of Homer Collyer and Langley Collyer surveys sensational reports ... More


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