Catalogue


Victorian freaks : the social context of freakery in Britain /
edited by Marlene Tromp.
imprint
Columbus : Ohio State University Press, c2008.
description
xiii, 328 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0814210864 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780814210864 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
Columbus : Ohio State University Press, c2008.
isbn
0814210864 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780814210864 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Even as you and I : freak shows and lay discourse on spectacular deformity / Heather McHold -- Freaklore : the dissemination, fragmentation, and reinvention of the legend of Daniel Lambert, king of fat men / Joyce L. Huff -- White wings and six-legged muttons : the freakish animal / Timothy Neil -- 'Poor Hoo Loo' : sentiment, stoicism, and the grotesque in British imperial medicine / Meegan Kennedy -- Elephant talk : language and enfranchisement in the Merrick case / Christine C. Ferguson -- The Missing Link and the Hairy Belle : Krao and the Victorian discourses of evolution, imperialism, and primitive sexuality / Nadja Durbach -- Empire and the Indian freak : the 'Miniature Man' from Cawnpore and the 'Marvellous Indian Boy' on tour in England / Marlene Tromp -- The Victorian mummy-fetish : H. Rider Haggard, Frank Aubrey, and the white mummy / Kelly Hurley -- Our bear women, ourselves : affiliating with Julia Pastrana / Rebecca Stern -- Queering the marriage plot : Wilkie Collins's the Law and the lady / Martha Stoddard Holmes -- Freaks that matter : the dolls' dressmaker, the doctor's assistant, and the limits of difference / Melissa Free -- A collaborative aesthetic : Levinas's idea of responsibility and the photographs of Charles Eisenmann and the late nineteenth-century freak-performer / Christopher R. Smit.
catalogue key
6395885
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-10-01:
As social anomalies, freaks tell a great deal about the societies in which they exist. Fascination with freaks was at its peak during the 19th century, when the Western world was exploring, and exploiting, distant lands and nonwhite peoples. This was also a time when societies were being redefined by urbanization, industrialism, and the growth of new forms of leisure time entertainment. The phenomenon of freaks in the US has been well documented--for example, in Rachel Adams's Sideshow U.S.A. (CH, Sep'02, 40-0178) and the photographs of Diane Arbus--but Tromp (English and women's studies, Denison Univ.) is the first to look at freaks in England. The book demonstrates, from a variety of perspectives, that freakery bears the imprint of different societies and that the study of freaks has become a rewarding subject in popular culture. Since racial deviance is no longer considered freakish and physical anomalies are now viewed as medical curiosities rather than subjects for entertainment, accounts of the pride many freaks took in their ability earn a living in congenial venues often prove fascinating. Equally fascinating is discussion of the ways in which freaks were marketed as people who shared characteristics with their audiences. Extensive notes and pictures. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers, all levels. R. Sugarman Southern Vermont College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Victorian Freaksis particularly noteworthy for its often-nuanced analysis of freakery. The figure of the freak is represented not simply as a victim of cultural prejudices, but as an agent who actively negotiates a version of subjectivity through the performance and manipulation of cultural codes regarding deviance and normalcy." -Tamar Heller, author ofDead Secrets: Wilkie Collins and the Female Gothic
" Victorian Freaksis particularly noteworthy for its often-nuanced analysis of freakery. The figure of the freak is represented not simply as a victim of cultural prejudices, but as an agent who actively negotiates a version of subjectivity through the performance and manipulation of cultural codes regarding deviance and normalcy." -Tamar Heller, author of Dead Secrets: Wilkie Collins and the Female Gothic
"While there has been extensive work on American freak shows, less had been done on the significance of the freak in England. Scholars and students gain much insight from the essayists' invocations of disability studies as a model for thinking about freakishness and freakishness as a model for contemplating disability. Victorian Freakswill therefore be a welcome addition to the growing body of works on freaks and disability studies from a literary perspective." -Elsie Michie, associate professor of English, Louisiana State University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2008
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
While "freaks" have captivated our imagination since well before the nineteenth century, the Victorians flocked to shows featuring dancing dwarves, bearded ladies, "missing links," and six-legged sheep. Indeed, this period has been described by Rosemarie Garland-Thomson as the epoch of "consolidation" for freakery: an era of social change, enormously popular freak shows, and taxonomic frenzy. Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in Britain, edited by Marlene Tromp, turns to that rich nexus, examining the struggle over definitions of "freakery" and the unstable and sometimes conflicting ways in which freakery was understood and deployed. As the first study centralizing British culture, this collection discusses figures as varied as Joseph Merrick, "The Elephant Man"; Daniel Lambert, "King of the Fat Men"; Julia Pastrana, "The Bear Woman"; and Laloo "The Marvellous Indian Boy" and his embedded, parasitic twin. The Victorian Freakscontributors examine Victorian culture through the lens of freakery, reading the production of the freak against the landscape of capitalist consumption, the medical community, and the politics of empire, sexuality, and art. Collectively, these essays ask how freakery engaged with notions of normalcy and with its Victorian cultural context.
Main Description
While freaks have captivated our imagination since well before the nineteenth century, the Victorians flocked to shows featuring dancing dwarves, bearded ladies, missing links, and six-legged sheep. Indeed, this period has been described by Rosemarie Garland-Thomson as the epoch of consolidation for freakery: an era of social change, enormously popular freak shows, and taxonomic frenzy. Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in Britain, edited by Marlene Tromp, turns to that rich nexus, examining the struggle over definitions of freakery and the unstable and sometimes conflicting ways in which freakery was understood and deployed. As the first study centralizing British culture, this collection discusses figures as varied as Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man; Daniel Lambert, King of the Fat Men; Julia Pastrana, The Bear Woman; and Laloo The Marvellous Indian Boy and his embedded, parasitic twin. The Victorian Freaks contributors examine Victorian culture through the lens of freakery, reading the production of the freak against the landscape of capitalist consumption, the medical community, and the politics of empire, sexuality, and art. Collectively, these essays ask how freakery engaged with notions of normalcy and with its Victorian cultural context.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. vii
Foreword: Freakery Unfurledp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction: Toward Situating the Victorian Freakp. 1
Marketing and Consuming Freakeryp. 19
Even as You and I: Freak Shows and Lay Discourse on Spectacular Deformityp. 21
Freaklore: The Dissemination, Fragmentation, and Reinvention of the Legend of Daniel Lambert, King of Fat Menp. 37
White Wings and Six-Legged Muttons: The Freakish Animalp. 60
Science, Medicine, and The Socialp. 77
"Poor Hoo Loo": Sentiment, Stoicism, and the Grotesque in British Imperial Medicinep. 79
Elephant Talk: Language and Enfranchisement in the Merrick Casep. 114
The Missing Link and the Hairy Belle: Krao and the Victorian Discourses of Evolution, Imperialism, and Primitive Sexualityp. 134
Empire, Race, and Commodityp. 155
Empire and the Indian Freak: The "Miniature Man" from Cawnpore and the "Marvellous Indian Boy" on Tour in Englandp. 157
The Victorian Mummy-Fetish: H. Rider Haggard, Frank Aubrey, and the White Mummyp. 180
Our Bear Women, Ourselves: Affiliating with Julia Pastranap. 200
Reading and Spectating the Freakp. 235
Queering the Marriage Plot: Wilkie Collins's The Law and the Ladyp. 237
Freaks That Matter: The Dolls' Dressmaker, the Doctor's Assistant, and the Limits of Differencep. 259
A Collaborative Aesthetic: Levinas's Idea of Responsibility and the Photographs of Charles Eisenmann and the Late Nineteenth-Century Freak-Performerp. 283
Notes on Contributorsp. 313
Indexp. 317
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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