By Ph.D. Marlene Tromp
While “freaks” have captivated our mind's eye considering that good prior to the 19th century, the Victorians flocked to indicates that includes dancing dwarves, bearded girls, “missing links,” and six-legged sheep. certainly, this era has been defined via Rosemarie Garland-Thomson because the epoch of “consolidation” for freakery: an period of social switch, greatly well known freak exhibits, and taxonomic frenzy. Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in Britain, edited via Marlene Tromp, turns to that wealthy nexus, interpreting the fight over definitions of “freakery” and the risky and occasionally conflicting ways that freakery used to be understood and deployed. because the first examine centralizing British tradition, this assortment discusses figures as different as Joseph Merrick, “The Elephant Man”; Daniel Lambert, “King of the fats Men”; Julia Pastrana, “The undergo Woman”; and Laloo “The Marvellous Indian Boy” and his embedded, parasitic dual. The Victorian Freaks members study Victorian tradition throughout the lens of freakery, studying the creation of the freak opposed to the panorama of capitalist intake, the scientific group, and the politics of empire, sexuality, and artwork. jointly, those essays ask how freakery engaged with notions of normalcy and with its Victorian cultural context.
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Extra resources for Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in Britain
46 As Peter Bailey explains, the mid-Victorian middle class, who had had access to sports through the public schools, became increasingly interested in how athletics might foster the nation’s military preparedness and desirable capitalist values. ”47 The leisure activities that female freaks claimed to pursue were also gender appropriate. These, by contrast, tended to assert the human oddity’s modesty and dedication to domesticity. The giant Leah May, for example, made a point of why she did not like to bicycle.
Werner notes that a London magazine reported this same figure on September 18, 1847. See Barnum (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1923), 96. ) Daisy and Violet Hilton made up to five thousand dollars a week in the early twentieth century and, as Allison Pingree points out, socialized with Harry Houdini, Eddie Cantor, and Bob Hope. See “The Exceptions That Prove the Rule,” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemary Garland-Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 173.
See Mary Poovey, Uneven Developments (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988). 25. See Eric Fretz, “P. T. Barnum’s Theatrical Selfhood and the NineteenthCentury Culture of Exhibition,” in Garland-Thomson, Freakery, 97–107. 26. Bogdan, 228. 27. Neil T. Harris, Humbug: The Art of P. T. Barnum (Boston: Little, Brown, 1973), 65. See also Cook on this important theme. 28. Christopher Hals Gylseth and Lars O. Toverud, Julia Pastrana: The Tragic Life of the Victorian Ape Woman, trans. Donald Tumasonis (Thrupp, UK: Sutton Publishing, 2003).
Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in Britain by Ph.D. Marlene Tromp