Spectacle of Deformity

    By

    In 1847, during the great age of the freak show, the British periodical Punch bemoaned the public's 'prevailing taste for deformity'. This vividly detailed work argues that far from being purely exploitative, displays of anomalous bodies served a deeper social purpose as they generated popular and scientific debates over the meanings attached to bodily difference. Nadja Durbach examines freaks both well-known and obscure including the Elephant Man; 'Lalloo, the Double-Bodied Hindoo Boy', a set of conjoined twins advertised as half male, half female; Krao, a seven-year-old hairy Laotian girl who was marketed as Darwin's 'missing link'; the 'Last of the Mysterious Aztecs' and African 'Cannibal Kings', who were often merely Irishmen in blackface. Upending our tendency to read late twentieth-century conceptions of disability onto the bodies of freak show performers, Durbach shows that these spectacles helped to articulate the cultural meanings invested in otherness - and thus clarified what it meant to be British - at a key moment in the making of modern and imperial ideologies and identities.

    View more

    Number of Pages: 288
    Format(s): Hardback - ISBN: 9780520257689
    Publication Date:
    Listed in: Circus, Social & cultural history
    Publisher: University of California Press

    Books by Nadja Durbach

    Hardback

    RRP: £70.95

    Sale Price: £45.03

    Save: £25.92 per copy!

    Side-Banner-Right-188px-fd.jpg
    Books TV & Movies

    You might also like...

    Latest from the blog

    Fantastic new recipe book from Sabrina Ghayour 'Sirocco'

    Sabrina Ghayour's long awaited second recipe book Sirocco is out this month and is a great follow up to Persianna. Read article

    Ten Great Bedtime Reads from The Great British Bookshop and Aspace

    We have teamed up with Aspace (www.aspace.co.uk) who create beautiful room for Children to bring you 10 great bedtime reads for your little ones. Read article

    Latest from Twitter

    • @TheGBBookshop - 3 years ago

      Lottery funding for dementia reading project £2m pledged for Reading Agency scheme to pair readers with dementia sufferers

      @TheGBBookshop - 3 years ago

      Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has held on to the number one spot for a sixth week #HarryPotter #CursedChild @littlebrown @pottermore

    • @TheGBBookshop - 3 years ago

      @thebookseller @MartinaCole @Jeffrey_Archer @Foyles

      @TheGBBookshop - 3 years ago

      Frith wins inaugural Klaus Flugge Prize for illustration t.co/U9P08h4XMG

    • @TheGBBookshop - 3 years ago

      RT @Gue_de_Bost: #Dordogneholidaycottage available Sept tweet to book for more info

      @TheGBBookshop - 3 years ago

      The editor is just back from france @HomeAwayUK! t.co/IWutTER1x7