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Victorian Freaks

Written by: Marlene Tromp
Narrated by: Fred Humberstone
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Publisher's Summary

While "freaks" have captivated our imagination since well before the 19th 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. Victorian Freaks contributors examine Victorian culture through the lens of freakery, interpreting 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.

This book is published by The Ohio State University Press.

©2008 The Ohio State University (P)2017 Redwood Audiobooks

What the critics say

"A real, lasting contribution to scholarship, taking the field in a new, exciting direction." ( Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies)
"A welcome addition to the growing body of works on freaks and disability studies from a literary perspective." (Elsie Michie, Louisiana State University)
" Victorian Freaks is particularly noteworthy." (Tamar Heller, author of Dead Secrets: Wilkie Collins and the Female Gothic)

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