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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

  1. Cover
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  1. Front Matter
  2. pp. i-iv
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Foreword: Freakery Unfurled
  2. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson
  3. pp. ix-xi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. xiii
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  1. Introduction: Toward Situating the Victorian Freak
  2. Marlene Tromp, with Karyn Valerius
  3. pp. 1-18
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  1. Part 1. Marketing and Consuming Freakery
  2. p. 19
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  1. 1. Even As You and I: Freak Shows and Lay Discourse on Spectacular Deformity
  2. Heather Mchold
  3. pp. 21-36
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  1. 2. Freaklore: The Dissemination, Fragmentation, and Reinvention of the Legend of Daniel Lambert, King of Fat Men
  2. Joyce L. Huff
  3. pp. 37-59
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  1. 3. White Wings and Six-Legged Muttons: The Freakish Animal
  2. Timothy Neil
  3. pp. 60-75
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  1. Part 2. Science, Medicine, and the Social
  2. p. 77
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  1. 4. "Poor Hoo Loo:" Sentiment, Stoicism, and the Grotesque in British Imperial Medicine
  2. Meegan Kennedy
  3. pp. 79-113
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  1. 5. Elephant Talk: Language and Enfranchisement in the Merrick Case
  2. Christine C. Ferguson
  3. pp. 114-133
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  1. 6. The Missing Link and the Hairy Belle: Krao and the Victorian Discourses of Evolution, Imperialism, and Primitive Sexuality
  2. Nadja Durbach
  3. pp. 134-153
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  1. Part 3. Empire, Race, and Commodity
  2. p. 155
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  1. 7. Empire and the Indian Freak: The "Miniature Man" from Cawnpore and the "Marvellous Indian Boy" on Tour in England
  2. Marlene Tromp
  3. pp. 157-179
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  1. 8. The Victorian Mummy-Fetish: H. Rider Haggard, Frank Aubrey, and the White Mummy
  2. Kelly Hurley
  3. pp. 180-199
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  1. 9. Our Bear Women, Ourselves: Affiliating with Julia Pastrana
  2. Rebecca Stern
  3. pp. 200-233
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  1. Part 4. Reading and Spectating the Freak
  2. p. 235
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  1. 10. Queering the Marriage Plot: Wilke Collins's The Law and the Lady
  2. Martha Stoddard Holmes
  3. pp. 237-258
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  1. 11. Freaks that Matter: The Dolls' Dressmaker, the Doctor's Assistant, and the Limits of Difference
  2. Melissa Free
  3. pp. 259-282
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  1. 12. A Collaborative Aesthetic: Levina's Idea of Responsibility and the Photographs of Charles Eisenmann and the Late Nineteenth-Century Freak-Performer
  2. Christopher R. Smit
  3. pp. 283-311
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 313-316
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 317-328
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  1. Back Cover
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814272015
Related ISBN
9780814210864
MARC Record
OCLC
1228476239
Pages
368
Launched on MUSE
2021-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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