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Freak show : presenting human oddities for amusement and profit

Author: Robert Bogdan
Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, ©1988.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
From 1840 until 1940, freak shows by the hundreds crisscrossed the United States. The freak show was widely accepted as one of America's most popular forms of entertainment. Robert Bogdan's fascinating social history brings to life the world of the freak show and explores the culture that nurtured and, later, abandoned it. In uncovering this neglected chapter of show business, he describes in detail the flimflam  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Robert Bogdan
ISBN: 0226063119 9780226063119 0226063127 9780226063126
OCLC Number: 17300686
Description: xiii, 322 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction: In search of freaks --
From tavern to Madison Square Garden: a chronicle of the freak show in America --
Step right up: the world of popular amusement --
Exotic and aggrandized: modes of presenting freaks --
The exhibition of people we now call mentally retarded --
Illusions of grandeur --
Cannibals and savages --
Respectable freaks --
Self-made freaks --
Conclusion: Freak encounter.
Responsibility: Robert Bogdan.

Abstract:

From 1840 until 1940, freak shows by the hundreds crisscrossed the United States. The freak show was widely accepted as one of America's most popular forms of entertainment. Robert Bogdan's fascinating social history brings to life the world of the freak show and explores the culture that nurtured and, later, abandoned it. In uncovering this neglected chapter of show business, he describes in detail the flimflam artistry behind the shows, the promoters and the audiences, and the gradual evolution of public opinion from awe to embarrassment. Freaks were not born, Bogdan reveals; they were manufactured by the amusement world, usually with the active participation of the freaks themselves. Many of the "human curiosities" found fame and fortune, becoming the celebrities of their time, until the ascent of professional medicine transformed them from marvels into pathological specimens. -- From publisher's description.

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