Victorian Freaks

The Social Context of Freakery in the Nineteenth-Century

Marlene Tromp

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherOhio State University Press
Edition2nd
ISBN (Print)0814210864
StatePublished - 2008

Fingerprint

Victorian Era
Social Context
Normalcy
British Culture
Boys
Sexuality
Cultural Context
Art
Nexus
Consolidation
Frenzy
Fat
Dancing

Cite this

Tromp, M. (2008). Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in the Nineteenth-Century. (2nd ed.) Ohio State University Press.

Victorian Freaks : The Social Context of Freakery in the Nineteenth-Century. / Tromp, Marlene.

2nd ed. Ohio State University Press, 2008.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Tromp, M 2008, Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in the Nineteenth-Century. 2nd edn, Ohio State University Press.
Tromp M. Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in the Nineteenth-Century. 2nd ed. Ohio State University Press, 2008.
Tromp, Marlene. / Victorian Freaks : The Social Context of Freakery in the Nineteenth-Century. 2nd ed. Ohio State University Press, 2008.
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