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Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit
Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit

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Manufacturer: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Author(s): Robert Bogdan

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Product Description:
Binding: Paperback
EAN: 9780226063126
Edition: Reprint
ISBN: 0226063127
Item Dimensions: Array
Label: University of Chicago Press
Languages: Array
Manufacturer: University of Chicago Press
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 336
Publication Date: 1990-05-15
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 1990-05-15
Studio: University of Chicago Press
Editorial Review:
From 1840 until 1940, freak shows by the hundreds crisscrossed the United States, from the smallest towns to the largest cities, exhibiting their casts of dwarfs, giants, Siamese twins, bearded ladies, savages, snake charmers, fire eaters, and other oddities. By today's standards such displays would be considered cruel and exploitative—the pornography of disability. Yet for one hundred years 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 specimans.

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