By Ph.D. Marlene Tromp
Whereas “freaks” have captivated our mind's eye in view that good prior to the 19th century, the Victorians flocked to indicates that includes dancing dwarves, bearded women, “missing links,” and six-legged sheep. certainly, this era has been defined by way of Rosemarie Garland-Thomson because the epoch of “consolidation” for freakery: an period of social swap, greatly renowned freak indicates, and taxonomic frenzy. Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in Britain, edited through Marlene Tromp, turns to that wealthy nexus, reading the fight over definitions of “freakery” and the risky and infrequently conflicting ways that freakery used to be understood and deployed. because the first research centralizing British tradition, this assortment discusses figures as diverse as Joseph Merrick, “The Elephant guy” Daniel Lambert, “King of the fats males” Julia Pastrana, “The undergo lady” and Laloo “The Marvellous Indian Boy” and his embedded, parasitic dual. The Victorian Freaks members study Victorian tradition throughout the lens of freakery, studying the construction of the freak opposed to the panorama of capitalist intake, the scientific neighborhood, and the politics of empire, sexuality, and paintings. jointly, those essays ask how freakery engaged with notions of normalcy and with its Victorian cultural context.
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Additional info for Victorian Freaks The Social Context of Freakery in Britain
He had gone to Stamford to exhibit himself at the races and had died in his sleep, presumably of heart failure, on the night before his scheduled performance. 22 Not long afterward, objects associated with Lambert began to circulate, particularly his clothes and other items that—like his coffin—denoted the proportions of his body. Lambert’s specially built coach and his clothing were auctioned, after which his tailor made additional suits of clothes to Lambert’s dimensions for sale to collectors.
Barnum was an American son, his sideshows were in rich conversation with English past and present. Many of those figures who define our contemporary understanding of freaks—indeed, many of Barnum’s “human curiosities”—came from England. Rather than eliding the differences between the United States and England, these essays seek to examine the fruitful exchange between the two continents and with lands across Asia, Africa, and South America. This little-explored landscape is illuminated here with the hope that it will open further dialogue on the role of freakery in England’s evolving political and social world and the role of England in the evolving concept of freakery.
47. H. B. Philpott, London at School: The Story of the School Board (1904), 127, quoted in Bailey, Leisure and Class, 137. 48. Goddard, 496. 49. , 6. 50. , 495. 51. It declared that “Miss Swan has spent the greater portion of her life in her own home” and explained that her “genial amiability of disposition and pleasing intelligence” had won her many friends. Pamphlet on “The Novia-Scotia Giantess, Miss Anna Swan” with material on Chang and Eng and Zoebida Luti, in J. J. 1, 29–30. 52. Frederick Treves, “The Elephant Man,” in Howell and Ford, 242.