the circus age culture and society under the american big top

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The Circus Age

Author : Janet M. Davis
ISBN : 9780807861493
Genre : Performing Arts
File Size : 57. 75 MB
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A century ago, daily life ground to a halt when the circus rolled into town. Across America, banks closed, schools canceled classes, farmers left their fields, and factories shut down so that everyone could go to the show. In this entertaining and provocative book, Janet Davis links the flowering of the early-twentieth-century American railroad circus to such broader historical developments as the rise of big business, the breakdown of separate spheres for men and women, and the genesis of the United States' overseas empire. In the process, she casts the circus as a powerful force in consolidating the nation's identity as a modern industrial society and world power. Davis explores the multiple "shows" that took place under the big top, from scripted performances to exhibitions of laborers assembling and tearing down tents to impromptu spectacles of audiences brawling, acrobats falling, and animals rampaging. Turning Victorian notions of gender, race, and nationhood topsy-turvy, the circus brought its vision of a rapidly changing world to spectators--rural as well as urban--across the nation. Even today, Davis contends, the influence of the circus continues to resonate in popular representations of gender, race, and the wider world.

The Big Tent

Author : Gregory J. Renoff
ISBN : 9780820328928
Genre : History
File Size : 80. 59 MB
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"The Big Tent relates the circus experience from the perspectives of its diverse audiences, telling what locals might have seen and done while the show was in town. Renoff digs deeper, too. He points out, for instance, that the performances of these itinerant outfits in Jim Crow-era Georgia allowed boisterous, unrestrained interaction between blacks and whites on show lots and city streets on Circus Day. Renoff also looks at encounters between southerners and the largely northern population of circus owners, promoters, and performers, who were frequently accused of inciting public disorder and purveying lowbrow prurience, in part due to residual anger over the Civil War.".

Women Of The American Circus 1880 1940

Author : Katherine H. Adams
ISBN : 9781476600796
Genre : Performing Arts
File Size : 29. 23 MB
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"In 1880 to 1940, glory days of American circus, one third to one half of cast members were women. Diaries, autobiographies, newspaper accounts, films, posters, route books, stories told by circus women, recount tableaux, freak shows, girlie shows, tiger acts, and aerial performance, beginning with representations of women as circus performers and moving to performances themselves"--Provided by publisher.

The Gospel Of Kindness

Author : Associate Professor of American Studies History and Women's and Gender Studies Janet M Davis
ISBN : 9780199733156
Genre : Animal rights
File Size : 87. 20 MB
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"From Sarah McLachlan as spokesperson in ASPCA commercials to Animal Cops television shows, the prevention of cruelty against animals seems a core value in American society. Yet flogging horses, betting on cockfights, and shooting species of birds to extinction to adorn women's hats were once common. After the Civil War a culture of animal advocacy developed in the United States. How and why a social movement centered on the defense of animals came about--and how this changed American culture--is the subject of Janet Davis' wide-ranging book. Janet Davis describes a period during which animal power was gradually being replaced by industrial power. Animal welfare organizations developed out of an urban setting, as humane societies mandated the humane treatment of laboring horses and oxen, combated vivisection, demanded care of animals bound for stockyards and for circus shows, and called for an end to the needless killing of birds for fashion. Advocates also preached the gospel of kindness abroad in India, Morocco, Turkey, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines, seeing kindness toward animals as a crucial part of modern American values that should replace the ways of backward cultures. Drawing heavily on religious faith, animal humanitarians connected animal welfare with virtually all facets of life--food, sanitation, entertainment, literature, labor, transportation, and many other topics--and made those they reached with their message think carefully about what divides humans and animals"--

Queen Of The Air

Author : Dean N. Jensen
ISBN : 9780307986580
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 86. 65 MB
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A true life Water for Elephants, Queen of the Air brings the circus world to life through the gorgeously written, true story of renowned trapeze artist and circus performer Leitzel, Queen of the Air, the most famous woman in the world at the turn of the 20th century, and her star-crossed love affair with Alfredo Codona, of the famous Flying Codona Brothers. Like today's Beyonce, Madonna, and Cher, she was known to her vast public by just one name, Leitzel. There may have been some regions on earth where her name was not a household expression, but if so, they were likely on polar ice caps or in the darkest, deepest jungles. Leitzel was born into Dickensian circumstances, and became a princess and then a queen. She was not much bigger than a good size fairy, just four-foot-ten and less than 100 pounds. In the first part of the 20th century, she presided over a sawdust fiefdom of never-ending magic. She was the biggest star ever of the biggest circus ever, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Greatest Show on Earth. In her life, Leitzel had many suitors (and three husbands), but only one man ever fully captured her heart. He was the handsome Alfredo Codona, the greatest trapeze flyer that had ever lived, the only one in his time who, night after night, executed the deadliest of all big-top feats, The Triple--three somersaults in midair while traveling at 60 m.p.h. The Triple, the salto mortale, as the Italians called it, took the lives of more daredevils than any other circus stunt.

When Pigs Could Fly And Bears Could Dance

Author : Miriam Neirick
ISBN : 9780299287634
Genre : Performing Arts
File Size : 40. 59 MB
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For more than seven decades the circuses enjoyed tremendous popularity in the Soviet Union. How did the circus—an institution that dethroned figures of authority and refused any orderly narrative structure—become such a cultural mainstay in a state known for blunt and didactic messages? Miriam Neirick argues that the variety, flexibility, and indeterminacy of the modern circus accounted for its appeal not only to diverse viewers but also to the Soviet state. In a society where government-legitimating myths underwent periodic revision, the circus proved a supple medium of communication. Between 1919 and 1991, it variously displayed the triumph of the Bolshevik revolution, the beauty of the new Soviet man and woman, the vulnerability of the enemy during World War II, the prosperity of the postwar Soviet household, and the Soviet mission of international peace—all while entertaining the public with the acrobats, elephants, and clowns. With its unique ability to meet and reconcile the demands of both state and society, the Soviet circus became the unlikely darling of Soviet culture and an entertainment whose usefulness and popularity stemmed from its ambiguity.

Two Hundred Years Of The American Circus

Author : Tom Ogden
ISBN : 0816026114
Genre : Performing Arts
File Size : 22. 36 MB
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Identifies circus performers, famous acts, and animal stars, explains circus terms, and provides summaries of movies, television shows, and musicals featuring the circus

The Greatest Shows On Earth

Author : Linda Simon
ISBN : 9781780233987
Genre : History
File Size : 34. 95 MB
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“Step right up!” and buy a ticket to the Greatest Show on Earth—the Big Top, containing death-defying stunts, dancing bears, roaring tigers, and trumpeting elephants. The circus has always been home to the dazzling and the exotic, the improbable and the impossible—a place of myth and romance, of reinvention, rebirth, second acts, and new identities. Asking why we long to soar on flying trapezes, ride bareback on spangled horses, and parade through the streets in costumes of glitter and gold, this captivating book illuminates the history of the circus and the claim it has on the imaginations of artists, writers, and people around the world. Traveling back to the circus’s early days, Linda Simon takes us to eighteenth-century hippodromes in Great Britain and intimate one-ring circuses in nineteenth-century Paris, where Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso became enchanted with aerialists and clowns. She introduces us to P. T. Barnum, James Bailey, and the enterprising Ringling Brothers and reveals how they created the golden age of American circuses. Moving forward to the whimsical Circus Oz in Australia and to New York City’s Big Apple Circus and the grand spectacle of Cirque du Soleil, she shows how the circus has transformed in recent years. At the center of the story are the people—trick riders and tightrope walkers, sword swallowers and animal trainers, contortionists and clowns—that created the sensational, raucous, and sometimes titillating world of the circus. Beautifully illustrated and filled with rich historical detail and colorful anecdotes, The Greatest Shows on Earth is a vibrant history for all those who have ever dreamed of running away to the circus.

Houdini Tarzan And The Perfect Man

Author : John F. Kasson
ISBN : 9781429930031
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 41. 82 MB
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A remarkable new work from one of our premier historians In his exciting new book, John F. Kasson examines the signs of crisis in American life a century ago, signs that new forces of modernity were affecting men's sense of who and what they really were. When the Prussian-born Eugene Sandow, an international vaudeville star and bodybuilder, toured the United States in the 1890s, Florenz Ziegfeld cannily presented him as the "Perfect Man," representing both an ancient ideal of manhood and a modern commodity extolling self-development and self-fulfillment. Then, when Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan swung down a vine into the public eye in 1912, the fantasy of a perfect white Anglo-Saxon male was taken further, escaping the confines of civilization but reasserting its values, beating his chest and bellowing his triumph to the world. With Harry Houdini, the dream of escape was literally embodied in spectacular performances in which he triumphed over every kind of threat to masculine integrity -- bondage, imprisonment, insanity, and death. Kasson's liberally illustrated and persuasively argued study analyzes the themes linking these figures and places them in their rich historical and cultural context. Concern with the white male body -- with exhibiting it and with the perils to it --reached a climax in World War I, he suggests, and continues with us today.

Circus Queen Tinker Bell

Author : Tiny Kline
ISBN : 9780252075100
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 44. 66 MB
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A glimpse of day-to-day life under the big top, from one of the circus's most remarkable performers

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