Rings of Desire: Circus History and Representation

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Manchester University Press, 2000 - Performing Arts - 209 pages
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The circus has been both one of the most influential forms of international popular entertainment and yet at the same time remains almost entirely absent from academic studies of popular theatrical forms. This book offers readers an introduction to the cultural history of the circus and gives an account of the dominant characteristics of the circus's aesthetic practices and relates these to the sometimes precarious developments, changes and variations in its economic organization, architecture and social status. The book goes on to outline the particular challenges that this essentially live, dangerous and body-centred form presents to literary and film representation and does so through the particular examples of works by Charles Dickens, Federico Fellini and Wim Wenders. This wide-ranging and accessible book offers ways of thinking about the meaning and significance of the circus as a specifically modern form of art and entertainment.

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Rings of desire: circus history and representation

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That archaic fantasy machine that for generations has spun the circus into an adolescent and artistic French Foreign Legion for runaways and misfits continues to provide dramatic grist for authors ... Read full review



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About the author (2000)

Helen Stoddart is Lecturer in English and Film Studies at Keele University.

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