The Rise of the American Circus, 17161899

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McFarland, Sep 22, 2011 - Performing Arts - 362 pages
9 Reviews
To both young and old, the circus remains an icon of American entertainment, a wholesome pastime untouched by the passing years. But the modern circus, with its three rings, ringmaster, animals, and acrobats, is the product of nearly three hundred years of evolution. This intriguing work chronicles the history of the American circus from its roots in England through its importation to America to the end of the nineteenth century. It introduces the early pioneers of the circus, addresses business concerns such as management and training, and discusses the development of the show itself, including the incorporation of menageries, the need for animal training and care, the addition of circus music, the use of the tent, and the unique attractions of side shows and "freaks." Personal stories of those who made their lives under the "big top" are woven throughout the narrative, adding an intimate perspective to one of America's most enduring entertainments.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ABVR - LibraryThing

"Now what I want is facts," declared Mr. Gradgrind, the schoolmaster in Dickens' novel Hard Times. Facts about the early history of the circus are, clearly, what S. L. Kotar and J. E. Gessler wanted ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Helcura - LibraryThing

This book is an excellent reference on the history of the circus in England and in the United States. It is an exhaustive listing of names, places, playbills, performers, owners and other details. It ... Read full review

Contents

Preface
1
1 When the Circus Became a Circus
5
2 The Circus Comes to Town
14
3 Competition in the Riding School AmphitheatreCircus
22
4 The Evolving Circus
28
5 Getting Away from the Circus
35
6 The Circus Comes to America
48
7 The Century of the Circus
64
16 Gulling the Dear People
180
17 Circuses and Menageries in the Civil War Era
188
18 Everythings Hunkidori
199
19 Sawdust and Spangles
216
20 Fully in Keeping with the Present Age
238
21 Privilegers Flash Folk Fakirs and Bunco Men
256
22 The Original Monster Makers
267
23 Canvassing the Landscape
277

8 Equestrian Drama Finds a Home
78
9 In the Rude State of Nature
91
10 The Circus Tent
101
A Man Devoured by Tigers
109
12 The Era of P T Barnum and the Great Lion Tamer
121
13 Variety Novelty and Splendor
139
14 A Small Field of Competition
152
15 A Regular OutandOuter
166
24 The Allurement of Sawdust and Tights
290
25 The State of the Circus
304
26 A Little World in Itself
314
Glossary
323
Chapter Notes
327
Bibliography
341
Index
343
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

S.L. Kotar of St. Louis has been writing (together with J.E. Gessler) for more than four decades, beginning with scripts for television's Gunsmoke. J.E. Gessler lives in St. Louis.

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