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Julia Pastrana’s Traces, or the Afterlives of the Victorian Ape Woman

  • Saverio Tomaiuolo
Chapter

Abstract

Julia Pastrana, known as ‘The Ape Woman’, was one of the most famous freaks in the Victorian age. Affected with hypertrichosis terminalis (since her body and her face were covered with black hair), Pastrana performed in tours in Europe and North America. She was reputed as a ‘bodily deviant’ creature in a society that structured its social, political and cultural discourses upon the notion of a ‘stable’ (female) body and identity. By reflecting on the notions of memory and forgetting, this chapter focuses on the ways in which Pastrana’s biography has been rewritten by Marco Ferreri in his movie La donna scimmia (1964), by Sandra Olson and Julian Fenech in their novel Julia Pastrana (2007), by Rosie Garland in The Palace of Curiosities (2013), and finally by Carol Birch in Orphans of the Carnival (2016).

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saverio Tomaiuolo
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Cassino and Southern LazioCassinoItaly

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