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Living Images of “Human-Beasts”: Reflections on the “Wild” in the Media

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Part of the Schriftenreihe der Internationalen Frauenuniversität »Technik und Kultur« book series (SIFU, volume 6)

Abstract

Snake women, elephant men, lion men, spider ladies, and vampires: between 1870 and 1930 the diverse tableaux of the terrifyingly beautiful in painting, theater, literature, photography, and film find a macabre but fascinating correspondence in several privileged arrangements of the “genuine” wild animals as part of “tribal shows” or so-called “freak shows”. In world and colonial exhibitions, panopticons, variety shows, fairs, circuses, and sideshows, before scientific academies and in zoos, figures of “human-beasts” were put on view. Human beings who resembled animals, whose expression was “beastly”, who communicated with animals or domesticated them, and who acted like animals or lived together with lions, apes, and snakes in the zoo, where they could be seen and observed. These exhibitions fascinated people, attracting thousands of viewers. But how did they do that?

Keywords

Distant Past Privileged Arrangement Classical Genre Samoan Woman Media Genre 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2002

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