In this podcast I talk with PhD candidate Emma Purce about her research into the British seaside freak show in 20th century Britain. Whilst a lot has already been written on the freak show in the 19th century and particularly in America, Emma is really helping to shape our understanding of the 20th century freak show.
We discuss the notion of liminal, permissive working class spaces and the history, the legacy and the politics of the freak show and of the curious, scrutinising gaze employed when attending such an entertainment
Emma also discusses the fascinating phenomenon of the starving bride and its social context, the midget village and the paying public (assuming they are of average height) who attended this particular exhibit therefore became the ‘freaks.’ She also discusses sex hygiene exhibits and moral panics around these entertainments, current freak show representations in the media, as well as describing the actual experience of attending a freak show in the first half of the 20th century.
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Music by kind permission of The Shannon Reilly Trio The full version of the song Trouble can be found along with it’s video here, and purchased on the Shannon Reilly Band album also called Trouble.
The opinions expressed on this blog are mine, and do not reflect the opinions of the De Montfort University or any other employee thereof. Nor is De Montfort University responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied within this blog.
Some of the pleasures on offer at Blackpool in 1947.