Citation

Blockbuster Titillation: Voyeurism and the Freakshow

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Abstract:

Joseph Merrick and Sara Baartman are perhaps the two best-known Victorian freak displays. Their respective industries have created new audiences for their freakery, audiences that are themselves implicated in the act of looking. While Baartman’s growing archive is situated in the academic realm and Merrick’s straddles the worlds of entertainment, medicine, and scholarship, both depend on the engagement of a particular kind of informed pleasure for their continued development. In this essay, I focus on the historical, historicized, and fictionalized figure of Joseph Merrick, interrogating the nature of his display and enfreakment for Victorian showgoers, newspaper readers, and hospital visitors, and contemporary audiences for Lynch’s 1980 film The Elephant Man. I will use the Baartman industry as a point of comparison, thinking through the differences between historicization as described by documentary and by Hollywood film, and the nature of the audiences for both.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

freak (100), merrick (88), look (52), show (47), audienc (43), human (38), display (37), victorian (33), differ (31), baartman (31), pleasur (31), even (30), bodi (30), treve (29), gaze (29), also (29), way (28), kind (27), film (25), new (23), lynch (23),
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Name: International Communication Association
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http://www.icahdq.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p401861_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Pearl, Sharrona. "Blockbuster Titillation: Voyeurism and the Freakshow" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Suntec City, Singapore, Jun 22, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p401861_index.html>

APA Citation:

Pearl, S. , 2010-06-22 "Blockbuster Titillation: Voyeurism and the Freakshow" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Suntec City, Singapore Online <PDF>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p401861_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Joseph Merrick and Sara Baartman are perhaps the two best-known Victorian freak displays. Their respective industries have created new audiences for their freakery, audiences that are themselves implicated in the act of looking. While Baartman’s growing archive is situated in the academic realm and Merrick’s straddles the worlds of entertainment, medicine, and scholarship, both depend on the engagement of a particular kind of informed pleasure for their continued development. In this essay, I focus on the historical, historicized, and fictionalized figure of Joseph Merrick, interrogating the nature of his display and enfreakment for Victorian showgoers, newspaper readers, and hospital visitors, and contemporary audiences for Lynch’s 1980 film The Elephant Man. I will use the Baartman industry as a point of comparison, thinking through the differences between historicization as described by documentary and by Hollywood film, and the nature of the audiences for both.


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