The Barnum Museum

( 6 )

Overview

The Barnum Museum is a combination waxworks, masked ball, and circus sideshow masquerading as a collection of stories. Within its pages, note such exhibits as: a study of the strategies used by the participants in the game of Clue; a dilettante who constructs an imaginary woman, and loses her to an imaginary man; and a legendary magician so skilled at sleight-of-hand that he is pursued by police for the crime of erasing the line between the real and the conjured. Ingeniously written, each exhibit in The Barnum ...

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Overview

The Barnum Museum is a combination waxworks, masked ball, and circus sideshow masquerading as a collection of stories. Within its pages, note such exhibits as: a study of the strategies used by the participants in the game of Clue; a dilettante who constructs an imaginary woman, and loses her to an imaginary man; and a legendary magician so skilled at sleight-of-hand that he is pursued by police for the crime of erasing the line between the real and the conjured. Ingeniously written, each exhibit in The Barnum Museum -- including the story upon which the movie The Illusionist was based -- will compel you to continue reading, luring you to the next. Originally published by Poseidon Press in 1990, Dalkey Archive Press in 2007, now available again.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
“A writer who vivifies the act of reading. . . Like Borges (and Italo Calvino), he takes us inside the labyrinth of prose.”
Entertainment Weekly

Steven Millhauser's stories are as dense with minute realistic detail as a 15th-century Flemish painting, but they never fail to take a sharp turn into fantasy. Imagination is his favorite subject as well as his precision instrument. His fiction is about virtuosity, especially his own. But it's also about the way imagination takes possession of the world and the imaginer.

The Milwaukee Journal
“Stunningly clever and thought-provoking . . . Millhauser is a brilliant stylist who can shift voices like a good ventriloquist.”
Voice Literary Supplement
“Staggering. . . . With his doppelgangers and children's games, thaumaturgical hauntings and junkshop catalogues, Steven Millhauser may well be American literature's last Romantic, its sole remaining wanderer through the troubled borderland between mundane reality and the world of art.”
From the Publisher
"Steven Millhauser's stories are as dense with minute realistic detail as a 15th-century Flemish painting, but they never fail to take a sharp turn into fantasy. Imagination is his favorite subject as well as his precision instrument. His fiction is about virtuosity, especially his own. But it's also about the way imagination takes possession of the world and the imaginer." — Entertainment Weekly

Dalkey Archive Press

"Imagine a funhouse gallery of fictive techniques and ideas, and you'll have some sense of these stories... 'A Game of Clue' delineates the line between strategy and chance in a board game while plotting the relationships among the players. 'Klassik Komix #1' is a riotous pop comic version of 'The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.'.. Millhauser's distinctive mix of stylistic dazzle and erudite wonder will intrigue admirers of his Edwin Mullhouse, In the Penny Arcade, and From the Realm of Morpheus." — Library Journal

Dalkey Archive Press

Time
“His true strength is magic realism. . . . Brilliant parodies, pastiches, and comments on Alice in Wonderland, Sinbad, and T. S. Eliot show how this gifted craftsman can stretch the boundaries of the form.”
Peter Straub
“What a pleasure it is to read a writer this good—Millhauser seems sometimes to return us to the original sources of art, the awe and wonder before the untrustworthy but beautiful force of existence. . . . I love this writer and this book.”
Seattle Weekly
“Millhauser has pursued—and perfected—a narrative mode that comes out of the European romantic tradition by way of Edgar Allan Poe. . . . His stylized elegance is reminiscent of Borges and Nabokov. . . . His stories are paeans to the imagination, their magic stemming from the human mind's zest for creating marvels. . . . Graced with a powerful sense of humor.”
Washington Post
“The sentences are of Cartesian clarity. . . . Irresistible. . . . Think of these stories as literary fairy tales, lost characters from The Arabian Nights, the further ghost stories of an antiquary, the slightly etiolated blooms of a late Romantic imagination. Steven Millhauser is, all in all, a wonderfully appropriate writer for our very own fin de siecle.”
Entertainment Weekly
His best, most resonant stories, like those of Kafka, Borges, and Calvino, remind us that good works of fiction are, among other things, fables. . . . Some of Millhauser's stories bring to mind the somber ironies of Kafka and Borges, but in general his imagination has a light, serene quality—the quality of a precocious child's delight in his own ingenuity. . . . Purely enchanting.
Chicago Tribune
A writer who vivifies the act of reading. . . Like Borges (and Italo Calvino), he takes us inside the labyrinth of prose.
Voice Literary Supplement
Staggering. . . . With his doppelgangers and children's games, thaumaturgical hauntings and junkshop catalogues, Steven Millhauser may well be American literature's last Romantic, its sole remaining wanderer through the troubled borderland between mundane reality and the world of art.
The Milwaukee Journal
Stunningly clever and thought-provoking . . . Millhauser is a brilliant stylist who can shift voices like a good ventriloquist.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A collection of stories by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Martin Dressler. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Imagine a funhouse gallery of fictive techniques and ideas, and you'll have some sense of these stories. ``A Game of Clue'' delineates the line between strategy and chance in a board game while plotting the relationships among the players. ``Klassik Komix #1'' is a riotous pop comic version of ``The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.'' Other stories recast classic tales in a counterpoint of scholarly satire and nostalgic reverence; one is a melancholy monolog in the manner of Poe. The gimcrackery and excess of the title piece echo in the fin de siecle charm and foreboding of ``Eisenheim the Illusionist.'' Both stories are about crossing the boundaries between art and life, appearance and reality. In this concern for the role of the artist as iconographer, artificer, conjurer, the author's work invites comparison with that of Robertson Davies. Millhauser's distinctive mix of stylistic dazzle and erudite wonder will intrigue admirers of his Edwin Mullhouse ( LJ 8/72), In the Penny Arcade ( LJ 1/86), and From the Realm of Morpheus ( LJ 9/1/86).-- Mary Soete, San Diego P.L., Cal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564781796
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2014
  • Series: American Literature Series
  • Edition description: 2nd Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 983,962
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Millhauser is the author of numerous works of fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Martin Dressler, and In the Penny Arcade. His work has been translated into fifteen languages, and his story "Eisenheim the Illusionist" was the basis of the 2006 film The Illusionist. He teaches at Skidmore College and lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Table of Contents

A Game of Clue 9
Behind the Blue Curtain 61
The Barnum Museum 73
The Sepia Postcard 93
The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad 111
Klassik Komix #1 141
Rain 155
Alice, Falling 163
The Invention of Robert Herendeen 183
Eisenheim the Illusionist 215
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

4 Star

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3 Star

(3)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2007

    Like nothing you've ever read

    Millhauser is incredibly creative and has a very unique story telling ability-- it's all in the details! If you are looking for dialogue propelled stories, this in not the book for you. If you are looking for great, unusual stories, with a great attention to details, these are for you. Usually in short story collections, the stories are hit or miss but these are all great. I look foward to reading more by this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2007

    Absolutely Incredible!

    This collection of short stories left me utterly floored. Millhauser has an incredible gift! The intense feelings he is able to put into his work is amazing. It may seem strange, but I got a chilling feeling of being alone- not an easy feeling to make a reader feel. The stories are fresh and unique, and there's always more lurking in the corners (if you look for it). I couldn't recommend this book more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

    Has DRM

    This book has DRM, which makes it not legal to read on many devices.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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