Wild and Dangerous Performances: Animals, Emotions, Circus [NOOK Book]

Overview

Elephants, lions, tigers and leopards evoked fascination and awe, fear and excitement in the twentieth-century circus. Wild and Dangerous Performances: Animals, Emotions, Circus explores what happened when big cats roared on cue and elephants danced together. Acts in live circus and cinema reveal how humans anthropomorphize animals with their emotions. Trained animals became caught up in scientific precepts from Darwin on emotions and in ...
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Wild and Dangerous Performances: Animals, Emotions, Circus

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Overview

Elephants, lions, tigers and leopards evoked fascination and awe, fear and excitement in the twentieth-century circus. Wild and Dangerous Performances: Animals, Emotions, Circus explores what happened when big cats roared on cue and elephants danced together. Acts in live circus and cinema reveal how humans anthropomorphize animals with their emotions. Trained animals became caught up in scientific precepts from Darwin on emotions and in opposition to animal performance.

This history considers acts by Carl Hagenbeck, Frank Bostock, Alfred Court, Clyde Beatty, Mabel Stark, Patricia Bourne, Damoo Dhotre, Gunther Gebel-Williams and others in leading international circuses. Their acts featured: Nero, the horse riding lion, Rajah, the wrestling tiger, Sonia, the waltzing leopard, and Champion, lying like a fur collar across the trainer's shoulders. Descriptions of animal performers were vivid and moving, but completely contradictory. Animals embody a phenomenology of transacted emotions and feelings in culture, recently exemplified by Christian, the lion.  Contributing to the growing scholarship in animal studies, this fascinating study has much to offer to anyone interested in circus animal performance, performance history, animal emotions and animal rights and ethics.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

'Wild and Dangerous Performances is a highly readable account of the ways in which circus animals, particularly big cats (lions, tigers, leopards) and elephants, respond on an emotional level to, even develop an emotional rapport with, their trainers. Tait's new book provides a vivid perspective on developments in animal training in the nineteenth and twentieth century, while wryly noting the persistent gender stereotyping of both trainers and performing animals. This is an original, academically well grounded study, which valuably extends our knowledge of performance history.' - Professor Jim Davis, University of Warwick, UK

'Big cats on pedestals, humanised dancing elephants, live leopards as fur collars – this book offers a compelling history of trained animal performers in fin de siècle and twentieth century circus. Tait provides far-reaching insights into the complexities of animals as performers and how we interpret emotion through their physical feats and performances. Commencing with the trained acts of the 1890s, Tait's meticulous research and theoretical framing redefines what live and cinematic circus animal performance means. Wild and Dangerous Performances: Animals, Emotions, Circus is an extraordinary feat – a major contribution to circus history, performance and emotion studies, and to the contemporary field of animal studies.' - Dr Melissa Boyde, University of Wollongong and the Australian Animal Studies Group, Australia

'The meticulous historical research into circus acts that Peta Tait combines with careful analysis of the physical feats of animal performers, along with her deeply original theorizing about how emotion is evoked and presented to link human and non-human animals in performance, amounts to a new paradigm for engaging that seminal question of animal studies: 'Why look at animals?' With Wild and Dangerous Acts, Tait locates emotion at the very heart of the process through which meaning emerges when species meet. In so doing, she alters and expands our understanding of the imbrication of mimesis, subjectivity, and gender identity with notions of animality, wildness, and freedom.' - Una Chaudhuri, Acting Chair, Department of English, New York University, USA

'Both theoretically and historically rich, the book pushes interdisciplinary thinking on human-animal relations in modernity, on embodied emotions, and on animals and emotions to show how animal studies and performance studies productively intersect in affect studies... [a] densely argued, well-illustrated and important book...' - Kim Marra, Theatre Jourbanal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230357136
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 11/16/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

PETA TAIT is Professor and Chair of Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University, Australia.
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Table of Contents

Contents
Acknowledgements
List of Illustrations
Introduction
Calm Patience and Pyramid Poses
The Lion Roars from a Pedestal
Dancing Elephants in Skirts
Leopard Around the Neck
Born Free Again
Sensing Emotion
Works Cited
Index
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