Hemingway's marvelling take on Spanish-style bull-fighting - for him a spectacular performance art fraught with risk - is but one among many preposterous evasions of the gross reality that animates one of today's most contested public spectacles. In Bullfighting, A troubled history, the first-ever cross-cultural study of the subject, Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier examines at length and in depth the corruptions, cruelties and delusions that over the centuries have in turn made and sustained the world of celebrity cape-and-sword 'artists' decked out in fantastically gaudy suits.
The fighting bull has been systematically bred for aggression over many centuries, but on the day it faces its nemesis in the ring in Spain, in southern France and elsewhere - sometimes drugged and always terrified - it is first agonizingly crippled by means of the picas and banderillas thrust into it prior to the matador's capital intervention. His is a 'killing' that often leaves the animal still conscious while its ears and tail are being hacked off. At certain fiestas in South America, live condors are bound by their talons to the backs of bulls, a refining torment for both creatures. But Hardouin-Fugier reaches far beyond what is a depressing catalogue of cruelty, for this book considers the social and economic origins and expansion of bullfighting over the centuries, changes in dress and performance codes, breeding, the architecture of the bullrings, tourists, revenues, seat prices, subsidies, celebrity . . . And more, for this richly illustrated investigation includes works by numerous artists, among them Picasso, Manet, Dali and of course Goya, as well as a fascinating variety of posters past and present and other events ephemera.
Some former bullfighting countries have moved on, while other states (such as Portugal) prefer to place limits on the cruelties permitted in the ring; and there are towns and cities in South America, France and Spain that have imposed municipal bans. What support that remains for bullfighting is diminishing and fatally compromised. But the fight against bullfighting today is far from over, as this important contribution to the debate makes only too clear.
|Publisher:||Reaktion Books, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||7.40(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier was formerly professor of art history at the Université Jean-Moulin in Lyon. She is the author of many books including A History of Floral Painting and A History of French Still Life in the Nineteenth Century, and coauthor of Zoo: A History of Zoological Gardens in the West, also published by Reaktion books. Sue Rose has been working as a translator from French and Italian for more than seventeen years.
Table of Contents
1 Fighting Bulls 7
2 Capital Punishment 37
3 Plazas and Bullrings 49
4 What Travellers Saw 64
5 Nineteenth-century Spain and Latin America 75
6 Bullfighting, Art, Opera and Dance 94
7 Beyond Spain 111
8 The Influence of Art, Film and History 129
9 In the Twentieth Century 149
10 Modern Times 164
11 The Fight against Bullfighting Today 175
Photo Acknowledgements 202