This book takes its readers through the streets and fairs of 18th-century Parisfrom cafes to boulevard theaters, and even to freak showson a lively investigation of various forms of entertainment, the people who enjoyed them, and the reasons for their popularity. Entertainment in 18th-century Paris was far more than mere diversion, argues Isherwood. It was a vital way for people to work out their fantasies as well. Using an imaginative array of sources, Farce and Fantasy describes the public's subliminal search for sex, pathos, brutality, and absurdity through certain types of entertainment, and shows how the lower classes often used entertainment to poke fun at the elite. Isherwood also examines the differencesand similaritiesbetween popular and elite culture, arguing that street fairs in particular represented the convergence of significant aspects of the two cultures. Throughout, the book's carefully researched illustrations bring to life pre-revolutionary France through the eyes of its people.