•  
  •  
 

Abstract

In her article "Circus as idée fixe and Hunger" Anna-Sophie Jürgens discusses circus fiction in which characters often display extreme, intense psychological traits. They are for example irascible, pyromaniac, sadistic, or megalomaniac. Particularly striking are protagonists with alternative psychological attitudes in fictional circus texts of the twentieth century such as Franz Kafka's hunger artist, Michael Raleigh's ringmaster Lewis Tully or Richard Schmitt's aerialist Garry, who can be seen as incubators of circus-related idées fixes. These literary circus characters develop fixations on circus that manifest themselves as a physical sensation of desiring circus like food, in other words: in circus fiction, circus-fixation appears and is realized as hunger. Jürgens explores this "voracious" circus enthusiasm that consumes so many protagonists of twentieth-century novels by drawing on related arguments such as the long tradition of showing (off) the deviant in mental asylums and circuses as sites of the "other" based on psychological explanations of idées fixes and monomania.