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.
"Circus as idée fixe and Hunger."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
This text has been double-blind peer reviewed by 2+1 experts in the field.
The above text, published by Purdue University Press ©Purdue University, has been downloaded 713 times as of 09/16/18.
American Studies Commons, Comparative Literature Commons, Education Commons, European Languages and Societies Commons, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, Other Arts and Humanities Commons, Other Film and Media Studies Commons, Reading and Language Commons, Rhetoric and Composition Commons, Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons, Television Commons, Theatre and Performance Studies Commons