Articles de périodiques

Blondin conquers nature and invents the circus celebrity

Auteurs : Tait, Peta (Auteur)

Éditeur : Early Popular Visual Culture vol.11 n°3, p.205-217

Date de publication : September 2013

Langue : Anglais

Notes : Réf. bibliogr.

Sujets :
Blondin, Charles [funambule]
Traversée des Chutes Niagara

Résumé :
Blondin walked across Niagara Falls on a rope in 1859 and created a sensation. His fame made him synonymous with the high rope act. Drawing on archival and secondary sources, this article explains that Blondin’s rapid rise to international prominence, the merchandizing industry surrounding him, his large earning capacity, global travel, his special shows for journalists, and at least one complicated story of female fandom, pre-empt a modern idea of celebrity. The public perceives celebrities as ‘superhuman’. Did Blondin contribute to the invention of celebrity? Blondin’s reputation and his feats slide from the conquering of geographical space into ideas of mastery over untamed nature and even control over wild animals. Blondin’s athletic skill was undeniable but the varied costumes that framed the act also reinforced cultural notions of predatory prowess. His seemingly impossible feats could be celebrated as triumphant displays of masculinity and, more broadly, of European dominance over geography, other peoples and even species. Underlying the nineteenth century idea of celebrity arising from Blondin’s physical agility were hierarchical relations between races and cultures. As his name became a brand, his act denoted extremes of spatial inversion and gravity defying action conflated with the conquest of nature’s force. [author summary]

Localisation : Traitement documentaire C

  • Ex. 1 — Consultation sur place


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