Come One, Come All: The Circus in the American Artistic and Cultural Tradition Open Access
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The history of the circus is parallel to the coming of age tale of America, in all its eccentricities, blights, embarrassments and wonders and this is among the reasons artists are enamored with it as a theme. Viewed through the lens of relevant historical examples and contemporary artistic works, it acts as a reminder of a place and time that will never exist again, but still lingers in pockets of American culture. It is irreverent, frivolous, oddly charming and often provokes self reflection and examination, much like the birth tale of America itself. As a social experience the circus is akin to opening a book and becoming part of the narrative itself, both written and visual.