Now, that’s really big. The size: 20 x 13 x
Circus literature through the centuries is an infinite, exciting and surprising landscape of marvels. But this one risks to be the best circus book ever. If legendary bibliographer Toole-Stoot was alive, he would have jumped from his chair.
Where our inconsiderate enthusiasm generates for “Circus 1870-1950”, just published internationally by Taschen? This book has an interesting approach to the circus, reflecting the identity itself of the big top divertissements: the emphasis on size, richness, exageration, surprise, rarity, colossal cornucopia of never-ending wonders.
The recipe of this masterpiece of a book is just the same of the glorious circuses of a bygone era: assemble the bigger and the best ever. So, take the world’s best publishing house in the field of illustration (Taschen); treat the reader with the finest available paper choice wrapped with a solid, elegant, bible-like cover. Assemble for the first time ever those considered as the four most prestigious circus collections in the world: The Circus World Museum of Baraboo; the Tibbals Collection at the Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota; if not enough, the antique prints from the Pascal Jacob – Williams collection at Tohu in Montreal; and, just to top the cake, the generous paraphernalia from not less that Ricky Jay. To write competent essays, the editors (Noel Daniel and Linda Granfield) called the most world-encyclopedic circus historian walking today upon the face of the globe: Dominique Jando, with, as a guest star, the best fact-checker that the sawdust mitology ever knew in his long history, Fred Dahlinger. The picture captions are enhanced by a crowded constellation of small gems: circus-waxing quotes incessantly fleeding thru the pages from the pen of Steinbeck, Hemingway, De Mille, and dozen of others.
Now, this was enough to fill such a project. But is just the beginning. In fact, Taschen digged in other collections revealing in the best splendor possible the great gems of circus photography: legends as F.W.Glasier and E.Kelty. And with them, Mathew Brady, Cornell Capa, Walker Evans, Weegee, Lisette Model, Charles and Ray Eames. The odd and unusual, too: they unearthed never-before seen circus photos taken by a young
Just an example of how surprising is this treasure chest: the following magnificent picture, taken in 1948 at Ringling's circus, is one of the first colour photos of a circus ever taken. But, if this is not enough to amaze, there's something more about it.
In fact, the photographer was a young reporter from "Look" magazine called Stanley Kubrick.
The experience of this book for the circus lover, generates the same awe to stay in front of a Holy Bible for a religious. For those of us that are not initiated to the circus, the sense is probably of the same awe, witnessing here the bizarre repository of a colossal religion, almost gone, but still able to surprise and disturb.
The price is according to the pachidermism of the whole, too: 200 dollars in the
Oh, and they even remembered our friend Blacaman...