Sex, Simians, and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century France; Or, How to Tell a "Man" from a Monkey.
What marked Jocko as a monkey was his hairiness (the costume was fashioned of real monkey skin), his acrobatic agility (he bounded perilously from the stage to the loges to the balconies),(4) and his mannerisms (Mazurier had assiduously studied every detail of simian expression, behaviour, and movement).(5) What marked Jocko as a "Good Monkey," however, was the nature of his relationship with humans. In the wilds of Brazil, Jocko attached himself to Fernandez, a Portuguese colonial who had saved the monkey from capture by "savages." In return, Jocko brought Fernandez the diamonds he (the monkey) discovered after the ship which was bringing Fernandez's family to join him was shipwrecked. He also saved Fernandez's son from perishing on the rocks. Yet the moment at which Jocko placed his master's young son at his feet, the monkey was killed, shot by sailors who mistook his good intentions.(6) The ending was heart-rending, leaving audiences in tears; but it was the monkey's socio-politically correct rather than merely anthropomorphized character that audiences found so affective. Little or no tears would have been shed had Jocko been a "Bad Monkey," and hence "Bad Savage" and "Bad Servant."
As the plot of Jocko illustrated, the figures of the "Good/Bad Savage" and the "Good/Bad Servant" could be metaphorically transposed onto the figure of the "Good/Bad Monkey." The notion behind the Great Chain of Being -- the belief that all life had been hierarchically and immutably created by God (or the natural laws that He had set in motion)(7) -- governed nineteenth-century perceptions of "natural order," both socio-political and biological, until well into the century. In terms of the biological chain, the official doctrine in France was the fixity of species, as represented by the baron Cuvier. His conservative scientific beliefs mirrored his politico-religious ones: the four embranchements of the animal kingdom that he defined were distinct and separate, species could not transmutate between the embranchements nor even within them.(8) Of course, variations between individuals existed, but these variants would never be the source of new species or races. Thus, "man" even in his "primitive" or"natural" (uncivilized) state was still a noble being, simply because he had been created by God as "man." Hence, the Rousseauian notion of "Man in the State of Nature" -- solitary, yet peaceful humans wandering the forests, eating fruits and nuts (much like monkeys) -- and relatedly, the "Noble Savage," continued to be idealized. Thus the biological chain meshed inextricably with the socio-political chain: there were different and fixed races, types, classes, and groups of men and women.
Because of the inherent ontological stability of both chains, metaphorical transpositions could be made between socio-political and biological signifiers of "natural order." As the figure of the "Good Monkey," Jocko could be metaphorically equated to the figures of the "Good Savage" and "Good Servant," and so lauded for his good (socio-politically correct) behaviour, while women who overstepped gender boundaries could be satirically portrayed as monkeys, and thus be chastised for their transgressive acts. As the saying goes, "A place for everything, and everything in its place." Certainly Jocko knew his place, even if for observers it was a momentary, albeit teasing, trompe-l'oeil. Art, or culture, imitated nature; a "man" could mimic a monkey, but could never be (or have been) one himself.
By the 1880s, culture could no longer imitate nature because nature, or specifically the nature of "man," had fundamentally changed. In its 12 May 1883 issue the journal, La Nature, described Krao, the hirsute Laotian girl mentioned previously, as follows:
A little girl of seven, called Krao, who is completely hirsute and presents additional simian characteristics, is being currently exhibited at the Aquarium of Westminster, in London. Her whole body is covered with straight, sleek, black hair; her face is very prognathous; she possesses the ability to project her lips forward almost to the same degree as chimpanzees, her grimace when she is irritated is characteristic of chimpanzees; she also has prehensile toes which she uses to pick up very small objects from the ground. From these features one would have to say that she could be nothing but an intermediary between man and monkey, the missing link that has been searched for in vain for so long. But she is nothing of the kind. M. Keane, the erudite English anthropologist who examined this curious specimen, reports her to belong without a doubt to the genus Homo.(9)
As with Jocko, the fascination was with hairiness, agility (in this case the prehensile toes), and simian-like mannerisms. Again, a trompe-l'oeil, but a rather more disconcerting one since observers knew that there was no "normal" little girl hidden within the simian-like body. Culture was not imitating nature, it was the "nature" of nature itself -- the whole biological order that was founded upon the fixity and providential determinism implicit in the Great Chain of Being -- that was in the process of being recast. What if "men" were in fact only transformed monkeys?
To fully comprehend the magnitude of this crisis, one has to understand that the beginning of the collapse of the official dominance of the fixist doctrines of Cuvier and his disciples only began in France in the 1860s. Transformism -- the possibility that one species could transmutate into another -- was a concept that was radically opposed to the immutability of divinely-created species, and was itself considered radical, that is, atheistic, and thus potentially inflammatory. Proliferating in eclectic variations since the end of the eighteenth century,(10) the spectre of transformism reared its head briefly in France in 1830 with the famous debate between Cuvier and Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire just prior to the July Revolution before being officially beaten down yet again.(11) Even after Cuvier's death in 1832, the exigencies of politico-scientific affiliations kept transformist doctrines officially submerged. Victor Cousin, who was director of the Ecole normale superieure during the July Monarchy and minister of public instruction for a short time in 1840, made "spiritualism" (or "eclecticism") the official school of French philosophy. As Linda Clark stated: "A system often described as `Christianity without miracles' [`eclecticism'], made God the ultimate cause of the rational structure of the universe and emphasized human free will."(12) Furthermore, Catholic theologians' hostility to transformism -- its apparent materialism and emphasis on chance -- was buttressed by the structure and official doctrines of French scientific institutions. To quote Clark again:
The centralization of learning in Paris meant that hostility rooted in the leading institutions of official science -- the Academy of Sciences, the Sorbonne's Faculty of Science, and the Museum of Natural History -- could retard acceptance of the theory beyond the capital. Biologists of senior rank who accepted George Cuvier's position on the "fixity" of species still wielded much influence during the 1860s and 1870s.(13)
And even then scientists who had been believers in Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire's or Lamarck's transformist theories or had inadvertently carried on their work(14) were profoundly shocked. As Bourdier writes:
Louis Agassiz [a noted palaeontologist] moved farther and farther toward an evolutionist stance, all the while retaining his belief in a preestablished harmony between the creative thought of God, in which all beings originated, and human thought made in the image of divine thought. When Darwin proclaimed his theory of natural selection, Agassiz was profoundly shocked by its materialistic aspects and stated flatly that there was no proof for the mutability of species. Etienne Serres, Geoffroy's faithful friend, would also turn to an anti-Darwinian Spiritualism, seeing man as a creature apart and the supreme goal of all creation.(15)
Nonetheless, when Darwin's Descent of Man was published in 1871 (French translation in 1872, with second and third French editions appearing in 1873 and 1883, respectively),(16) the full implications for human origins and development emerged: "man" had evolved from simians. Although Clemence Royer's preface to her French translation of Darwin's 1859 On the Origin of Species discredited Darwinism somewhat in French scientific eyes,(17) Darwin's evolutionary theorizing gave impetus to ever more fantastic speculation about the nature of the intermediary between "man" and monkey in the French social imaginary. Exhibits such as hommes- and femmes-singes (monkey-men and -women) and various other types of "primitive" intermediaries and sauvages proliferated in fairs and carnivals and other venues of popular entertainment, such as music halls and cafes-concerts. Press reports and articles, and dramatic and literary works satirized, lampooned, and otherwise conjectured about a possible intermediary between "man" and monkey.
The combination of horror and fascination that the liminal figure of the "Man/Monkey" elicited, escalated in the social imaginary as scientific arguments with respect to the question of human origins (or descendence) grew more vehement. One side claimed that palaeontological evidence indicating that humans had descended from apes, or at least had a common ancestor, was irrefutable, whereas the their opponents claimed that human capabilities and attributes such as speech, rational thought, walking erect, hands as distinct from feet, and moral and religious sentiments, were "divine" attributes and unique to "man."(18) The potential for total ontological chaos increased as transformism (or Darwinism) made inroads in scientific thought and gradually eroded the deterministic and providential foundations of the Great Chain of Being, in both a biological and a socio-political sense.
The crumbling of these firm foundations and the descent into ontological disorder is well-illustrated in pre- and post-1872 representations of hirsute and/or simian-like anomalies of various types. The microcephalic "Last Aztecs"(19) were portrayed in bird-like, rather than simian-like terms, during their first French tour in 1855, in complete contradistinction to the later analogies made between microcephalics and hommes- or femmes-singes. Theophile Gautier, in his 16 July 1855 feuilleton for the Moniteur universel, stated that the "Last Aztecs" were: "charming, perfectly and cutely proportioned, the smallness of their heads lends them a lot of elegance: they flit and jump about hither and yon with the movements of birds about to fly away -- and are so quick that one is at pains to catch them. We have talked of birds, and that is not without reason: the heads of these bizarre creatures resemble the caricatures of Grandville, who sought to anthropomorphize parrots, peacocks, roosters, etc. in his Metamorphoses du jour ..."(20) Certainly a very different characterization of microcephalics from that found in Vogt's Memoires sur les microcephales ou hommes-singes, where he described the institutionalized cases that he observed; in simian-like terms, for example, they could not learn to use cutlery and thus ate with their hands; they climbed trees to gather fruit; they howled and shrieked; and they had a simian-like gait, in other words, crouched forward and aided by their long arms.(21) In the same vein, post- 1872 representations of the "Last Aztecs" focused upon their sloping foreheads and small skulls. Their bushy hair was always tied up in topknots to emphasize the smallness of their heads, and they were invariably depicted in profile in order to expose the angle of their foreheads and noses, and again the smallness of their skulls.(22)
When the idea of human-simian descendence began to gain a concrete conceptual reality in the post-1872 French social imaginary, the Rousseauian image of the "Noble Savage" and "Man in the State of Nature" (that is, the early stages of mankind as conceptualized in the eighteenth and prior centuries), gradually degenerated into representions of "primitives" and "savages" who were characterized by physical signs of simian/animal origins, such as small heads, sloping foreheads, hairiness, length and agility of limbs, carnivorousness, and ferocity.(23) There was a marked difference in characterization between the sauvage d'Aveyron, the wild boy found in the woods of Aveyron in 1797 who Jean Marc Gaspard Itard tried to educate(24) -- an illustration, most probably from the early nineteenth century, depicted the sauvage d'Aveyron daintily placing a morsel of food into his mouth while walking in the forest, dressed in a belted robe with a cap of the same material (the only concession to his "wildness" seemed to be his long finger- and toe-nails)(25) -- and the representations of ferocious "savages" at the turn of the twentieth century, who were depicted tearing ravenously at raw flesh, while being restrained from the crowd by chains and/or the iron bars of cages. Some of the individuals exhibited as examples of "primitive" or "savage" men and women were, of course, fakes. Tales abounded about fake "savages" or "primitives" who were exposed for the "civilized" humans that they were -- a trompe-l'oeil similar to Jocko, the figure of the monkey which literally contained the figure of the man Mazurier -- and, as with Jocko, the spectators at fairs and carnivals were similarly teased and titillated.
Microcephaly, however, could not be faked; it was congenital. The physiological reality of the microcephalic's condition was undeniable, thus was added an element of horror and fascination similar to that evoked by Krao. Microcephalics were perceived as examples of degeneration and atavism, embodiments of "man's" simian origins. Felix Regnault, describing an experience of his in 1898 wrote that:
The barnum noisily announces the exhibition of primitive men. "These are not the vulgar phenomenes that are everywhere exhibited in fairs. Ours have excited the admiration of the entire scientific world. They have been exhibited in the laboratories of the great capitals; they have been examined and photographed from every angle." I enter: in reality these "hommes primitifs" are nothing but sad degenerates, microcephalics. They recall those Aztecs who excited the whole of Paris 20 years ago. These come from Greece. Without a doubt one thinks of monkeys when seeing this stupid gaze, this perpetually mobile physiognomy, animated from time to time by an inane laugh ...(26)
If the microcephalic phenomenes were hirsute, so much the better, such as the Femme-singe -- a fairly hairy, fourteen-year-old microcephalic girl -- who was exhibited by Alfred Claessen during the mid- to late-1870s.(27)
In contrast to Claessen's femme-singe, who was billed in France as "Darwin's Missing Link," Julia Pastrana "La Femme-gorille," toured both Europe and America in the 1850s and was billed as "more woman than orang-utang" as well as the "ugliest woman in the world."(28) Other than a passing reference in a secondary source to her appearance in Paris (?) with the Cirque Renz in 1854,(29) no reports or reviews of her in the Parisian press have been found for the years 1854-57, save for an anonymous report on curiosities and news in London in the 9 August 1857 issue of L'Entr'acte. (Although unnamed in the report, there could be no question that she was Julia Pastrana.)(30) The French reviewer found her and her depiction to be particularly repugnant, especially the fact that the description of her small and beautiful hands and feet was juxtaposed with the possible associations that her mother had had with bears and/or monkeys. He stated vehemently: "one thing is for certain, instead of parading this creature, who is an outrage to decency and modesty, and inspires disgust, one should carefully conceal her from all public scrutiny."(31)
Most probably this was what Parisian authorities thought too. If she was exhibited in Paris, it must have been clandestinely, or perhaps officially banned but unofficially tolerated by the police.(32) Parisian authorities, in contradistinction to those in other countries, such as England, America, or Germany, were quite circumspect about the kinds of human anomalies which could be publicly exhibited. Materialism, atheism, and other potentially explosive factors, figured markedly in their concern about socio-political order and les moeurs publiques. The exhibition of "monsters," still believed by many to be the "unholy" products of sexual couplings with demonic spirits or animals (bestiality), or imagination gone awry (including the workings of the devil through the mind), could lead people to question the assumed metaphysical basis of biological life -- that life was the result of the Creator's "divine spark," and, moreover, that human life was endowed with special God-given qualities such as reason, creativity, and speech. Because one of the implicit assumptions of materialism was the almost complete rupture between divine authority and the psychological, emotional, and intellectual nature of "man," materialism was equated with atheism, the Enlightenment philosophes, radical republicanism, and with the worst excesses of the Terror. Materialism thus stood for almost total disruption of the socio-political status quo, not to mention the ontological integrity of "human being," as both socio-political order and "human being" were defined for most of the nineteenth century.(33) The years after Napoleon III's "coup" in 1852 would, of necessity, have been repressive in terms of the need to contain disorder, both real and symbolic. Thus, the conceptual fondations of "natural order" (both biological and socio-political) as divinely created and ordained, would have to be actively supported. As illustrated in Victor Hugo's poem "Fable ou Histoire" in Les Chatiments, which contemptuously and derogatorily compared Napoleon III to a monkey in a tiger suit,(34) metaphorical references to "men" as monkeys could be extremely destabilizing.
At any rate, if Julia Pastrana was exhibited in Paris, her act was probably no different than her act elsewhere, in which she was dressed in elaborate feminine attire, and sang and danced. (She was reputedly an excellent dancer, and especially loved the "Highland Fling.") The English doctor Laurence also noted her to be "intelligent and quick" though "perfectly uneducated."(35) Although she was referred to as "The Hybrid" in England and her appearance compared to that of a gorilla's (Darwinism was officially accepted much earlier in England than in France), in France she was an outrage to public decency and morals, a living model of the satirical cartoons parodying women who had overstepped gender lines, symbolically representing disruptions to the socio-political chain of "natural order." Biological transgressions of the species boundary could be used as metaphors for socio-political transgressions since the biological boundary between humans and animals still had a firm conceptual distance to it, an ontological stability that defined the human as opposed to the animal and vice versa.(36) When the idea of human-simian descendence began to gain a concrete conceptual reality in post-1872 French social imaginary, this ontological stability began to fall apart, and the gender/sex boundary became increasingly confounded with the species boundary.
Traces of this ontological confusion between the species and sex boundaries -- with a concomitant push towards stability -- were apparent in representations of femmes a barbe (bearded women). Femmes a barbe of whatever type -- femmes colosses a barbe (fat bearded women), femmes geantes a barbe (bearded giantesses), or just plain femmes a barbe. They continued to be ubiquitous entertainers at fairs, carnivals, and other venues of popular entertainment through the nineteenth and into the twentieth centuries. Evidence suggests, moreover, that they were increasingly popular, especially from the mid-1870s on.(37) The well-known cafe-concert singer Theresa's (Emma Valadon) theme song "La Femme a barbe" dates from 1864-65.(38)
"La Femme a barbe" I Enter into my establishment / In all the fair, you will not find / A more amazing phenomene / Than this beard that is my glory./ You can touch it, do not fear / It won't come off in your hand. / Touch it, examine that it's not fake / And it won't cost you but ten centimes. Refrain (tempo di marcia) Enter, children's nurses and soldiers / Find a way to bend my arms / One could more easily bend a tree. / It's me who is the femme a barbe / It's me who is the femme a barbe. II When I came into the world it was recognized / That I would be the honour of the family. / Up until now there hasn't been seen / A beard on the chin of a girl. / In gracing me with this embellishment / The heavens have given me an honourable adornment; / With it I am not idle, / I lift weights of 350. Refrain: Enter children's nurses, etc. III I find that on the subject of this ornament / Men are a little too proud, / I am nothing but a woman but nevertheless / I'm worth six [men], ask Pierre? / Pierre the Strong Man opposite, a lamb / Who is as jealous as a bull, / As soon as a spectator eyes me, / Ah nom d'un chien how he beats them [me?]. Refrain: Enter children's nurses, etc. IV The sergeants of the garrison / Sometimes pay me galantries / Offering me a simple glass of wine / But I don't consort with infantrymen./ I have a beard but I have my modesty, / I am a woman and not a firefighter, / I file complaints against those who have the impudence / Not to respect my corpulence. Refrain Enter children's nurses and soldiers / Frail men need not pay / This is not flesh, this is marble. / It's me who is the femme a barbe, It's me who is the femme a barbe.(39)
The typical femme a barbe as represented in the song -- ultra-feminine in comportment, i.e., modest, capable (or worthy?) of inciting male jealousy, yet sexually faithful -- is quite similar to how real femmes a barbe represented themselves. Their very feminine pastimes such as needlework, cooking, and other domestic pursuits, and characters like good wives and mothers, were linked to medical attestations of their sexual integrity, as their sex organs were judged to be female.(40) What made them women were hidden attributes, such as "interior" physical organs and physiological functioning, and domestic ("interior") skills and pastimes. What made them femmes a barbe were visible characteristics, the two highly-prized symbols of masculinity appropriated from the male of the species: facial hair and muscular strength. In terms of visual coding, the presence (or possibility) of facial hair signified the male of the species Homo sapiens, while the absence of facial hair, signified the female. As with coding for the phallus and phallic power, there was both a presence and a lack, with each signifying distinct positions in the socio-political chain. Some of the more "wilder" evolutionary theories that circulated can be situated solidly within these gendered contexts, for example, the theory developed by Brandt, a Russian savant, and reported upon in the French press. Brandt stated that femmes a barbe were aesthetic precursors, that eventually "all women would have beautiful moustaches and silky beards." He perceived the development of facial hair by women as evolutionary progress, the gradual perfectionment of the species, with the ideal specimen being the moustached and bearded man.(41)
Hirsuteness, however, also had the symbolic potential to distinguish between "man" and beast, since animals have hair on their bodies, while humans do not. Thus, even hirsuteness of body parts that were socio-culturally coded as the prerogative of men could be suggestive not only of physiological deviancy in terms of the gender/sex boundary, but also biological deviancy in terms of the species boundary, a potential for total ontological chaos. Late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century exhibits such as the femme a barbe Mme Howard, billed as "La Femme a la tete du lion" and exhibited by the dompteurs (wild-animal tamers) Adrien and Edmond Pezon, and the feminized homme fauve Frederic Petrof (although he was bare-chested he wore skirt-type bloomers and had a wide sash around his waist) exhibited by the dompteur Edmond Pezon(42) were visible manifestations of this ontological chaos. Where were the dividing lines between man and woman, man and beast, woman and beast, and human and "savage"? In terms of the social imaginary, the literal containment -- these hirsute anomalies were exhibited in cages by wild-animal tamers -- of these ontologically disturbing figures was perhaps a means to diffuse conceptual tensions, to regain some manner of ontological order, at least on the psychic and imaginary plane.
Consideration of the multiple transgressions possible for the figure of the femme a barbe added another dimension to their gendered representation. Although their visual appearance (the beard and moustache) signified a mixing of the sexes,(43) most of the "proof" that they were women rested on behavioural and psychological evidence (such as mannerisms, actions, comportment, taste, and sentiments). One component in the symbolic configuration of the femme a barbe could thus be interpreted as reactionary rather than radical, an attempt to reinforce the values of the status quo, in this case the decisive nature of gendered behaviour in defining the male versus the female (which is exactly how men and women were culturally and medically defined in society at large). This representation, moreover, was not merely a gendered one, but one that also emphasized the hierarchy of the "social" (or civilized) male vis-a-vis the "social" (or civilized) female. After all,femmes a barbe appropriated highly prized visual symbols of civilized (French)(44) masculinity, groomed and trimmed moustaches and beards, not indiscriminate facial growth that was representative of "savages."(45) (With respect to the aforementioned femme a barbe Mme Howard, the name she was given -- "La Femme a la tete du lion" -- is suggestive of her more disorderly growth of facial hair.)
As with Jocko, a woman who physically looked like a man was a trompe-l'oeil. The image teased and titillated, but the fundamental socio-political and biological status quo was maintained. Because men's and women's essential natures -- their behaviour, their mannerisms, their likes and dislikes, their emotional, psychological, and intellectual makeup -- were considered to emanate from their sexual beings, specifically, their sex organs, so a "real" woman having female sex organs could never be a "real" man. She could imitate one, but she could never be one herself. The image of the "Good Servant" (for women were lower in civil status than every class or group of men) was overlaid onto the image of the "Good Monkey." The social and "moral" values of civilized "man" versus the "savage" were reaffirmed in exhibits such as the aforementioned femme a barbe Mme Howard and the homme fauve Frederic Petroff, and in scenarios such as the quintessentially French femme a barbe Clementine Delait stepping into a lion's "den,"(46) and the dompteur Adrien Pezon advertising "For the first time in Europe, the greatest attraction of the century, Rham-A-Sama, l'homme primitif."(47) These exhibits represented the containment or taming of the "savage" -- the "primitive" "wild" men or women and the more animal nature of women (symbolized by femmes a barbe's medical attestations regarding their female sex organs) -- by the "higher" ideals, customs, education, and culture of "civilized" society. Social (or "civilized") "man" had triumphed over the chaos and savage disorder of the natural world.
As discussed above, representations of hirsute anomalies could exploit multiple ambiguities in the human male-female relationship, as well as the "man"-beast relationship. However, their hirsute appearance suggested not only a preoccupation with anxieties about human evolution -- implied by the transgression of physical, physiological, and biological boundaries -- but also threw the question of any kind of "divine" or providential hand in the "creation" of "man" into the arena of the social imaginary. Although the increasingly objective stance of scientific methodology discredited any consideration of first or final causes (what is life?) by relegating those issues to theology and/or metaphysics, the social imaginary, being a sedimentation of the socio-cultural, political, religious, scientific, etc., values and anxieties of the prevailing class in France -- the bourgeoisie -- manifested no such qualms with respect to "evolutionary" representations of human "creation." Although not explicitly stated by Darwin, human evolution from apes carried the implication of sexual unions between "men" and monkeys. The spectre of cross-species fertilization haunted the social imaginary. Images of "pagan" beasts, bestiality and figures of mythic human-animal hybrids such as Egyptian divinities with animal heads or Greek and Roman centaurs and satyrs, merged with the motley cast of hirsute anomalies to further add to the ontological confusion regarding "man's" nature and origins.
Scientifically, cross-species fertilization was only discredited as a causative factor of monstrosity at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Even though the severe punishments, including burning at the stake, that had been meted out through the early modern period to both perpetrators and victims in cases of bestiality were gradually tempered by the requirement of finding out the exact nature of the sexual relations involved -- that is, was the act a bestial one -- "monsters" having a non-human conformation of the body parts, especially the face and skull, were not accorded civil rights and status.(48) With respect to the educated classes in general society, the physician Auguste Debay, writing in 1846, stated that although many writers still believed animal-human cross breeding is possible because, in the Bible, Moses forbade bestiality upon pain of death, these writers ignored that "the sexual coupling of two beings belonging to different species is an act that remains sterile. All that has been discussed about the impregnation of goats by Sicilian goatherds, and Egyptian priestesses by the bulls of Memphis, has to be regarded as completely fabulous. The act may have taken place, but never impregnation."(49)
Representations of the first hirsute anomaly to make a big name for himself in France capitalized upon these pagan, perverse, and illicit undertones. Adrian Jeftichew was billed as "L'Homme-chien" and exhibited in Paris at the Tivoli Vaux-Hall along with his equally hirsute three-year-old son Fedor (for the price of one franc) towards the end of 1873.(50) Both father and son were almost totally covered with soft, silky, brown hair, their faces resembling those of King Charles spaniels, as one reviewer put it. They were both dressed identically, in Russian peasant-type garb, wearing loose shirts and trousers with wide sashes around their waists. They had supposedly been captured in the wilds of Russia, one of the stories regarding their origins being that the father Adrian was the result of the sexual coupling of a woman and a bear,(51) implying, of course, that the father Adrian repeated the original bestial act to produce his son. The perversity of these "unnatural" sexual unions was emphasized by another story that circulated about L'Homme-chien's religious devotion. Adrian believed that he and his son were forever damned, and that prayer and donations were the only things that could save their souls -- remnants of the former condemnation of bestiality with its punishment of both perpetrator and victim by burning alive. While the medical explanation for L'Homme chien and his son's condition was hypertrichosis, extra-scientific theories abounded regarding whether or not they were isolated accidents, atavistic representatives of a lost race, such as the cynocephales of ancient Egypt, or actual examples of transformist theories -- "missing links."
Scientifically, the figures of L'Homme-chien and his son were not thought to be examples of "missing links." As detailed above, the spread of Darwin's Descent of Man was just beginning in France. Darwinism was not generally accepted, let alone officially accepted, and was thus not seen by the authorities as a threat. The Parisian censor board for theatrical works had apparently no qualms about approving an operetta, entitled L'Homme est un singe perfectionne performed at the Folies-Bergere in April 1875, which parodied transformism, the idea of an "man"-monkey intermediary, and explicitly conjured up images referring to human-simian hybridity, with the allusion to sex and love between apes and humans being a major theme.(52) The character of the Gorilla in L'Homme est un singe perfectionne had put a romantic French spin upon the idea behind Barnum's "What-Is-It."(53) Plumeau, a savant and inventor of a transformist liquid he called "Eau simiesque," was in search of an ape on which to test his theories. His intention was to gradually transform this ape into a man, via the application of his depilatory liquid and a rigorous program of education, moralization, and civilization. Then, thus transformed, the newly created "man" would marry the savant's daughter Ouistitine -- whose name was actually a play upon the name of a type of monkey, the "Ouistitis"(54) -- and the reverence that the savant felt for his ancestors the apes would be made manifest.
Plumeau: "The Gorilla, exactly the one that we made the trip from Paris to Perpignan for ... Before acquiring it, capturing it, making the hair fall from its face and body thanks to the solution that I invented ... to transform it in fact into a real human being ... and to prove to all that I am right when I state that man is nothing but a perfected monkey ..." Ouistitine: "You really believe this then ..." Plumeau: "Foi de Filtre, of course I believe, and I'm proud of it." Ouistitine: "Not me, I find it humiliating, and I'm even very vexed that you had me baptized with the name Ouistitine ..." Plumeau: "You are my daughter and one day you will share my reverence for the apes our ancestors ... I'm willing to wager that you will even consent to marry the first one that I transform ..." Ouistitine: "Never on your life." (Act I, scene iii)(55)
The savant's daughter Ouistitine was, of course, completely opposed to this scheme, one of the reasons being that she was in love with a real man. Together Oustitine and her lover concocted a scheme in which her lover would don a gorilla suit, pretend to undergo the savant's transformist experiment, "become" a man, and marry Oustitine. After many twists and turns in which the fugitive but real gorilla who opened the operetta was discovered to be female, and not male as originally thought, and the savant as well as the saltimbanque who was the gorilla's owner fell in love with the gorilla and wanted to have it/her for a wife after it/she was treated with the "Eau simiesque" and transformed into a woman, the piece ends with the pseudo-gorilla falling into the "Eau simiesque," being transformed into a man, and being allowed to wed Oustitine. Everyone was happy: the savant believed his invention worked, the daughter married her real lover-- the pseudo-gorilla -- and the saltimbanque ran off with his real gorilla. Not only was the hypothesis that men were descended from apes lampooned, but also the idea of transformism (specifically human evolution from apes) itself was satirized with the image of the "Eau simiesque" working its depilatory wonders. The hairs gradually dissolved, the skin became smooth, and with a little civilization and a little education the stooping figure of the gorilla was transformed into the erect one of a man. (The issues of human-simian sex/love that this piece contains are dealt with later.)
The 1880s, however, brought a different political climate. Although some Parisian newspapers and journals noted that Krao, the hirsute Laotian girl described the beginning of this paper, was being exhibited at the Westminster Aquarium, London in the spring and summer of 1883, there were no reports in the Parisian press of her exhibition in Paris in 1883, or even of the possibility that she would come to Paris. That fact that Krao was being exhibited in England and Germany in 1883 (the photograph that La Nature reproduced for its 1883 article was from the Illustriete Zeitung) and only first visited Paris in 1886, suggested that authorities vetoed her entry into France in 1883. When she did visit Paris in June 1886, her exhibition was kept very hush-hush. Farini, her entrepreneur, hired a private room at the Alcazar d'Ete; visiting hours were from two to six in the afternoon and from eight to eleven in the evening(56); publicity and reporting in the Parisian press were practically nil and the few published comments on her emphasized that she was a human.(57) Public authorities, who wanted to keep moral and political order at all costs, would have viewed Krao as a catalyst for a discussion and spread of ideas that they considered subversive and radical -- atheism, materialism and other taboo metaphysical topics, and the democratic and revolutionary implications of Darwinian evolution.
A burlesque entitled Jacko (note the continuity with the Jocko of 1825), performed at the Eden-Theatre in July 1884,(58) illustrated these bio-political and evolutionary overtones. The plot was fairly simple: "Le Senechal," father of the lovely Eglantine, and high official in King Serin XXVII's court (in the imaginary land of Serinville, in the fantastical year 14697), would be put to death in three days if he didn't kill the monkey terrorizing the realm. The Senechal's plan was to find a husband for Eglantine and made one of the conditions of betrothal that his future son-in-law should kill the monkey.
Le Senechal (air): In this country of monkey / A monkey, a monkey / Repulsive animal / Which causes alarm everywhere / Mocking even the gendarmes / Entering as far as the palace of the king / Getting everyone agitated. All: Entering as far as the palace of the king / Getting everyone agitated. Le Senechal: The king fears that this monkey / This monkey, this monkey / A veritable jackal / with a radical appearance / Reversing the plans of the Minister / of State with a sinister bound / Somersaulting over the weak pivot[?]/Breaking the tax plate. All: Somersaulting over the weak pivot / Breaking the tax plate. Le Senechal: Swear that this monkey / This monkey, this monkey / Repulsive animal / Guenon, orang-outang. / Sagouin, makio or mandrill / Ouistitis, sapajou, gorilla / From its head to its back / You will bring me its skin. All: From its head to its back / We will bring you its skin. (Act I, scene vii)(59)
After plot complications and vain attempts to find and kill the monkey, the Senechal's time was just about up. In the last scene the monkey finally appeared and was about to be captured and killed, when the king's gendarmes appeared with a decree: "It is prohibited to kill the monkey, under pain of death. This gracious animal belongs to King Boulimique XIX, a terrible neighbour! -- The grand Senechal is ordered to catch the monkey by kindness and to shower it with attention!"(60) Was this monkey, this "veritable jackal with a radical appearance, [who] reverses the plans of the Minister of State with a sinister bound," a working-class man in disguise? Not only were the last two decades of the nineteenth century a period during which working-class men were gaining political rights, but also the years when bourgeois fears of the sinister criminal potential of the "dangerous classes" reached their height. For example, working-class males of doubtful morals were regarded as degenerate "plebian and bestial schemers" ready to sexually infiltrate respectable bourgeois households. As Ruth Harris writes, "the working-class man was thought to be unable to raise himself above an unreflective, spontaneous level. The most dangerous were described as savages, utterly barbaric in personality, appearance, and deeds."(61) The theory of degeneracy, however, included possible absolution from moral responsibility, a plea that was used on more than one occasion as a defence in working-class crimes. In this light, perhaps the order of the king "to catch the monkey by kindness" was a satirical jab.
Representations of hirsute anomalies of the post-1872 decades embodied the progressive ontological chaos of the gradually destabilized conceptual categories of human versus animal, man versus woman, and the differences between various classes or types of humans. Not only were the conceptual categories of the fixity of species and the providential nature of the biological chain being demolished, but also specific socio-political contexts of late-nineteenth-century France such as democratization and male suffrage, depopulation, and women' s rights, were eroding the corresponding hierarchy of the social chain. What would be the result if, in the name of not only inevitable biological progress -- the evolutionary perfection of all life forms -- fish could be transmutated into reptiles, reptiles into mammals, monkeys into "men," but also in the name of inevitable socio-political progress, the "inferior races" of men, and even women, would be destined to evolve into perfected human beings, in other words, into European males? From the perspective of the bourgeoisie it would be total ontological chaos: an indiscriminate social and sexual mixing of "man" and beast, and "man" with "man." The "Good Monkey" was not so good anymore, and neither was the "Good Servant" (the working classes and women), nor the "Good Savage" (the colonized, and again, women).
A comparison of the sexual imagery of the French Revolution to that of the post-1872 decades suggested that different "perversions" were focused on in the post-1872 imaginary. While many revolutionary denunciations had to do with perverse sexuality within the family such as incest (the accusations against Marie Antoinette at her trial being a good example), the sexual "perversion" implied by hirsute anomalies was bestiality. If monkeys, jackals, and dogs were taken to be symbolic of the lower classes, women, and lower "races," the connotations were not only of perverse and illicit sexual relations between humans and animals, but also of "perverse" and illicit relations between differing types, classes, and sexes of human beings. This conceptual breakdown, resulting in the indiscriminate and perverse mingling of (supposedly) discrete categories was analogous to the late nineteenth-century bourgeois fears of sexuality and gender ambiguity that Robert A. Nye explored in his study Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France.(62)
Shortly after the highly successful Parisian exhibition of "L'Homme-chien" and his son, the first reports of a famille velue (family of hirsute individuals) discovered in Burma appeared in the French press. The 23 January 1875 issue of La Nature described this famille velue as consisting of a hirsute woman Mahphoon, her equally hirsute father Shwe-Maon, and her unnamed son (and thus Shwe-Maon's grandson), also hirsute.(63) The reproduction of a photograph(64) -- a touching family scene which depicted the three generations -- accompanied the article which largely consisted of descriptions of previous encounters by English explorers with these same hirsute individuals. Unlike the perverse and illicit connotations of bestiality associated with "L'Homme-chien" Adrian Jeftichew and his son, the stories that circulated about the Mahphoon family when the hirsute mother-son duo -- the now elderly and blind 64-year-old Mahphoon and her hirsute son Maong-Phoset (the unnamed child in the first photograph) -- began touring Europe in 1887,(65) emphasized the family's "sacred" nature. They lived at the royal court of King Theebault of Burma; when they wandered through the market stalls in Mandalay the foodsellers considered it an augury of good fortune if the hirsute family took any of their goods; and when the Burmese patriotically set fire to their capital to forestall English imperial domination in November 1885, the "sacred" family miraculously escaped the flames, Maong-Phoset carrying his aged mother Mahphoon on his back, accompanied by his wife and their children, the hirsute daughter Mah-Me included (she was alive at this time).(66) Why was there this difference in representation between "L'Homme-chien" Adrian Jeftichew and his son and the famille velue de Birmane?
Although France was certainly not unique in its fascination with hirsute anomalies,(67) perhaps their preoccupations with the bestial, sexual, and gender implications of hirsuteness were part of a specific French socio-political configuration. France had recently lost the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), which ended the long, drawn-out siege of Paris, and then soon found itself in the midst of a civil war -- Paris Commune -- which, of all of the revolutions, look the highest toll of the working class population.(68) Note that many of the Communards were portrayed as beast-like jackals, savagely killing and even devouring their "prey," who were the soldiers fighting for the side of the republican bourgeoisie.(69) Thereafter came more socio-political upheavals: national depopulation, of which a major focus was the perceived decline in the bourgeois population vis-a-vis the working classes, as well as increasing anxieties about democratization, i.e., universal male suffrage, and women's rights. The perceived breakdown in socio-political categories and decline of the "health" of the French nation was mirrored by "dissolving" biological boundaries. Nye, for example, illustrates that bourgeois concerns about male gender roles and sexuality were not only exacerbated by increasing anxieties regarding depopulation, but by also the fluidity and ambiguity of medical classifications of homosexuality and hermaphroditism.(70) The bio-political nature of this ontological chaos generated by evolutionary theorizing, and exacerbated by these specifically French contexts, coloured the late-nineteenth-century social imaginary. Conceptual reformulations of the sexual and gendered natures of "man," "woman," and the human-simian relationship were needed to restore ontological stability.
As transformist theorizing and debating proceeded apace with palaeontological and archeological discoveries, representations of hirsute anomalies became, on the one hand, more "unnatural" in terms of the representation of the transgression of conceptual categories (a sedimentation of increasing ontological disorder) and, on the other hand, more "natural" in terms of the codification needed to shore up crumbling ontological fault lines. The "sacred" nature of the famille velue de Birmanie was emphasized, and their bestial similarities were downplayed.(71) Unlike "L'Homme-chien" Adrian Jeftichjew who believed he would bum in hell for his "sin" of"bestiality," the famille velue escaped the fires set by the "savage" Burmese natives and were rescued by their imperial (British) saviors.(72) More to the point for the French, however, is that the Mahphoons were depicted as a family group, with hereditary links over three or four generations. Stories about their possible bestial origins were not circulated; it was rather the opposite, the (human) familial aspect was stressed. They were referred to by their proper names or as "la famille velue" rather than appellations that focused on their anomalies. Even the poster advertising their exhibition at the Folies-Bergere emphasized the familial dimension, two "exotic," but non-hirsute, children, were added to the mother-son duo (which could be taken for a husband-wife duo since Mahphoon, by dint of her anomaly, hadn't appeared aged in the poster).(73) This was not the situation with "L'Homme-chien" Adrian Jeftichjew and his son Fedor (the latter continued exhibiting under the name "L'Homme-caniche" in the Belle Epoque), nor the aforementioned enfant velu Krao, nor with Stephane Bibrowski, another hirsute anomaly who was billed first as "Le Garcon-Lion" and then "L'Homme-lion."
Of necessity, the central character in the nineteenth-century family group was the mother: first, because only she could actually bear offspring and thus carry on the line, and second, because of the maternal nurturing she provided, even if only symbolically. In the famille velue group, the mother Mahphoon was represented as the central character. She was first her father's daughter and then her son's mother. Motherhood was perceived to be woman's essential nature and "sacred" mission, even if the woman didn't look like a human female, for instance Mahphoon and femmes a barbe with the medical attestations of "true" womanhood. The mother-child dyad was thus the most "natural" in the world, especially in the context of French fears about depopulation. With the father-son dyad that Adrian and Fedor Jeftichjew symbolized, the all-important "mother" was unknown, a complete nonentity. So too with the direct ancestors of "L'Homme-lion" Stephane Bibrowski and Krao (although Krao was said to have come from a hirsute family).
It should not be surprising then, that representations of hirsute anomalies without a "mother" were increasingly portrayed as "unnatural," and therefore sexually perverse, not only with respect to originary acts, but also with respect to their essential sexual natures. The sexual ambiguities of "L'Homme-lion" Stephane Bibrowski were emphasized. He was portrayed in one rather astonishing photograph, reputedly by Nadar, in an odalisque-like pose (a take on Manet's Olympia), semi-nude, clothed in velvet as well as reclining on it, but with book in hand.(74) He was obviously not a woman (he had no breasts), but was he even a human man? Save for the soles of his feet and his palms he was totally covered with soft, silky hair.(75) Where did the beast end and the human begin? Where did the male cease and the female commence? In this case, a reshoring of the conceptual categories was attempted using the symbol of the odalisque, a figure of bold sexual freedom (at least from a nineteenth-century male perspective) but also a figure of total social domination, for what was an odalisque but a woman of a harem, not merely a kept woman, but hyper-civilized one, a woman literally "imprisoned" by the differences between the sexes. The superimposition of the imagery of the odalisque onto the imagery of the bestial served to psychically contain the ontological disorder that "L'Homme-lion" Stephane Bibrowski symbolized in somewhat the same manner as that which the literal imprisonment of hirsute anomalies, i.e., the exhibits of caged "primitives" and "sauvages," served to diffuse their ontological transgressions and ambiguities.(76)
Representations of Krao, the enfant velue who turned into a hirsute young woman, were similarly simultaneously "unnaturalized" and "naturalized." As an infant she was represented as completely nude, with her simian-like features exaggerated, even though the engraving was supposedly a replica of a photograph.(77) As she got older she was represented in provocative poses, for example, sitting nude on the lap of a doctor with her arms around him,(78) and in odalisque-like poses (like the aforementioned "L'Homme-lion").(79) The latter, however, were not in "civilized" settings but with rather "natural" forest backgrounds, more appropriate to the dimensions of female sexuality, such as nymphomania, that the nineteenth century considered as being sexually "perverse." Although Fedor Jeftichew's billing as "L'Homme caniche" and act -- his finale at the Folies-Bergere consisted of him appearing onstage wrapped up in a blanket so that only his head showed and he really resembled a terrier, then shaking himself until the blanket fell off, after which he yelped -- were seemingly non-sexual, the issue of L'Illustration which reported his death on 30 January 1904, stated "a curious detail: `l'Homme-caniche' had a particularly well-turned foot and his hands, that were of an incomparable delicateness and whiteness, were more the hands of a woman"(80) Perhaps the focus on the hand of "L'Homme-lion" with one hand gently holding a book, while the other limply hung beside the book, was intended to serve the same purpose.
The sexual ambiguities and biological transgressions, as well as the implications of sex or romantic love between "man" and beast (as in the previously discussed operetta L'Homme est un singe perfectionne, and the suggestive odalisque-like poses) made more sense when one realized that there were late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century medical concerns about "women's as well as men's morbid attraction to animals."(81) If this "morbid" attraction was not of a sexual nature, it was called zoophilia, which was manifested more by women; if there were sexual acts involved then it was bestiality, which men were more prone to.(82) In both cases, however, an excessive attraction of humans towards animals was considered morbid, and thus unnatural and unhealthy. Dogs had a very particular role to play in this "morbid" attraction since, "[w]hen men take the passive role, it is with the most sociable, the most willing animal, the dog (passive bestial sodomy). With regards to women, cases of passive bestiality have only been observed with dogs."(83) In a study of a woman, Mme B ..., afflicted with this "disorder," Charles Fere described its origins in this particular case during a severe fit that Mme B ... had at three-and-a-half years of age. She had been calmed down by two dogs that licked every part of her body, including her mouth and genitals; her condition progressively worsened during adolescence and adulthood so that she had a sexual arousal whenever she saw or thought of dogs.(84)
Images of the sexual coupling of women and animals, such as apes(85) and dogs, could perhaps be seen as the sedimentation of fears about depopulation, and upheaval of the status quo by "radical" and "pagan" (atheistic) evolutionary ideas and the unruly, uncivilized, "primitive," and "savage" lower classes. Furthermore, there was increasing anxiety regarding the "detritus" of society at the end of the nineteenth century. The nomadic lifestyles of itinerant fair or circus workers were perceived as threats to the moral and socio-political order. This concern culminated in 1913 with the administrative decree of 16 February, which enacted the law of 12 July 1912 requiring anthropometric identity cards of all "nomads," that is gypsies. While these identity cards were not required for industriels forains (travelling fair and circus performers and workers) and commercants ambulants (travelling sellers), regulations and policing of them were tightened.(86) Taken all together, these fears circulating in the social imaginary were perhaps consciously unthinkable at the time, and maybe could not be entirely expressed even in their symbolic form. A medical example serves to illustrate the awesome proportions of this ontological chaos. Dr. A. Therre, in collaboration with Louis Bounoure, professor of biology, published a pamphlet in 1943 entitled L'Anencephale a type "simiesque" de la maternite de l'hopital civil de Vichy, which described medical observations regarding the birth of an anencephalic fetus in 1897. The reasons they gave for publishing more than forty years after the event was that proof for the origins of this birth could only be found in scientific evidence accumulated after the event and, specifically, after 1918.(87)
In the aforementioned hospital, a sixteen-year-old girl gave birth to an anencephalic "monster" (most of the brain matter was lacking) on 6 January 1897. Inquiries were made as to who the father could be and the circumstances of conception. Had she been molested and raped, or were there incestuous relations between her and her father? What was the physical evidence that sexual intercourse had taken place? The medical conclusion was that the "secret of the origin of this monster resides in the presumed coupling of a robust and healthy young girl of 16, of French nationality, with a young anthropoid from Africa."(88)
Of course, one has to keep in mind that this sixteen-year-old girl and her father travelled around in their roulotte (caravan) from village to village with this "anthropoid ape," most probably exhibiting the monkey and doing odd jobs wherever they stopped. Therre and Bounoure stated that "even though the girl was interrogated separately and at length by both them and the mid-wife with regards to the sexual relations that she could have had with her monkey, on this point she remained completely mute. She admitted only that she lived familiarly with him."(89) And, even though vague rumours were uncovered about possible incestuous relations between the father and the girl, they noted "the strange, or at least enigmatic evidence, of the mid-wife Mme Moreau, who found, during the admittance examination of the young girl, that her vaginal orifice was hardly deformed.... This testimony rendered the imputation of sexual relations between the father and the girl hardly likely...."(90) And as definitive medical proof that this anencephalic fetus was the product of an act of simian fertilization, the fetus was perceived to have additional monstrosities other than that found on a regular anencephalic fetus, namely, the simian-like conformation of its eyes, ears, thorax, and the length of its limbs. The published photographs are especially noteworthy, in that the fetus is deliberately posed in simian-like postures where the length of its legs and arms are exaggerated.(91)
This last example brings me back full circle to monkeys and apes again. The exhibition of real monkeys, especially chimpanzees, as caricatures or mimics of human beings has continued on through to the late twentieth century. Chimpanzee performers such as Consul, and his successor Consul II, Fatou, Master Link (a.k.a. Empereur) were wildly popular. Both on and off stage they recreated the role of the "perfect gentleman": elegantly dressed, they lit and smoked cigars, drank cocktails, supped and dined with excellent table manners, went to the horse races, drove "cars" and bicycles. They were even invited to dinners and social events as if they were V.I.P.s.(92) However, they were perceived as monkeys, miniature mimics of "man," not in any way, shape, or form as intermediaries between monkeys and men, or hommes-singes.
While representations of the "Good Monkey" continued (and continue) on into the twentieth century, representations of the "Good Savage" and the "Good Servant," which had been conflated with, and overlaid onto, representations of the "Good Monkey" at the beginning of the nineteenth century, separated out, and were demonized by the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. The Rousseauian idea of the "Noble Savage" gave way to representations of hirsute and imbecilic "fiends" behind bars tearing ravenously at raw flesh, and then the "Good Savage/Good Servant" (actually now the "Bad Savage/Bad Servant") was further pathologized in representations of sexually perverse "females" and/or "ethnic others" (for example, "L'Homme-chien" and his son in Russian peasant garb, Krao as an embodiment of female sexual perversity/animality, "L'Homme-lion" as an Eastern odalisque) which exerted a kind of mythic fascination, precisely because of implications of bestiality and sexual ambiguity or transgressions.
At every turn, the crumbling conceptual boundaries of biological order or the idea of species mutability (transformism) that menaced the hierarchical rungs of the Great Chain of Being, the human-ape hybridity implicit in transformism, and the increasingly fluid boundaries that defined human races, groups, and sexes -- threatened to overturn the socio-political status quo. While the working classes may have been threatening sexual and political subversion, and while depopulation and women's rights were threatening gender roles and national "health," the ontological disorder manifested in the French social imaginary was countered by a rigidification of bourgeois social constructs and intensified biological determinism. As a means of regaining some measure of psychic (and socio-political) stability, fin-de-siecle bourgeois writers, playwrights, scientists, physicians, and purveyors of popular entertainment emphasized the continuing ontological stability of the biological female. Hirsute figures of ambiguous sexuality and gender were demonized and opposed to the figure of the biological female: the staunch and stalwart femme barbe, a "total" woman even though she didn't look it, and Mahphoon, the hirsute Burmese woman who was at once daughter, mother, and grandmother. Although evolutionary theorizing fundamentally changed the nature of the biological relations between the species, specifically between humans and animals, and hence the sociopolitical chain that was based upon the biological chain, by the beginning of the twentieth century, an ontological order that inhered in the conceptual stability of the biological female prevailed.
University of Chicago
(1) Shortly after Jocko starting playing at the Theatre de la Porte-Saint-Martin, the Theatre de la Gaite put on Sapajou with Jules Perrot playing the monkey. And, although Mazurier left for a stint in London, where Jocko was just as big a hit as in Paris, other imitators quickly sprang up in Paris (including, Jack l'Orang-Outang at the Theatre des Funambules, and Pongo ou le Singe Liberateur at the Acrobates), Brussels, Nimes, Stuttgart, Milan, and America. As Hannah Winter stated: "Jocko founded a school.... The acrobats of every country put on the skilful grimacer's hide and mask." See Winter, (trans. C. Meldon), The Theatre of Marvels, (New York, 1964), pp. 153-55. The character Jocko was still alive and kicking in Paris mid-century onwards. For example, an act entitled "Jocko" at the Cirque National des Champs-Elysees paired the "simian," played by Montero, with the dwarf Don Hidalgo. According to the Vesque sisters' notes, "this scene obtained such a success at the first representation that it was repeated for more than fifteen years." See Archives du Musee des Arts et Traditions populaires (hereafter ATPA): Fonds Vesque, Carton 4, Dossier Orange (1850-90): Cirque National des Champs-Elysees, (program for 1 May 1847).
(2) Quite possibly the inspiration for the character Jocko was a chimpanzee of the same name that had been exhibited in Paris during the summer of 1740, and whose history Buffon retraced. See E. Oustalet, "Le Chimpanze du Jardin des Plantes," La Nature, 12 March 1892, p. 234. Perhaps this chimpanzee Jocko is even the same chimpanzee that Buffon raised and trained. According to Oustalet, the "great naturalist" had a chimpanzee who walked erect most of the time, and who "obeyed the least sign from his master, offered his arm to the ladies, sat at the table using his napkin, wiping his mouth each time that he had drunk, uncorking bottles and offering wine to his neighbours, pouring coffee and adding sugar, in short, conducting himself like a well-mannered [gentleman]." See E. Oustalet, "Les Singes anthropomorphes," La Nature, September 1877, p. 220.
(3) Although Winter saw a possible source of the notion of the Noble (or Good) Monkey in theatrical traditions of previous centuries (ibid., p. 154), I am suggesting that the figure of the Noble or Good Monkey is central to understanding how "natural order" (in human society and the greater biological world) was conceptualized through the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries.
(4) See, for example, ATPA: Fonds Vesque, Carton 4, Dossier Orange (1793-1850): Mazurier/Jocko; and, Anon., "Courrier de la semaine," L'Entr'acte (5 May 1879): 2.
(6) ATPA: Fonds Vesque, Carton 4, Dossier Orange (1793-1850): Mazurier/Jocko; and, Winter, The Theatre of Marvels, pp. 153-54.
(7) This theory, having its origins in Aristotelian thought, posited that each of God's creations, from the lowliest rock to the highest angel, occupied a unique rung on a graduated scale. Even though the theory itself lost favour, the idea of a continuous and progressive chain lingered on in conjectures about the nature of life. It also provided a very commonsensical and natural basis for thinking about species evolution. See, for example, Nancy Stepan, The Idea of Race in Science: Great Britain, 1800-1960 (London, 1982).
(8) Cuvier had two guiding principles -- "The first of these principles was that scientific theories are useless and even prejudicial and that it is only the facts that count.... The second principle was that God had created each species, and even each being, to play a definite role in nature; because this role had been fixed from the very beginning, species must vary hut little in the course of time, and the same holds true for their organs". See F. Bourdier, "Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire Versus Cuvier: The Campaign for Palaeontological Evolution (1825-1838)" in C. Schneer (ed.), Toward a History of Geology: Proceedings of the New Hampshire Inter-Disciplinary Conference on the History of Geology, Sept. 7-12, 1967, (Cambridge, 1969), p. 40. Cuvier was also somewhat of a chameleon who adapted himself to the prevailing socio-political climate. For example, to quote Bourdier again, "In 1804, when the Pope assisted at the coronation of the emperor, Cuvier became an intransigent defender of religious orthodoxy; in a public course, he proclaimed the preciseness of Biblical chronology, which obliged him to acknowledge geological catastrophes...." See F. Bourdier, "Lamarck et Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire face au probleme de l'evolution biologique" Revue d'histoire des sciences, 25 (1972), 318. See also, G. Laurent, Paleontologie et Evolution en France de 1800 a 1860: une histoire des idees de Cuvier et Lamarck a Darwin (Paris, 1987); and T.A. Appel, The Cuvier-Geoffroy Debate: French Biology in the Decades Before Darwin (Oxford, 1987).
(9) "On montre actuellement a l'aquarium de Westminster, a Londres, une petite fille de sept ans, nomme Krao, qui est completement velue et presente en outre plusieurs caracteres simiens. Elle est couverte, sur tout le corps, de polls noirs, raides et lisses; sa face est tres prognathe; elle possede la faculte de projection des levres en avant developpee presque au meme degre que la chimpanze et sa moue, quand on l'agace, est tout a fait caracteristique; enfin elle a un pied prehensible et s'en sert pour ramasser a terre les objets les plus menus. Les particularites que presente la petite Krao ont fait dire qu'elle n'est autre qu'un etre intermediaire entre l'homme et le singe, cet etre si longtemps et si vainement cherche. Il n'en est rien. M. Keane, le savant anthropologiste anglais, a examine ce curieux specimen et le rapporte absolument au genre Homo." See Anon., "Une enfant velue," La Nature (12 May 1883), 384.
(10) Transformism (or Lamarckism), is generally attributed to Lamarck although, according to Pietro Corsi, Lamarck was more of a consolidator in that he gathered together all the various and disparate ideas regarding the influence of environmental circumstances upon physical characteristics. Lamarck's ideas were diffused in his publications, in scientific dictionaries, and, after his death in 1829, in the reselling of his 1809 edition of Philosophie zoologique (apparently the editor Bayard bought 500 copies of Lamarck's 1809 Philosophie zoologique, replaced the cover page, and sold the original throughout Europe in 1830). See P. Corsi, The Age of Lamarck: Evolutionary Theories in France, 1790-1830 (Berkeley, 1988).
(11) The famous controversy began in February 1830 at the Academie des sciences when Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire presented Laurancet and Meyraux's observations on the analogies between fish and cephalopods, a hypothesis that lent credence to his own theory of unite de composition which was a basic form/type for each species that he extended to all creatures. Cuvier had prevented debate on these inflammatory topics -- Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire's theory of unite de composition upheld the mutability of species -- for six months. The debate escalated until April 5, when Cuvier denounced the dangerous "pantheistic system" concealed within Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire's theories, whereupon the latter ended the controversy and published the debates as reported on in the press. See Bourdier, "Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire Versus Cuvier," pp. 49-50; and Appel, The Cuvier-Geoffroy Debate.
(12) L. Clark, Social Darwinism in France (Huntsville, 1984), p. 16.
(13) Ibid., p. 12. However, it was not only "spiritualist" biologists who wielded official politico-scientific clout. For example, the Societe d'anthropologie de Paris had a very important component of "spiritualist" members until the 1880s, among them Henri de Bainville, F. Brunet-Bey, Armand de Quatrefages, and Pierre-Marie Flourens.
(14) One of the conceptual problems -- for both transformism and fixity -- was how to explain the introduction of new species. With respect to the doctrine of fixity, the continuing progress of geology and natural history (discoveries of extinct as well as new species) necessitated an increase in the number of stages that the earth had gone through (a stage would be the divine creation of living creatures followed by a catastrophic end). As Bourdier states: "With the blurting of palaeontological breaks between the stages and the idea of increasing complexity among species, the geologists who had believed in the fixity of species slowly and inadvertently moved closer to evolutionary ideas. One would not suspect after reading Marcel de Serres's palaeontological work, Du perfectionnement graduel des etres organises (1851-52), that the author believed in the fixity of species." See Bourdier, "Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire Versus Cuvier," p. 60.
(15) Ibid., p. 61.
(16) Unlike Lamarckism, the central theme of Darwinism is natural selection, with the associated connotations of chance and materialism; with Lamarckism, the physical environment acting upon the adult individual is the only cause of variation. French perception of Darwinism equated the process more or less with transformism, thus giving nationalistic pride of place to Lamarck for his "discovery." For the French reception of Darwinism see Robert E. Stebbins, "French Reactions to Darwin, 1859-1882" (diss. Univ. Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1965); Y. Conry, L'Introduction du darwinisme en France au 19e siecle (Paris, 1974); Stebbins, "France" in T. Glick (ed.), The Comparative Reception of Darwinism (Chicago, 1988); L. Clark, Social Darwinism in France.
(17) Besides adding "clarifying" footnotes to Darwin's text, Royer's forty-five page preface of antireligious polemics contrasted the mystical beliefs of Christianity, which she termed a "sickness of exhaustion and apathy," to her faith in the "rational revelation" of scientific progress, of which Darwin's On the Origin of Species was a prime example. Royer proclaimed Darwin's theory to be "completely and irremediably heretical." See Clark, Social Darwinism in France, pp. 12-16.
(18) See, for example, A. Puech, L'Homme, ses origines, d'apres le systeme de Darwin (Nimes, 1873); Anon., L'Origine de l'homme d'apres Ernest Haeckel (Paris, 1874); G. Gueroult, "Le Darwinisme: ce qu'il y a de vrai et de faux dans Cette theorie," La Nature (9 June 1877), 27-31; Dr. C. James, Du Darwinisme ou l'Homme-Singe (Paris, 1877); A. Gaudry, "Le Role de Darwin considere au point de vue de la paleontologie," La Nature (5 August 1882), 150-52; Armand de Quatrefages, Les Emules de Darwin (Paris, 1894); Abbe T. Moreux, Qui sommes-nous? L'unite de l'espece humaine: L'Homme descend-il du singe? (Paris, 1910).
(19) The "Last Aztecs," Maximo and Barthola, were two mestizo children that John Stephens, an American explorer, had discovered in Central American and then proceeded to promote as the only survivors of this "lost race." See J.L. Stephens (trans. P. Velasquez), Memoire illustre d'une expedition remarquable dans l'Amerique Centrale ... et la possession de deux merveilleux Aztecs; Anon., Histoire des Aztecs (Paris, 1855). E.R.A. Serres gave his first report on the "Last Aztecs" to the Academie des sciences de Paris on 9 July 1855; they were also examined by doctors at the Academie de medecine de Paris and by P. Broca and T. Topinard at the Societe d'anthropologie de Paris in 1875.
(20) T. Gautier, "Revue dramatique: Hippodrome: Les Azteques, Le Crimee ...," Le Moniteur universel (16 July 1855), 781.
(21) C. Vogt, Memoires sur les microcephales ou hommes-singes (Geneva, 1867).
(22) See, for example, the colour poster by Jules Cheret advertising their 1874 exhibition at the Bal Frascati (Bibliotheque de l'Opera [hereafter BOP]: Af.Bals.III/1186); the affichette advertising the "Theatre des Attractions Benevol, installe au Boulingrin," with photos of the "Last Aztecs" in profile (ATPA: Fonds Soury, "Affichettes des spectacles forains," Beige folder labelled "Theatres foraines," 61.667); and, the portraits of Maximo and Bartola by M.E. Duhousset reproduced in Dr. E.-T. Hamy, "Microcephales americains," Bulletin de la Societe d'anthropologie de Paris (21 January 1875), 42-43.
(23) See, for example, S. Comte, Les Saltimbanques juges, ou Considerations sur l'influence pernicieuse exercee par les charlatans, saltimbanques et chanteurs ambulants sur les moeurs sociales (Grenoble, 1854), 49-50; B. Bouis, Bastringues et Caboulots de Paris (Paris, 1861), 78-83; APP, Series DB, Cartons 200 and 202: unidentified press clippings, 1870s-1920s; G. Escudier, Les Saltimbanques: leur vie, leurs moeurs (Paris, 1875), 27-37; E. Nusse and J. Perin, De l'emploi des enfants dans les professions ambulantes de saltimbanques, acrobates, etc. Commentaire de la loi des 7-20 decembre 1874 (Paris, 1878), 38; V. Fournel, Le vieux Paris: fetes, jeux, et spectacles (Tours, 1897), 361-66; Anon., "Le Jeune Sauvage de Saint-Ouen," Le Petit Journal: supplement illustre (27 November 1898), 377 and 383; A. Ruelle, A la fete de Neuilly: silhouettes foraines (Paris, 1908), 133-34; H. Thetard, Coulisses et Secrets du cirque (Paris, 1934), 5-7.
(24) J.M.G. Itard (trans. G. and M. Humphrey), The Wild Boy of Aveyron (Rapports et Memoires sur le sauvage de l'Aveyron, 1801 & 1806), (New York, 1967).
(25) Anon., "Le Sauvage d'Aveyron," (illustration), s.l., n.d., in the medical collection "Anthropologie: Phenomenes humains," vol. 2, R. 16619, Bibliotheque nationale (hereafter BN): Departement des estampes, Jf.80.
(26) "Le barnum annonce avec bruit l'exhibition d'hommes primitifs. `Ce ne sont pas de ces phenomenes vulgaires comme on en voit tant dans les foires. Les notres ont fait l'admiration de tout le monde savant. On les a promenes dans les laboratoires des grandes capitales; on les a mesures sur toutes les faces et photographies.' J'entre: en fait d'hommes primitifs ce ne sont que de malheuruex degeneres, des microcephales. Ils rappellent ces Azteques qui firent courir Paris il y a quelque 20 ans. Ceux viennent de Grece. Sans doute on peut penser a des singes en voyant ce regard stupide, cette physionomie perpetuellement mobile, qu'anime de temps en temps un rire bete ..." See F. Regnault, "Exhibitions foraines," La Nature (9 April 1898), 300.
(27) An 1878 request from Alfred Claessen to the Parisian Prefet de Police for permission to exhibit his femme-singe, and related material, including a poster, advertising flyer, background checks by the police. See Archives de la Prefecture de Police (hereafter APP), Series DA, Carton 127.
(28) Julia Pastrana, a woman of Mexican origin, had a face and body that was almost totally covered with jet-black hair; notable were her beard, moustache, thick head of hair, and prognathous jaw. See J.Z. Laurence, "A Short Account of the Bearded and Hairy Female," The Lancet (11 July 1857), 48; Saltarino (pseudonym of Hermann-Waldemar Otto), Fahrend Volk: Abnormitaeten, Kuriositaeten und interessante Vertreter der wandernden Kuenstlerwelt (Leipzig, 1895), 123-27; L. Dubreuil-Chambardel, Les Variations du corps humain (Paris, 1925), 234-36; J. Boullet, "Les Velus: hommes-chiens, femmes a barbe," AEsculape (May-June 1961), 28, 31-32; Time-Life Books, Les Mysteres du corps humain (Paris, 1977), 59-60; H. Scheugl, Show Freaks & Monster: Sammlung Felix Adanos (Koln, 1974), 35.
(29) H. Thetard, La Merveilleuse Histoire du cirque (Paris, 1947), 501.
(30) The English doctor Laurence's report on Julia Pastrana in The Lancet dates from 11 July 1857.
(31) Anon., "Courrier de Londres," L'Entr'acte (9 August 1857), 3.
(32) Since reports about human anomalies of scientific interest were usually presented to scientific/medical associations, such as the Societe d'anthropologie de Paris or the Academie de medecine de Paris, after members had gone to observe the particular "monstrosity," it is highly unlikely that Julia Pastrana was in Paris "officially." When Dr. E. Magitot (of the Societe d'anthropologie de Paris) wanted to verify some information about her, he had to travel to London to see her photographs and the molds of her teeth and jaw. See Magitot, "Les Hommes velus," Gazette medicale de Paris (15 November 1873), 613.
(33) Although most of the documents relating to the policing of phenomenes have been lost or destroyed, French authorities' concern about materialism and other subversive metaphysical speculation about the nature of "man" is well illustrated in their policing of conjoined twins. For example, the conjoined twins Rita-Christina (two separate upper bodies, but united from the lower rib cage down, with one lower torso and one pair of legs) were brought to Paris by their parents in October 1829 with the express intent of exhibiting them. They were refused authorization, ostensibly because of French officials' concern for their health; the real fear, however, was that public exhibition would promote "unhealthy" discussion of materialism and other subversive metaphysical topics. See Anon., s.v., "Monstre," in F.-E. Guerin-Meneville (ed.), Dictionnaire pittoresque d'histoire naturelle et des phenomenes de la nature, V (Paris, 1837), 415-16. Most probably the same reason held for Chang and Eng, conjoined twins born in Siam, hence the term Siamese twins. They were refused permission to enter France during their first European tour, 1828-29, whereas in the more relaxed climate of the administration under Louis-Philippe they were granted permission on their second tour, 1834-35. It is crucial to note, however, that the difference in physical conformation of various types of conjoined twins -- two separate human entities in what was almost one single body, such as Rita-Christina, versus two separate human entities in two separate bodies which happened to be connected, like Chang and Eng (connected via a fleshy band on their abdomens) -- could be perceived as qualitatively different threats to public order and morals. That Parisian authorities were still concerned with issues of materialism and the exact nature of "man" in 1883 is illustrated by their refusal to allow the Tocci brothers -- five-year-old conjoined twins of the same type as Rita-Christina, that is, with two upper torsos (two chests and four arms) but with only one lower torso (two legs instead of four) -- to exhibit in Paris. See APP: Series DA, Carton 127, "Exhibition d'un enfant phenomene ": request from Battista Tocci, the twins' father, to exhibit them, and report from the police municipale.
(34) Victor Hugo, "Fable ou Histoire" (Septembre 1852), in Les Chatiments (Paris, 1985), p. 101. I want to thank Alain Corbin for pointing out this reference to me.
(35) Laurence, "A Short Account of the Bearded and Hairy Female," p. 48.
(36) For example, the following definition of "man" as found under the entry "Nature" in the Dictionnaire pittoresque d'histoire naturelle stated that: "All that Nature is composed of can be classed in the following four categories: 1) inorganic beings; 2) vegetables; 3) animals; 4) man. In our opinion, man is not the most perfect animal; he is not simply a mammal that has attained the highest degree of development of that class, he is not a perfected mammal; he is a being apart who must be distinguished from all others and whose essential nature requires that he not be assimilated [into the class of mammals]." See G. Grimauc de Caux, s.v. "Nature," in Dictionnaire pittoresque d'histoire naturelle et des phenomenes de la nature, V (1837), 601. This position, that "man" was in a class by himself -- le regne human -- was taken up by the "spiritualist" (or "eclectic") members of the Societe d'anthropologie de Paris during the 1860-70s and onwards.
(37) G. Escudier, Les Saltimbanques: leur vie, leurs moeurs (Paris, 1875), 14; APP, Series DA, Carton 128 and Series DB, Carton 202: police reports and unidentified press clippings from the 1870s; Bibliotheque de l'Arsenal (hereafter ARS): Fonds Rondel, Ro17.449: unidentified press clippings; P. Veron's novel Le Roman de la Femme a barbe (1st ed., Paris, 1863; 2nd ed. 1872).
(38) Jacques-Charles, Cents Ans de music-hall, de ses origines a nos jours, en Grand Bretagne, en France, et aux U.S.A. (Geneve, Paris, 1956), 98; ARS, Fonds Rondel, Ro17.586: Newspaper clippings on music-halls, Carton 3 (1923-24): J. d'Herbenoire, "Recherches sur le cafe-concert: Debuts de grandes vedettes au cafe-concert," Comoedia (4 October 1923), unidentified pages.
(39) "I: Entrez dans mon etablissement / Vous n'trouverez pas dans tout' la foire / Un phenomene plus surprenant / Que c'te barbe qui fait ma gloire. / Vous pouvez touchez, n'craignez rien / Ca n'vous rest'ra pas dans la main / Touchez, voyez qu' c'est pas des frimes / Et ga n'vous cout' qu'a dix centimes. Refrain: Entrez bonn's d'enfants et soldats / Tachez moyen d'fair' ployer m'bras / On f'raut plutot ployer un arbe. / C'est mol qu'je suis la femme a barbe / C'est moi qu'je suis la femme a barbe. II: Quand j'vins au monde on reconnut / Que j's'rais l'honneur de la famille / Jusqu'ici l'on n'avait pas vu / Une barbe au menton d'une fille. / Et m'gratifiant de c't'agrement / L'ciel m'a fait un fier boniment; / Avec ca je n'suis pas feignante / J'souleve des poids d'trois cent cinquante. Refrain: Entrez bonn's, etc. III: J'trouv' qu'au sujet de c't'ornement / Les homm's ont l'ame un peu trop fiere, / Je n'suis qu'un' femme et cependant / Mol j'en faux six d'mandez a Pierre? / Pierre l'Hercul' d'en face, un agneau, / Qu'est jaloux d'moi comme un taureau, / Aussitot qu'un civil me lorgne / Ah nom d'un chien comm'y vous cogne. Refrain: Entrez bonn's, etc. IV: Les sergents de la garnison / Me font parfois la galant'rie / D'm'offrir un canon sans facon / Mais j'vas pas avec l'infant'rie. / On a d'la barb' mais d'la pudeur / J'suis un' femme et pas un sapeur, / J'plains celui qu'aurait l'impudence / D'pas respecter ma corpulence. Refrain: Entrez bonn's d'enfants et soldats / Les homm's greles ne paieront pas / C'est pas d'la chair ca c'est du marbre. / C'est moi qu'je suis la femme a barbe (bis)." See "`La Femme a barbe,' parade chantee par Mlle Theresa aux Concerts de l'Alcazar, paroles de Elie Frebault, musique de Paul Blaquiere," in L.P. Fargue, Dans les rues de Paris au temps des fiacres (Paris, 1950), 138.
(40) "F. Caradec and J. Nohain, La Vie exemplaire de la femme a barbe: Clementine Delait, 1865-1939 (Paris, 1969), 49-67; M. A. Maffeis, La Femme a barbe: une femme de chez nous, ou Histoire de Clementine Clattaux, epouse Delait (Thaon les Vosges, 1986), 59-60; A. Monnier, "Les Parades et les boniments des saltimbanques," Le Journal pour rire (19 November 1853), 6-7.
(41) Anon., "La Vie et la mort des cheveux," Lectures pour tous (May 1903), 724-25.
(42) ATPA: Fonds Soury,"Anomalies humaines," item 19 (collection of photographs and postcards), p. 119-20, 130.
(43) Although visually the figure of the femme a barbe was suggestive of hermaphroditic mixing, the sex of the femme a barbe was assumed to be either entirely female or entirely male, never anything in between, in other words, hermaphrodites. Real femmes a barbes were women, faked femmes a barbes were men, as humorous accounts of their disclosure indicate.
(44) There is perhaps a nationalist dimension at work here which contributed to the popularity of femmes a barbe after 1872 (the French had lost the Franco-Prussian War in 1871). Guy de Maupassant has an interesting short story centred on the sexual/gender symbolism of male facial hair, but which also uses differences in national styles of male facial hair, specifically, Prussian versus French, to good effect. See Maupassant, "La Moustache" in Boule de suif & Mademoiselle Fifi (Paris, 1993), 65-69.
(45) In this respect, it is interesting to note that Mme Delait, the femme a barbe who can be considered the French epitome, took meticulous care of her beard and moustache. Furthermore, when she made the decision to stop shaving, she displayed the result -- her thick full beard and graceful moustache -- with pride, an attitude that some other femmes a barbe also had. For example, Suzanne Proudhon, widow of the distinguished but also misogynist economist/socialist, and her sister Berthe Fremont refused to exploit their beards, yet never shaved: "Monsieur le cure nous a dit que le Bon Dieu nous avait donne une barbe et qu'il fallait la garder sans chercher a en tirer profit." See Romi, "Preface: Les Oublies de dieu," Le Crapouillot: Les Nouveaux Monstres, no. 103 (19887), 54.
(46) Caradec and Nohain, La Vie exemplaire de la femme a barbe.
(47) ARS, Fonds Rondel, Fo1.Ro17.298: two affichettes for the 1899 Fete de Montmartre. By some medical accounts Rham-a-Sama, whose bodily covering of hair was especially thick on his back, was a degenerate idiot who needing constant supervision. See Le Double, "Les Hommes-chiens," La France medicale 48 (1901), 446. By other accounts Rham-a-Sama was a fairly intelligent man, married with three children, and originally a Liverpudlian carpenter! See Scheugl, Show Freaks & Monsters, p. 35. Rham-a-Sama was popular enough that imitators took the same name for he was recorded as exhibiting in 1903 even though Le Double indicated his death occurred in 1900. See Anon., "La Vie et la Mort des cheveux," Lectures pour tous (May 1903), 730-31.
(48) Martin, in his history of scientific, religious, juridical, and socio-cultural perceptions of "monsters" from antiquity to the 1870s, stated that although there was some uncertainty as to the civil status and rights of"monsters," "[m]ost of the recent jurists refused monsters civil rights, especially that of inheritance." Martin went on to say that these jurists were wrong not to have accepted the two Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire's teratological findings on "monsters" and expressed horror at Rauter's statement in the 1836 Traite du droit criminel francais, "homicide cannot be perpetrated either on a monster or on a corpse." Commenting on this, Martin stated: "He [Rauter] then adds that monstrosity is determined after the regulations of civil law, that, for example, the human head is the characteristic sign of man. Thus, for Rauter, the moral personality of a monster is as absent as that from a cadaver!" See E. Martin, Histoire des monstres depuis l'antiquite jusqu a nos jours (Paris, 1880), 177-78.
(49) A. Debay, Histoire des metamorphoses humaines, des montruosites, et de tous phenomenes curieux et bizarre qu'offre la vie de l'homme depuis la naissance jusqu'a la mort (Paris, 1846), 112-14.
(50) Mme C. Royer, "Sur un homme velu ne en Russie, et sur son fils, age de trois ans et demi," Bulletin de la Societe d'anthropologie de Paris (2 October 1873), 718-25; Anon., "Nouvelles," L'Entr'acte (9 October 1873), 3; E.-R. Perrin, "L'Homme-Chien," Bulletin de la Societe d'anthropologie de Paris (16 October 1873), 741-50; J. de Precy, "L'Homme-Chien," La Liberte (18 October 1873), 2; Anon., [L'Homme-Chien et son fils], Le Journal des debats (18 October 1873), 3; Anon., "L'Homme chien et son fils," Le Journal illustre (26 Oct.-2 Nov. 1873), 34-44; Gerome, "Courrier de lundi," L'Entr'acte (27 October 1873), 2; A.D., "Bulletin des societes savantes: Societe d'anthropologie de Pads.-Juillet et octobre 1873 ," La Revue scientifique de la France et de l'etranger (15 November 1873), 477-78; Magitot, "Les Hommes velus"; J. Bertillon, "Des deux individus exhibes sous le nom d'hommes-chiens," La Nature (22 November 1873), 385-87; Touchatout, "Jettichjew, Adrian-Medor, homme-chien russe," Le Trombinoscope (December 1873), 1-4; BOP: Dossier Cirque/Monstres: unidentified press clippings; BOP: Af.CirqueX: black and white poster, dated 1873, of L'Homme-chien and his son; Le Double, "Les Hommes-chiens," La France medicale, no. 48 (1901), 445; Ch. de B., "Le Mystere de nos origines: du singe ou du chien," L'Intermediaire forain (1 September 1934), 2; J. Boullet, "Les Velus: hommes-chiens, femmes a barbe," AEsculape (May- June 1961), 16-17, 23-26; M. Mitchell and S. Thomley, Monsters of the Gilded Age: Photographs by Charles Eisenmann (Agincourt, Ont., 1979), 94-95.
(51) See also, Martin, ibid., p. 305-6; J.-L. Fischer, Monstres: histoires du corps et de ses defauts (Paris, 1991), 18.
(52) Archives Nationales (hereafter AN), Series F 18: Censure dramatique, Carton 1044: L'Homme est un singe perfectionne (Folies-Bergere, April 1875).
(53) P. T. Barnum, the American entrepreneur responsible for introducing the midget Tom Thumb (aka Charles Stratton) to Europe, as well as creating a number of other "curiosities" such as Joyce Heath (billed as Washington's aged nursemaid, 161 years old) and the Fiji Mermaid, was also responsible for "creating.... Zip, the What-Is-It?, A Man or a Monkey." See N. Harris, Humbug: The Art of P. T. Barnum (Boston, 1973). Zip was actually a microcephalic black man, of low intelligence and simian-like mannerisms and appearance. W.C. Crum, writing about "Zip," stated that: "Perhaps no one feature of the Old Broadway Museum, while it was in successful operation, created more sensation or talk at the time, than that peculiarly strange nondescript, demi humano simiade specimen, called `What is it,' which was sent to the manager [i.e., Barnum] from the interior of Africa, where it was found roaming at large, in a perfectly natural state, like a monkey or orang-outang. While its face, hands and arms were distinctly human, its head, feet and legs possessed all the characteristics of the ape species, which leads to the supposition that it has descended from a mixed ancestry." See Crum, Illustrated History of Animals and the Leading Curiosities Contained in P.T. Barnum's Museum, Menagerie and Colosseum of Natural History and Art (New York, 1873), p. 68.
(54) As the authors deliberately used this quite precise scientific term one can only conclude that the level of general discussion and/or knowledge with regards to transformism was fairly informed in a "popular" science kind of way.
(55) "Plumeau: Le Gorille, expres pour qui nous avons fait le voyage de Paris a Perpignan ... Afin de l'acquerir, de l'apprivoiser, de lui faire tomber les poils du visage et du corps, grace h l'eau que j'ai inventee ... de le transformer enfin en un veritable etre humain ... et de prouver ainsi a tous que j'ai raison quand je pretends que l'homme n'est qu'un singe perfectionne .... Ouistitine: Tu le crois donc revilement.... Plumeau: Foi de Filtre, oui je le crois, et j'en suis fier ... Ouistitine: Moi pas, ca m'humilee, et je suis meme tres vexee que tu m'aies baptisee du nom de Ouistitine ... Piumeau: En t'y feras ma fille et tu partageras un jour ma tendresse pour les singes nos ancetres.... Je gagerais meme que tu consentiras a epouser le premier que je transformerai.... Ouistitine: Jamais de la vie." See AN, Series F18: Censure dramatique, Carton 1044: L'Homme est un singe perfectionne.
(56) Anon., "Nouvelles," L'Entr'acte (3 June 1886), 3.
(57) Ibid.; Fauvelle, "Un cas de pilosisme chez une femme Laotienne," Bulletin de la Societe d'anthropologie de Paris, series 3, IX (1886), 30-36. The one exception to this emphasis on her humanity that I have uncovered is a satirical cartoon that was published in Le Courrier franqais (Jules Roque, founder), a journal that was charged with lewdness and obscenity on numerous occasions. The cartoon itself depicts Krao, now a girl in her teens, nude (but of course covered with her hair), sitting sideways in the lap of a bearded man, her arms around his neck, while he is leering at her. The caption of the cartoon, which (obscenely?) satirizes a real photograph taken by English scientists, reads "La Femme-Singe Krao, en ce moment a Toulouse." See Le Courrier franqais, 24 October 1886, p. 7.
(58) AN, Series F18: Censure dramatique, Carton 1352a: Jacko (performed at the Eden-Theatre, July 1884).
(59) "Le Senechal: Dans ce pays de singe / Un singe, un singe, / Animal repoussant / T'en va partout jetant l'alarme / Se gaussant meme du gendarme / Entrant jusqu'au palais du Roi / Mettant tout le monde en emoi. / Tous: Entrant jusqu'au palais du Roi / Mettant tout le monde en emoi. / Le Senechal: Le Roi craint que ce singe / Ce singe, ce singe / Veritable chacal / a l'aspect radical / Renversant les plans du Ministre / de I'Etat par un bond sinistre / Culbutant le faible pivot / Brise I'assiette de l'impot. Tous: Culbutant le faible pivot / Brise l'assiette de I'impot. Le Senechal: Jurez que de ce singe / Ce singe, ce singe / Animal degoutant / Guenon, orang-outang. / Sagouin, makio ou mandarille / Ouistiti, sapajou, gorille / Depuis la tete jusqu'au dos / Vous me rapporterez la peau. / Tous: Depuis la tete jusqu'au dos / Nous vous rapporterons sa peau." Ibid.
(61) R. Hams, Murders and Madness: Medicine, Law, and Society in the Fin de Siecle (Oxford, 1989), p. 327.
(62) R.A. Nye, Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France (Oxford, 1993), especially Chaps. 4, 5, and 6.
(63) Anon., "Une famille velue en Birmanie," La Nature (23 January 1875), 121-23.
(64) The original photograph was taken by Browne and Sheppard and send to W.-B. Tegetmeier, editor of the English journal The Field, in London; the French journal La Nature supposedly bought the exclusive rights of reproduction for this photograph at a fantastic price. See Boullet, ibid., p. 16.
(65) By 1887, Mahphoon's father Shwe-Maon had long since passed away, and the only one of Maong-Phoset's children who was hirsute, a daughter Mah-Me had died in 1886 at age eighteen; the famille velue of Burma consisted of Mahphoon and Maong-Phoset.
(66) Guyot-Daubes, "Les Hommes velus," La Nature (18 June 1887), 41-42.
(67) TAll the hirsute anomalies mentioned thus far toured the major European cities; they were examined by medical professionals and ogled by spectators everywhere, with hypotheses of all kinds circulating about causes, origins, and evolutionary implications. Most probably the first "freak" that Darwin's theorizing gave rise to was in America where Barnum "created" the aforementioned "Zip, the What-Is-It?."
(68) Estimates vary from 4,000 to 20,000 regarding the number of Communards who lost their lives in the fighting. After the collapse of the Commune in May 1871, over 10,000 Communards were executed by the republican government.
(69) See, for example, G. Gullickson, Unruly Women of Paris: Images of the Commune (Ithaca, 1996), p. 4, 45-56, 69-73, 196-97.
(70) The almost inevitable counterpoint to these very fluid medical determinants of sex and sexuality was the shoring up of social constructions of gender, for example, the duel as the epitome of French bourgeois codes of masculinity, symbolic of "real" male sexuality both in and out of the bedroom. See Nye, Masculinity and Males Codes of Honor in Modern France. Although writing of ambiguous sex in Victorian Britain, Dreger also makes this point. The ambiguity of biological definitions of hermaphroditism necessitated a rigid social conceptualization of normative sex: a decision had to be made as to sex, either male or female, and then the selected gender role had to be rigidly adhered to via the appropriate dress, behaviour, attitudes, education, and environment. See A. Domurat Dreger, "Doubtful Sex: The Fate of the Hermaphrodite in Victorian Medicine," Victorian Studies (Spring 1995), 335-70.
(71) As with Krao, there was minimal press coverage and publicity of the famille velue de Birmane in Paris. The references I have uncovered indicate that they were exhibited in the gardens of the Folies-Bergere, and that viewing them was free! Perhaps this was one way of avoiding the requisite police permission. Like Krao, their humanity was stressed. For example, "Interim" referred to the "famille birmane" as the "last survivors of a lost race." See "Courrier des theatres," L'Echo de Paris (22 January 1887), 4. Moreover, they were consistently referred to as "la famille birmane." See also Anon., "Une famille velue de Birmanie"; Anon., "Spectacles du 20 janvier," Gil Blas (21 January 1887), 4; Anon., "Courrier des theatres," Gil Blas (19 February 1887), 4; Guyot-Daubes, "Les Hommes velus".
(72) Guyot-Daubes, "Les Hommes velus," p. 41-42.
(73) A. Weill, 100 Years of Posters of the Folies-Bergere and Other Music Halls (New York, 1977), 6 and 21; A. Weill et al., eds., Le Cirque francaise (Paris, Musee de l'affiche, 1980, 1981) no. 80.
(74) Boullet, "Les Velus," p. 21. I have still not been able to verify if this photograph was actually take by Nadar, however, posters depicting "L'Homme lion" in this pose circulated in France. See Z. Gourarier, ed., Il etait une fois la fete foraine de 1850 a 1950 [Exposition Paris et grande halle de la Villette, 18 sept. 1995 - 14 janv. 1996] (Paris, 1995), 63.
(75) Le Double, "Les Hommes-chiens," La France medicale 48 (1901), 445-46.
(76) Kete makes an analogous argument (biological metaphors for social, i.e., class and gender, fears) with respect to bourgeois pet-keeping in nineteenth-century Paris and the fear of rabies. Although perceived as class-bound, that is, working-class dogs were carriers of rabies, the bourgeois fear of rabies, and all it implied -- rabid symptoms, such as "erotic fever," hydrophobia, foaming at the mouth, mirrored those of nymphomania and satyriasis -- inordinately centred upon the family pet. As Kete writes: "Atavistic sexuality and dirt, disorderliness and violence, nature and the working class -- all were self-consciously latent in the bourgeois pet: rabies revealed didactically the beastly nature of the domesticated beast. `Under the influence of his illness,' even the nicest of pets `is overwhelmed by irresistible urges to bite.'" See K. Kete, The Beast in the Boudoir: Petkeeping in Nineteenth-Century Paris (Berkeley, 1994), p. 112.
(77) Anon., "Une enfant velue," p. 384.
(78) "La Femme-Singe Krao ..." [cartoon], Le Courrier francais.
(79) Saltarino, Fahrend Volk: Abnormitaeten, Kuriositaeten und interessante Vertreter der wandernden Kuenstlerwelt (Leipzig, 1895), p. 127.
(80) Anon., "Documents et Informations," L'Illustration (13 February 1904), 110.
(81) C. Fere, Note sur un cas de bestialite chez la femme (Evreux, 1903), 1. Fere cites other authors, notably: Delastre & Linas, "Sodomie bestiale," Societe de medecine legale III (1873-74), 165; Mantegazza, L'Amour dans l'humanite (Paris, 1886), p. 124; Brouardel, "Pederastie d'un chien a l'homme," Semaine medicale VII (1887), 318; Boeteau, "Un cas de bestialite," La France medicale XXXVIII (1891), 593; Boissier & Lachaud, "Perversion sexuelle a forme obsedante," Archives de Neurologie XXVI (1893), 383; L. Thoinot, Attentats aux moeurs et perversions du sens genital (Paris, 1898), 268.
(82) Fere, Un cas de bestialite, p. 1.
(84) Ibid., p. 2-6.
(85) For example, an affichette for P. Lauret's "Grand Musee moderne et contemporain" signaled the exhibition of a gorilla kidnapping a young girl (probably a wax model), and an affichette for Mme Dejean's "Exposition Artistique, Historique et Mecanique" illustrated its major attraction, "L'enlevement de Blanche Kahn, volee a Mulhouse le 3 decembre 1891," with a depiction of a gorilla striding along, a half-clothed woman held captive under his hairy arm. See ATPA, Fonds Soury: "Affichettes divers" (green and black marble binder), items 61.876 and 61.901, respectively.
(86) Deliberations of the proposed 1912 law focused on the "criminal" aspects of the "nomads" (gypsies) who circulated throughout France and the rest of Europe, without domicile, fixed residence, or metier, resorting to theft and
petty crime. A distinction was thus made between the three groups that were the focus of this law: 1) the commercants ambulants, who had a fixed address in France, but also travelled to sell their wares; 2) the commercants and industriels forains, who had no fixed address, but had a profession; and 3) the nomads, actually a code word for gypsies, who were regarded as a "criminal" element. See APP: series DB, carton 200: Anon., Rapport sommaire fait au nom de la 40 Commission d'initiative parlementaire chargee d'examiner la proposition de loi de M. Etienne Flandin, relative a la revision des lois penales concernant la mendicite, le vagabondage et le vagabondage special, a l'organisation de l'assistance par le travail et a la surveillance des nomades exercant des professions ambulantes, M. E. Flandin, senateur. No. 305, Senat, annee 1910, session ordinaire: annexe au proces-verbal de la stance du 9 juin 1910; Anon., Rapport fait au nom de la commission relative a la repression du vagabondage et de la mendicte chargee d'examiner le projet de loi, adopte par la Chambre des Deputes, adopte avec modifications par le Senat, sur l'exercice des professions ambulantes et la reglementation de la circulation des nomades, [urgence declaree] par M.M. Reville, depute. No. 1964, C. des Deputes, 10e legislature, session de 1912: Annexe au proces-verbal de la 2e stance du 7 juin 1912; Anon., "Professions ambulantes et circulation des nomades," Bulletin de l'Association amicale de prevoyance des commissaires municipaux commissaires et inspecteurs speciaux et mobiles de France et de Tunisie (March 1914).
(87) Therre and Bounoure, L'Anencephale a type "simiesque" de la Maternite de l'Hopital civil de Vichy (Macon, 1943), 7-8. Scientific interest in human-simian hybridity was quite intense in the early decades of the twentieth century. For example, the Dutch scientist Bernelot-Moens set out for the Congo in 1908 from Paris (he was persona non grata in his native country) in search of a "missing-link"; he even considered the possible "creation" of a human-simian hybrid. See "L'Ancetre de l'Homme," Le Matin (9 May 1908), 4; "Allons-nous enfin connaitre le secret des origines de l'Homme?" Le Matin (23 May 1908), 1. He ended up exhibiting a femme-gorilla (a woman from whose back long hair was growing) in an amusement park -- Luna Park -- in Paris. The prospectus for Bernelot-Moens's exhibit in 1929 announced: "De l'inedit et du scientifique! Venez voir la femme-gorille, le premier cas de cette espece qui soit connu. Le professeur Bernelot-Moens vous prouvera la verite des theories de Darwin sur le transformisme des especes!" See Romi, "Preface: Les Oublies de Dieu," 15.
(88) Ibid., p. 8.
(90) Ibid., p. 9.
(91) Ibid., p. 13.
(92) L.R., "Le Chimpanze Consul,'" La Nature, no. 1592 (28 November 1903), 415-16; Anon., "Le Singe, caricature de l'homme," Lectures pour tous VII, no. 3 (December 1904), 241-46; L. Lewis, "Les Animaux curieux," Le Magasin Pittoresque, ser. III, vol. 9 (1 December 1908): 548-50; Anon., "Des Singes qui vont dans le monde (Consul, Master Link)," Lectures pour tous XI, no. 6 (March 1909): 543-48; E. Beaudu, P. Bost, R. Baye, and Y. Brayer, Histoire du music-hall (Paris, 1954), p. 82.3
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|Date:||Apr 1, 1999|
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