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The True History of the Elephant Man - Michael Howell; Peter Ford;

Allison & Busby, 1980, Hardback in Dustwrapper..
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Gently bruised at the head of the spine and top corners with commensurate ruffling to the dust wrapper. Leans. Text complete, clean and tight.

Reprint. [First: Same Year] Illustrated with black and white photographs. From the cover: “Joseph Merrick was a nineteenth-century cripple who became the most famous "professional freak" in history. His touching story has captivated successive generations. A play based on his life has recently won "Best Play of the Year" awards on Broadway, and a major film about him appears in 1980. Merrick’s disfiguring disease was a progressive one and it was not until after a fairly normal early childhood that his plight became such that he was only employable as a freakshow exhibit. But his appearance eventually became too horrible for Victorian sensibilities, and he seemed doomed, perhaps to die more as an animal than as a man. Then a miracle happened. He was rescued by a surgeon, Sir Frederick Treves, who arranged for his good care and discovered that inside this grotesque body there was an intelligent human being, gentle and warm, with feelings, hopes, vanities. And his story turns from one of suffering and degraded isolation into a shining example of human courage and spirit. This book, by a doctor-and-writer team, is thoroughly researched, medically and historically, from public files and private attics. It traces Merrick’s life from his humble birth in Leicester, through his mother’s early death and his pathetic adolescent attempts at ordinary employment, to his search for refuge in the workhouse; from his escape into the freakshow circuits at the mercy of professional showmen, to his final sojourn at the London Hospital — where, as a result of letters in The Times and lectures about his strange disease, he became a celebrity visited by the famous and fashionable. The book paints a rich picture of the prejudices and brutalities of the period, and sets Merrick’s own experiences into the context of the fairground and music-hall exhibitions of his day. Yet this is more than just an intriguing and moving story. Poor Merrick’s life has implications for all people, for it is a study of the durability of the very essence of humanity, a story of human survival against almost inconceivable odds. How could a man suffer such deprivation of all the sources of human happiness — and yet remain within himself “upstanding and heroic”?”
Size: 8¾" x 5½"
Number of Pages: 190
ISBN: 0850313538

£6.50 (Now Sold)