The Wonders: The Extraordinary Performers Who Transformed the Victorian Age

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$27.95  $25.99
Pegasus Books
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About the Author

Dr. John Woolf is a researcher, writer, and historian specializing in nineteenth­century cultural history. Having read history at the University of Cambridge, he went on to obtain a PhD on Victorian freak shows and currently works across TV, radio, and film. He has most recently cowritten the bestselling Audible book Stephen Fry's Victorian Secrets and has developed and featured in a number of BBC series and documentaries on freak performers and the Victorian period. In 2017, The Wonders was awarded the Biographers' Club Tony Lothian Prize for the best proposal for an uncommissioned first biography.


A promising young historian with a taste for the exotic.--Stephen Fry
Woolf writes about this paradox with transparency, always quick to identify sources and the biases or fictionalizations they might contain. Curious but dignified history.-- (10/11/2019)
Fascinating and though-provoking. A marvelously researched account of an extraordinary side of Victorian life which has been ignored for too long.--Jane Ridley, author of 'Bertie
A wonderfully rich, compassionate and pungent potpourri of the extraordinary, the unusual and the rare. Turns our notions of Victorian prudery, propriety and voyeurism upside down. Brilliantly researched and written with great verve.--Neil McKenna, author of 'Fanny and Stella' and 'The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde'
John Woolf's book will dazzle you with details of extraordinary lives, long underestimated by history.--Matthew Sweet, broadcaster and author of 'Inventing the Victorians'
The life stories of those paid to be gazed at and ridiculed have been deftly teased from the archives, providing a sympathetic account of these amazing individuals.--Sarah Wise, author of 'Inconvenient People'
Explores with subtlety and consideration the many facets of humanity's strangeness. An excellent book and an important study of the physically marginalized and neglected.--Clive Bloom, author of 'Victoria's Madmen'