The Physiological Circus: On Knowing, Representing, and Training Horses in Motion in Nineteenth-Century France

The Physiological Circus: On Knowing, Representing, and Training Horses in Motion in Nineteenth-Century France

Andreas Mayer

Representations, Vol. 111, No. 1 (Summer 2010), pp. 88-120

Abstract: The late nineteenth-century debates about forms of dressage and the correct representa-tions of horses, using the circus as the major arena for testing and observation, provided a fertile groundfor the development of Etienne-Jules Marey’s physiology of locomotion. Marey claimed to revolutionizethe field of locomotion studies with mechanically produced representations, yet, as this essay shows, hismechanical reform of the study of bodies in motion was countered by the persistence of older forms of animalobservation and superseded by new anthropologies and psychologies of seeing.

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