This book documents and discusses the meaning(s) of the creative process at play in the crafting and staging of circus acts. It highlights the experience of circus artists as their skills develop and mature into public performances that create aesthetic and emotional values in the modern economy of live spectacles. It scrutinizes the meaning that circus acts produce for the spectators and for the artists themselves who live this process from the inside. This is a book for those studying semiotics and wanting to see it applied to a real life milieu in accessible and passionate prose.
The Meaning of the Circus is grounded on the personal experience of Professor Paul Bouissac as both a circus entrepreneur and a researcher with decades of primary material on the significance of past and contemporary circus acts. It is based on substantial accounts provided by many men and women who have agreed to share the challenges, joys, and anxieties of their life as artists. Personal and rigorous, it contributes to the hermeneutics of the circus arts by adding existential depth to the production and reception of their performances.