Swashbuckling tales of valiant gauchos roaming Argentina and Uruguay were nineteenth-century bestsellers. But when these stories jumped from the page to the circus stage and beyond, their cultural, economic, and political influence revolutionized popular culture and daily life.
In this engaging book, William Acree delivers a deep history of Latin American popular entertainment that culminates in a rich exploration of circus culture and dramas that celebrated the countryside. Among the most dominant urban and rural attractions on the eve of the twentieth century, these performances were central to how Argentines, Uruguayans, and immigrants came together across lines of social class, ethnic identity, and race as demographic and economic transformations reshaped everyday experience. Acree offers a revealing portrait of itinerant circus performers and the ways they rubbed shoulders with ranch hands, urban workers, and the upper classes to cheer their heroes and jeer their villains. Ultimately, “Staging Frontiers” tells the story of the surprising and enduring impact leisure and entertainment had on the increasingly expansive marketplace of culture.