This article comments on Yoram Carmeli's stimulating analysis of the narrative structure of Captain Sidney Howes's lion act performed in Gerry Cottle's British circus. I begin by discussing Carmeli's analysis of how the act functions socially and semiotically. According to him, this act plays on a formative underlying nature/culture structural opposition that is then subverted by circus culture only to be shown, in the end, to be part of the very bourgeois order it was supposed to challenge. I sketch out Carmeli's analysis of how the lions, Sidney Howes the trainer, and the circus itself serve as vehicles for a nostalgic spectacle of an exotic world that reformulates nature and culture into an even deeper message about the loss of originality as a discourse that conditions European modernity. My comments are meant to urge Carmeli to extend the work of nostalgia to the circus in ruins and the ever-present nightmare shadows of death, in the midst of dreamworld pleasure and titillation, which hovers over the circus. This means rethinking the role of representation and nostalgia which Carmeli finds underlying the lion act to see how the act, the artist Howes, and the circus may be understood alternatively as spectacle. My discussion ends with a suggestion about how the topic of death and ruins may open the possibility of another line of analysis, which tracks the twists and turns of circus spectacle as dreamworld and nightmare, now caught in the nervous system of postmodern capitalism, its tensions, oppositions, and contradictions.

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