Reading series «Das andere Buch an der Uni»
- Margrit Schriber reads from «Die hässlichste Frau der Welt»
- Library of the University of St. Gallen, under the cupola
- Thursday, 18 March 2010, 7.30 p.m.
- Free entry. Reading in German.
About the book
In the mid-19th century, two young women are travelling through Europe. One of them stars in a freak show as the “Ape Woman”, while the other is a young dancer, whose beauty makes the star seem even more abnormal.
Charles Darwin called her “A remarkably fine woman with a thick beard”, and for many years, she stood at the centre of debates as to whether God had made a mistake in his creation: Julia Pastrana, promoted on sideshow posters as “the greatest attraction of all times” and “the ugliest woman in the world” by her impresario and later husband, Theodore Lent. The enterprising showman Lent hired the other woman from central Switzerland, after she had missed her boat to America from Southampton harbour. Under the name Rosie la Belle, her role is to perform an erotic dance before Julia appears on stage, enhancing the audience’s horror at the sight of the ape woman. Rosie loves vaudeville, but she also feels deep compassion for this misshapen creature and becomes her maidservant and confidante over the course of their tour through Europe. This is a novel about the fate of a misunderstood woman, about the light and dark sides of human curiosity, about ugliness and beauty, and about sensationalism and scientific fervour.
About the author
Margrit Schriber was born in Lucerne in 1939, the daughter of a miracle healer. She grew up in Brunnen and Küssnacht am Rigi. She spent time working as a bank employee, accountant, mannequin and photo model until she finally reached her childhood goal: to become an author. She lives in Zofingen, Switzerland and Dordogne, France.