THE BOOKS

 

Joseph

The story of Joseph Carey Merrick, more popularly known as the Elephant Man, passed into the realm of legend from the moment he was first exhibited at John Ellis's Bee Hive public house in Nottingham's Beck Street. Much of what has been written about his short life has been distorted and exaggerated, to the point where the most well-known depiction - the 1980 film starring John Hurt - left an indelible imprint of cruelty and suffering at the hands of Joseph's manager, and an eventual rescue by Dr. Frederick Treves of the London Hospital. The truth is rather different. Peeling back the layers of myth, Joanne Vigor-Mungovin has looked into the early life of Merrick and his family in her hometown of Leicester, and here presents, for the first time, detailed information about Joseph's family and his burning ambition to be self-sufficient rather than survive on the charity of others.

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