I just finished reading Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus in which the clowns fare rather badly. I’m not sure what Carter has against clowns but she pretty much killed them all off, including their dogs. I love Carter’s writing but the dark take on the clowns ruffled my feathers a bit. (So to speak – you might find that last line funny if you’ve read the book.) First, her clowns were more buffon than clown. They traveled in packs like buffon. They could be satirical. They had a real mean streak. They were grotesque.
Second, as a clown, I take a small amount of exception to the fact that a novice performer can be thrown in with the clowns and become expert immediately.
Third, what kinds of clowns never take off their make-up? Answer – magical realist ones of course. But – still.
Anyway – the sole surviving clown (who is, granted, not truly a clown) begins to speak a bit like this toward the end of the book.