14 February 2021

Carol Morley's The Madness of the Dance (2006)


Carol Morley's The Madness of the Dance is a history of mass hysteria from the Middle Ages through to today, and includes nuns miaowing and biting like cats; dancing mania in Germany; people dancing to cure themselves of tarantula bites; students in Louisiana with a twitching leg supposedly infected by the water; an outbreak of contagious laughter in Tanzania; fainting fits in Blackburn, Lancashire; in China, mania caused by people believing that their genitalia were disappearing; in Belgium, people experienced nausea on consuming a fizzy drink. This is told by Maxine Peake acting as a professor, but the message is that madness is contagious and can be experienced by perfectly, er, 'normal' people.

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