The Dancing Plague
On July 14, 1518 in Strasbourg, Frau Troffea started dancing until fatigue overcame her for the night. After sleeping briefly, she continued dancing until her feet were bloody. By the end of July, over one hundred people had been affected by the dancing plague and many were dying from it.
In The Dancing Plague: the strange true story of an extraordinary illness, John Waller uses contemporary witnesses and records from Strasbourg that document this unbelievable event. What scientific causes were there, if any? What internal struggles or environmental causes could there be to make people dance to their death? How did it come to be called St. Vitus Dance?
John Waller has created a very readable book about the times in which the dancing plague occurred. How the beliefs of the people may have helped or hindered those afflicted. And could this event be the basis for Hans Christian Anderson's tale The Red Shoes?
A great read for nonfiction book groups and those interested in learning more about living in the late medieval period.