By Gillian Bennett
Simply because they're so frequently informed as information, modern legends strength us to reevaluate lifestyles as we all know it. They confront us with macabre, extraordinary, terrible, or hilarious characters and occasions that appear to come back directly out of myths and folktales, yet are awarded as state-of-the-art occasions. the trouble is that it's not in any respect effortless to choose even if those frequently tense tales may be handled as trustworthy or pushed aside as delusion. The legends explored during this e-book are essentially the most strange, grotesque, and politically delicate tales within the modern legend canon. At any second a physique will be invaded through noxious creatures, intentionally contaminated with lethal affliction, or raided to supply donor organs for ailing foreigners. those are "winter's tales," the stuff of nightmares. during this ebook Gillian Bennett lines the cultural heritage of six legends, recognized in Europe and the US from medieval occasions to the current day. showing in broadsides, ballads, myths, historical and glossy legends, novels, performs, motion pictures, tv exhibits, and tales advised within the oral culture, those legends should not simply foolish stories which are brushed aside as trivial and unfaithful. They display a lot concerning the matters and fears of lifestyle and display the boundaries of data and gear within the glossy global. Gillian Bennett is the writer of "Alas, terrible Ghost!": Traditions of trust in tale and Discourse and Traditions of trust: ladies and the Supernatural and coauthor of the normal legend bibliography and reader. She lives in Stockport, uk.
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Additional resources for Bodies: Sex, Violence, Disease, and Death in Contemporary Legend
This suggests that they were intended to be medical discourses and that the victims/narrators may possibly therefore be talking about genuine medical conditions though in unconventional/unfamiliar language (unconventional and unfamiliar to us, of course; the language makes good sense to those who use it). So let us look at what they have to say about the course of disease—the way the creature got in, the patients’ symptoms, and the way they were cured. Many versions of the legend are circumspect about how the animal got into the body, but the general consensus in the others would seem to be what it was in earlier times—that reptiles and amphibians and similar creatures can run down the throat of persons sleeping out of doors or can be accidentally swallowed either as adults or as eggs.
In some cases, the story tells how the patient’s family or doctor did not believe that there was a creature living in his/her stomach, but when he/she consulted an irregular practitioner or used the traditional remedy, the creature was found and the patient was cured. A good story from this particular angle is the case of a young man in Wales who fell ill of a mysterious complaint (“Animals in People’s Insides,” Notes and Queries 9, no. 8: 391). When the regular doctors confess themselves unable to do anything for him, he consults a quack, who advises him to poison the creature by taking up smoking.
The fourteenth day of August last, the old adder by Vomit came, Quite through her throat, and out was cast, the standers by admir’d the same. This hideous sight put them to flight, They judg’d her fourteen inches long: Her body thick, and colours bright, With seeming legs exceeding strong. She hist, and back strove to return, into her mouth with eager speed, Being withstood, away she run, for they had destroyed all her breed. . . . . . . . . . . . Thus have you had this Story true, which hundreds [there do] testify: God knows what to us may ensue, For who knows when that we shal die?