Originally posted by Absence of Self
Sorry, should have said. I'm interested in original sources. (thats eye witness accounts since by my logic if a witness account can be quoted
sometime in the 80's it must exist somewhere else in a better form and thats the form i want)
I agree -- this is a very interesting topic. I remember references to it back in my grad school days, but don't remember what the primary sources
Wikipedia lists this article
as a source, which in turn should have the reference to the
primary source the author (Waller) used. So far I haven't found a way to access the article for free online though
the image of
Waller's 2009 book on the incident at Google Books. Endnotes start at page 234. I'll copy in the first part of the first note, since it seems to
answer our question:
This accounnt of Frau Troffea's dance is based largely on Paracelsus' description in his 1531 work, Opus Paramirum; only he provides a
name for the first person to succumb to the dance frenzy. See Theophrastus Paracelsus, Volumen Paramirum und Opus Paramirum (Jena: E.
Diederichs, 1904). A translation of this and other contemporary accounts can be found in Eugene Louis Backman, Religious Dances in the Christian
Church and in Popular Medicine, translated by E. Classen (London: Allen & Unwin, 1952), pp. 314-15. See also George Rosen, Madness in Society:
Chapters in the Historical Sociology of Mental Illness (London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1968), which contains a detailed discussion of the dancing
manias; the English language version of Justus Friedrich Carl Hecker, The Black Death and the Dancing Mania, translated by B.G. Babington
(London: Cassell, 1894); and the highly incisive analysis in H.C. Erik Midelfort, A History of Madness in Sixteenth-Century Germany (Stanford,
Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1999). ...
Here's a link
for the Paracelsus at Open Source Books.
editing again: Oh well, that seems to be just the introductory remarks to part of the Volumen Paramirum
and doesn't include the 1518 dancing
plague description. If I turn it up online, I'll edit again, but a trip to the library might be required
[edit on 3/4/2010 by americandingbat]