Western Social Dance in Literature, 1400-1918. From Chaucer to Fitzgerald, writers have used dancing as a vital, if subtle, element in plot and character development. The ballroom, an important element of society in real life, was a backdrop to grand passions or pivotal encounters -- ideal ground for commentary on the social milieu. This work presents 88 literary selections that together form a survey of social dance in England and America over a span of 500 years. Seven sections (historical time periods) provide an editorial introduction with descriptions of relevant dances, and then eight to twenty or so illuminating passages from etiquette manuals, diaries, poems, plays, essays or novels. The selections illustrate specific dances, social dance behavior or the intimate reactions of participants. Full indexing aids those readers interested in specific authors or works.
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