The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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The Dance of Death

April 18th, 2012 · No Comments

I’m happy to note that one of my favorite literary hoaxes is online, which means that you can read it for free, instead of paying a lot of money for the rare original.  The Dance of Death (1877) is a remarkable polemic against the “filthy lust” of the waltz.  The author was “William Herman,” a pseudonym cloaking Thomas Harcourt and Ambrose Bierce.  The pseudonym was inspired by Harcourt’s prudish father-in-law, William Herman Rulofson, who encouraged the project.  The fact that Harcourt was not only mocking puritanism, but his wife’s father, makes it only tastier.  Bierce’s participation, of course, improved the quality of the prose.  Here it is.

(Posted by Doug Skinner.)

Tags: Hoaxes · Literature

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