Make the Night Hideous: Four English-Canadian Charivaris, 1881-1940
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Published: November 2010© 2010
272 Pages, 5.55 x 8.58 x 0.63 in, 17 halftones
The charivari is a loud, late-night surprise house-visiting custom from members of a community, usually to a newlywed couple, accompanied by a quête (a request for a treat or money in exchange for the noisy performance) and/or pranks. Up to the first decades of the twentieth century, charivaris were for the most part enacted to express disapproval of the relationship that was their focus, such as those between individuals of different ages, races, or religions. While later charivaris maintained the same rituals, their meaning changed to a welcoming of the marriage.
Make the Night Hideous explores this mysterious transformation using four detailed case studies from different time periods and locations across English Canada, as well as first-person accounts of more recent charivari participants. Pauline Greenhill's unique and fascinating work explores the malleability of a tradition, its continuing value, and its contestation in a variety of discourses.
List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgements
- "Murder Most Foul:" The Wetherill Charivari, Near Ottawa, 1881
- "A Man's Home is His Castle" Death at a Manitoba Charivari, 1909
- "What You Do in Daylight in Eyes of Public is No Harm:" Person, Place, and Defamation in Nova Scotia, 1917
- icturing Community: Les and Edna Babcock's Shivaree, Avonlea, Saskatchewan, 1940
- "Great Fun"/"A Nuisance:" Seeking Recent Shivaree Discourses
'Pauline Greenhill excels at using evidence culled from traditional activities to make trenchant observations about the role of culture in Canadians' lives. Make the Night Hideous provides insight into both the historical development of the charivari and the discourses that emerged in attempts to define and judge this practice. The extraordinary depth of Greenhill's research makes this book uniquely impressive and intriguing.' Patricia Sawin, Department of Anthropology and Program in Folklore, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
- Manitoba Day Award awarded by the Association for Manitoba Archives