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Make the Night Hideous

Make the Night Hideous: Four English-Canadian Charivaris, 1881-1940

Pauline Greenhill
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 272
  • Book Info
    Make the Night Hideous
    Book Description:

    Make the Night Hideousexplores mysterious transformation of the charivari 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.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8601-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-34)

    Throughout this research, I have had tremendous luck. I’ve been in the right place at the right time to get information that would not have been available otherwise. I’ve encountered individuals specially qualified to assist me. Friends and colleagues have offered brilliant insights. I hope the results adequately reflect how much I have enjoyed this work, and how much I appreciate the help I have received, not just all that I learned. I would, however, like to begin with a personal note about my own attitudes to charivari. (Charivari is the original and most correct spelling. I use it except...

  6. 2 ‘Murder Most Foul’: The Wetherill Charivari, Near Ottawa, 1881
    (pp. 35-82)

    By any standard, the charivari of Margaret and James Wetherill¹ was a bad one. Lasting more than four hours, and taking the form of a near-riot, it ended in a brutal homicide that was reported as far away as New York only a day after the event (‘An Aged Bridegroom Murdered,’New York Times, 12 August 1881).² Discussed in theToronto Globe– ‘MARRIED AND MURDERED / An Old Man at Ottawa Killed on His Wedding Night / ONE MORE ‘CHARIVARI’ VICTIM / Disgraceful Conduct of Roughs in a City Suburb / BEATEN TO DEATH WITH STICKS’ (12 August) – with opinions...

  7. 3 ‘A Man’s Home Is His Castle’: Death at a Manitoba Charivari, 1909
    (pp. 83-110)

    Though most of the information I drew on for the previous chapter came from various sources, including but not limited to interviews, court proceedings, and local gossip, it was filtered through a single discursive form – the newspaper. The newspaper’s stories about charivari related it to criminal or more benign behaviour, sought explanation for what they represented as fundamental human nature (extensively influenced by ideas of class), and interpreted the practice as evidence of an atavistic streak running through the fabric of modernity. To those notions I counterposed other possible contemporary understandings, especially about appropriate relations between individuals and collectivities. However,...

  8. 4 ‘What You Do in Daylight in Eyes of Public Is No Harm’: Person, Place, and Defamation in Nova Scotia, 1917
    (pp. 111-143)

    In the previous two examples, newspaper reporting of the event was extensive. In this Nova Scotia charivari case, it was minimal. As in the Manitoba instance particularly, surviving legal records offer great detail about exactly what happened between community members, but here, as I will discuss in detail, they also crucially offer a perspective on the formal regulation of gendered behaviour. The legal records are the primary source for these charivari data, since there seems to be no community memory of it.

    On 23 October 1917, Irene Varner drove from Springfield, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, to the nearby community of...

  9. 5 Picturing Community: Les and Edna Babcock’s Shivaree, Avonlea, Saskatchewan, 1940
    (pp. 144-172)

    The nature and outcomes of the charivaris I’ve discussed in the previous three chapters might suggest that most such treatments were intended badly, and that in the main they were poorly received and ended in violence, in court, or at best in negative feelings. As I’ve already suggested, however, a more likely explanation is that the predominance in the literature of charivaris with unhappy results is an artefact of historic written documentation in legal and newspaper records. The authorities and the press were unconcerned with run-of-the-mill charivaris, the vast majority of which were accepted with aplomb. Most recipients demonstrated the...

  10. 6 ‘Great Fun’ / ‘A Nuisance’: Seeking Recent Shivaree Discourses
    (pp. 173-194)

    When I first embarked upon a proposal to conduct research on charivaris¹ in English Canada, I never expected to find anything like the amount and variety of material I did, but at times the data seemed to be throwing themselves at me. One of the external reviewers of my application for funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, however, was even more sceptical than I about my chances for success in this endeavour. She or he was certain that my queries to local newspapers for information on current, recent, and remembered practices would be entirely fruitless....

  11. Notes
    (pp. 195-216)
  12. References
    (pp. 217-232)
  13. Index
    (pp. 233-238)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 239-241)