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Bodies: Sex, Violence, Disease, and Death in Contemporary Legend Hardcover – September 12, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This examination of the most gruesome tales in contemporary urban legend

--- Offers a fascinating cultural study of contemporary legends and their roots in traditional folk tales

--- Taps the appeal of a fascinating aspect of current folklore studies—contemporary and urban legends of third world children kidnapped for organ theft, of frogs growing inside people, of dreaded diseases being deliberately transmitted

--- Offers the latest work from a well-known British folklorist prominent in the field

From the Author

I spent 8 years researching and writing BODIES, and loved almost every minute of it despite the gruesomeness of the legends whose history I traced. And these legends are gruesome! But however bizarre and macabre the events they recount, I have never dismissed them as just silly stories. I believe that each one is powerful in its own way and capable of influencing the way people conduct their social and political life or make their medical, sexual, and personal choices.

The central chapters are case histories of 6 typical legends. Though they are undoubtedly "contemporary," these legends have had as much relevance in other times and places as they have for us today. For example, the Blood Libel Legend can be traced to at least the 12th century (see Chapter 6); stories about animals living inside the human body can be found in medieval medical books (Chapter 1); and the legend I call "Killing the Prodigal Son" was being told on the streets of London and Paris in 1618 (Chapter 4). Throughout their lives, these stories have been told in a variety of media—by word of mouth, in newspapers, in novels, plays and poems—until the present day and are truly international.



Chapter 1 Animals Inside: Bosom Serpents and Alimentary Amphibians

Chapter 2 Poison and Honey

Chapter 3 AIDS Aggressors: Mirrors, Caskets and Needles

Chapter 4 Killing the Prodigal Son

Chapter 5 Dispossessed: The Body Snatchers

Chapter 6 Blood and Babies



Product Details

  • Hardcover: 313 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi; 1st Ed. edition (September 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578067898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578067893
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,383,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Michaela on November 21, 2014
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