The Dancing Plague



ISBN: 9781910593981 Category:

Gareth Brookes


The Dancing Plague tells a true story, from 1518, when hundreds of inhabitants of Strasbourg were suddenly seized by the strange and unstoppable compulsion to dance, from the imagined perspective of Mary, one of its witnesses. Prone to mystic visions as a child, betrayed in the convent to which she flees, then abused by her loutish husband, Mary endures her life as an oppressed and ultimately scapegoated woman with courage, strength, and inspiring beauty. As difficult to interpret now (as a psychological reaction to social injustice?) as it was then (as a collective demonic possession?), the story of the “Dancing Plague” finds suitably extraordinary expression in the utterly unique mixed-media style Gareth Brookes has devised to tell it. The pioneering blend of his trademark “pyrographic” technique with sumptuously colourful (and literal) embroidery perfectly reflects, in a beautiful work of art, the enduring fragility of our human condition – from “choreomania” to coronavirus.

Additional information

Weight 574 g
Dimensions 17.1 x 23.9 cm
Publisher name Self Made Hero
Publication date 22 July 2021
Number of pages 192
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 17.1 x 23.9 cm
Weight 574 g


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Gareth Brookes studied printmaking at the Royal College of Art. His graphic novels include A Thousand Coloured Castles (2017) and The Black Project, which was nominated in the Selection Officielle at the 2018 Festival de la Bande Dessinee in Angouleme. His work has appeared in ArtReview, been published by Kus, and was included in the "Comics Unmasked" exhibition at the British Library in 2014.