Hornpipes and Disordered Dancing in The Late Lancashire Witches: A Reel Crux?

Brett D. Hirsch


This note considers a potential crux on the word 'reel' in Thomas Heywood and Richard Brome's The Late Lancashire Witches (1634), as referring to the country dance of the same name as well as a whirling or rolling motion. Contemporary references to witches' dancing alongside the dancing of reels and hornpipes are discussed, and previous editorial treatment of the play is considered alongside that of Shakespeare.


The Late Lancashire Witches; dancing; dance; reel; hornpipe; crux; Heywood; Brome; witchcraft;

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12745/et.16.1.8

Brett D. Hirsch
The University of Western Australia