Calm Before Storm

Stormy Weather Month

Jan 20

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Stormy Weather Month
La Tempête
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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"It was a dark and stormy night ..." ~ Washington Irving, "A History of New York" 1809

This oft-repeated and parodied phrase, first appearing in Washington Irving's story, got its "purple prose" status from English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton's use of it in his 1830 novel Paul Clifford which begins: "It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness." The annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest was formed in 1982. The contest, sponsored by the English Department at San Jose State University, recognizes the worst examples of "dark and stormy night" writing. It challenges entrants to compose "the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels." The "best" of the resulting entries have been published in a series of paperback books, starting with "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" in 1984 ... something to read on this dark and stormy night ;-)

Calm Before Storm

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The majority of dance descriptions referenced on this site have been taken from the


Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary or the

Scottish Country Dancing Database 


Snapshots of dance descriptions are provided as an overview only.  As updates may have occurred, please click the dance description to be forwarded to a printable dance description or one of the official reference sources.

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