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Publisher Description

Rosemary Woodhouse sat on the floor of her apartment in 1966, frantically trying to make scrabble the anagrams from the title of the book All Of Them Witches. She then attempted the same thing with "Steven Marcato". She finally found the name of her neighbor in the arrangements, cluing her in to the grand diabolical experiment of her pregnancy. Maria Monk stood on hard convent ground in 1834, receiving orders from her Mother Superior to fetch coal from the cellar. Upon her journey through the cavernous basement, she came across a deep hole, perhaps fifteen feet in diameter. There was lime strewn all around it, cluing her in to the grand diabolical practice of murdering the offspring of priest-nun rape. Both characters stood as representatives of the American Protestant desire to protect themselves against perceived threats. Maria Monk's Awful Disclosures of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery of Montreal, the revised edition published in 1836, sold over 300,000 copies by 1860, only outsold by Uncle Tom's Cabin. Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby, published in 1967, was also a bestseller--seventh on the fiction list for that year--and became a film that was a box office success. Though published 131 years apart, the books carried many similarities that contributed to their popularity. They both featured a heroine who entered a dark, mysterious, labyrinthine house (Monk the nunnery, Rosemary the Bramford apartment building), both heroines were subject to the horror of the "evil" taking place in each building (Monk the rape and torture of herself and the other nuns, as well as the murder of any baby born of those rapes; Rosemary the rape by the devil, brought about by the trickery of the building's residents trying to bring about the spawn of Satan). There were also notable differences. Rosemary was generally unaware of the evil goings-on around her, while Monk was all too aware. Rosemary grew, in the end, to begrudgingly accept her fate (at least, if nothing else, her role as mother), while Monk escaped the convent all together. Monk's tale was presented as fact, Rosemary's as fiction.

Professional & Technical
March 22
Departments of English Language and Literature and American Culture and Literature, Ege University

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