She [Carmen] should be gagged, a stop put to the unrestrained twisting of her hips; she should be straitjacketed and cooled off with a pitcher of water over her head. The pathological condition of this unfortunate woman, devoted without cessation to the burning of the flesh . . . is more likely to inspire the solicitude of medical men than to interest the decent audience who come to the Opéra-Comique with their wives and children.

—from a review of Georges Bizet’s Carmen, 1875.

ONE EARLY EVENING IN the 1960s I came upon a fleet of police cars some doors from my home. Cops carrying a stretcher rushed out of a doorway. A bloodsoaked sheet partially draped the body of a young girl I had spoken to several times that spring. She looked as if she was sleeping. (She really did.) Then more cops rushed out with a second stretcher. A bloody sheet covered the face of this one. One young cop kept crying

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