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Death and a Maiden: Infanticide and the Tragical History of Grethe Schmidt (Paperback)
  • Death and a Maiden: Infanticide and the Tragical History of Grethe Schmidt (Paperback)
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Death and a Maiden: Infanticide and the Tragical History of Grethe Schmidt (Paperback)

(author)
£14.50
Paperback 283 Pages / Published: 16/10/2012
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On the feast of Saint Michael in September 1659, a thirteen-years-old peasant girl named Grethe Schmidt left her family's rural home to work as a maid in the nearby city of Braunschweig. Just two years later, Schmidt found herself imprisoned and accused of murdering her bastard child, even though the fact of her pregnancy was unproved and no infant's body was ever found. William David Myers infuses the story of Grethe's arrest, torture, trial, and sentencing for infanticide with a detailed account of the workings of the criminal justice system in continental Europe, including the nature of interrogations, the process of torture, and the creation of a "criminal" identity over time. Even after Myers' research through thousands of pages of testimony and rancorous legal exchange, it is still not clear that any murder happened. "Death and a Maiden" serves up a captivating slice of European history as well as a highly informative look at the condition of poor women and the legal system in mid-seventeenth century Germany.

Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
ISBN: 9780875806693
Number of pages: 283
Weight: 408 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"The story Myers has to tell is a fascinating one and he skillfully constructs a strong narrative as he unravels testimonies and follows step-by-step the investigation, the machinations of government, the protests of the maiden's family, and the role played by the lawyer who defended her. With the talent of a good mystery writer, Myers holds us in suspense as to the outcome of the case until the very end."--Mary Lindemann, University of Miami

"Myers draws upon remarkably complete archival sources complemented by print polemics published by the city and the defense attorney. The translations and paraphrases he includes are sensitive and accurate. Myers uses the documents well to present a coherent story. One of the strongest aspects of his treatment is the care that he takes to tease the larger implications and often invisible assumptions that guided the interrogations. For students these pages will be a wonderful introduction to the way in which historians use sources in reconstructing an always elusive past."--R. Emmet McLaughlin, Villanova


Myers deftly guides the reader through the methods used by investigators to collect information and the way that historians can ask questions and set contexts with these kinds of sources. For this reason, the book should find a strong readership among undergraduate and graduate students interested in early modern criminal history and scholars approaching complicated criminal cases for the first time.
"German Studies Review"
The story Myers has to tell is a fascinating one and he skillfully constructs a strong narrative as he unravels testimonies and follows step-by-step the investigation, the machinations of government, the protests of the maiden s family, and the role played by the lawyer who defended her. With the talent of a good mystery writer, Myers holds us in suspense as to the outcome of the case until the very end.
Mary Lindemann, University of Miami

"Myers draws upon remarkably complete archival sources complemented by print polemics published by the city and the defense attorney. The translations and paraphrases he includes are sensitive and accurate. Myers uses the documents well to present a coherent story. One of the strongest aspects of his treatment is the care that he takes to tease the larger implications and often invisible assumptions that guided the interrogations. For students these pages will be a wonderful introduction to the way in which historians use sources in reconstructing an always elusive past."
R. Emmet McLaughlin, Villanova"

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