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This book is an account of life and death in early modern France. It is an analysis of the crime stories which men and women told their judges in order to try to save themselves from the gallows. To receive a royal pardon for murder in 16th century France, a supplicant had to tell the king a story. Thousands of such stories are found in the French archives, providing evidence of the narrative skills and life conditions of peasants, artisans and the well-to-do. Many of the pardon tales are accounts of murder for sexual motives and thus reveal something of the sexual conventions of the time and the inequalities between men and women. The author examines the different ways in which men and women, and especially husbands and wives, told their murder stories and the differing ways in which their explanations and excuses were received. This work is a blend of history, literature and law and should be of interest to students of early modern European history, Renaissance literature, the history of criminal law and women's studies.
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"Natalie Zemon Davis's articles . . . have already earned her a reputation among those familiar with her work as one of the most brilliant and original historians active in American today. This collection of eight essays, her first book, reprints five of the most important of her published articles along with three entirely new ones. . . . Each of these eight essays bears the imprint of Davis's distinctive style, a style which is characterized above all by the exceptional range of perspectives which she brings to bear on whatever subject she discusses. . . . Historians will wish to savor this book. For virtually every one of these essays is the kind of model study which reminds us how revealing exciting history can ben when a love of reconstructing the details of past societies is wedded to the search for larger patterns of significance."
,The Journal of Modern History
"No historian of our time has a more immediate and vital sense of the past than Dr. Davis, and none has been more ingenious and persistent in putting the smalles piece of evidence to work in order to recover the sights, the sounds, and the sensations of a world what have lost. . . . The capacity to stimulate new thinking is the hallmark of the creative historian, and about Dr. Davis's creative capacity this lively collection of essays can leave no possible room for doubt."
,The Sixteenth Century Journal
"Here, then, is an invaluable introduction to the work of one of today's best and most creative historians of early modern Europe. . . . It is also a beautifully produced, carefully edited, and well illustrated book."
—E. William Monter
,Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance
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Book Description Polity Press, 1988. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110745605311