Medieval and Early Modern Murder: Legal, Literary and Historical Contexts [Paperback]

Larissa Tracy(Editor)

ISBN: 9781783275922 | Published by: Boydell Press | Year of Publication: 2021 | 500p, 1 black and white
Status: Not Yet Published - Available for pre-order

Medieval and Early Modern Murder


Murder - the perpetrators, victims, methods and motives - has been the subject of law, literature, chronicles and religion, often crossing genres and disciplines and employing multiple modes of expression and interpretation. As the chapters in this volume demonstrate, definitions of murder, manslaughter and justified or unjustified homicide depend largely on the legal terminology and the laws of the society. Much like modern nations, medieval societies treated murder and murderers differently based on their social standing, the social standing of the victim, their gender, their mental capacity for understanding their crime, and intent, motive and means.
The three parts of this volume explore different aspects of this crime in the Middle Ages. The first provides the legal template for reading cases of murder in a variety of sources. The second examines the public hermeneutics of murder, especially the ways in which medieval societies interpreted and contextualised their textual traditions: Icelandic sagas, Old French fabliaux, Arthuriana and accounts of assassination. Finally, the third part focuses on the effects of murder within the community: murder as a social ill, especially in killing kin.

LARISSA TRACY is Professor of Medieval Literature at Longwood University.

Contributors: Dianne Berg, G. Koolemans Beynen, Dwayne C. Coleman, Jeffrey Doolittle, Carmel Ferragud, Jay Paul Gates, Thomas Gobbitt, Emily J. Hutchison, Jolanta N. Komornicka, Anne Latowsky, Matthew Lubin, Andrew McKenzie-McHarg, Ben Parsons, Ilse Schweitzer VanDonkelaar, Hannah Skoda, Bridgette Slavin, Larissa Tracy, Patricia Turning, Lucas Wood

Table of Contents

Introduction: Murder Most Foul - Larissa Tracy
Secret Killing and Murder by Magic in the Law of Adoman - Bridgette Slavin
Discursive Murders: The St. Brice's Day Massacre, Beowulf and Mordor - Jay Paul Gates
Mourning Murderers in Medieval Jewish Law - Pinchas Roth
Treacherous Murder: Language and Meaning in French Murder Trials - Jolanta Komornicka
'Mordre wol out': Murder and Justice in Chaucer - Larissa Tracy
Bringing Murder to Light: Death, Publishing and Performance in Icelandic Sagas - Ilse Schweitzer VanDonkelaar
'I Think This Bacon is Wearing Shoes': Comedy and Murder in the Old French Fabliaux - Anne Latowsky
'Chevaliers ocirre': Manslaughter, Morality and Meaning in the Queste del Saint Graal - Lucas Wood
Murder, Manslaughter and Reputation: Killing in Malory's Le Morte Darthur - Dwayne Coleman
Poisoning as a Means of State Assassination in Early Modern Venice - Matthew Lubin
Defamation, a Murder More Foul?: The 'Second Murder' of Louis, Duke of Orleans (d.1407) Reconsidered - Emily Hutchison
'A general murther, an universal slaughter': Strategies of Anti-Jesuit Defamation in Reporting Assassination in the Early Modern Period - Andrew McKenzie-McHarg
Negotiating Murder in the Historiae of Gregory of Tours - Jeffrey Doolittle
Poisoning, Killing and Murder in the Edictus Rothari - Thomas Gobbitt
Murder, Foul and Fair, in Shota Rustaveli's The Man in the Panther Skin - G. Koolemans Beynen
A Multiple Poisoning in the City of Valencia: Sanxo Calbo's Crime (1442) - Carmel Ferragud
A Case of Mariticide in Late Medieval France - Patricia Turning
Monstrous Un-Making: Maternal Infanticide and Female Agency in Early Modern England - Dianne Berg
Imps of Hell: Young People, Murder and the Early English Press - Ben Parsons
Conclusion - Hannah Skoda
Select Bibliography

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