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Death and a Maiden: Infanticide and the Tragical History of by William David Myers

By William David Myers

On the ceremonial dinner of St. Michael, September 1659, a thirteen-year-old peasant lady left her family’s rural domestic to paintings as a maid within the within sight urban of Braunschweig. simply years later, Grethe Schmidt came upon herself imprisoned and accused of murdering her bastard baby, even if the very fact of her being pregnant used to be inconclusive and no infant’s physique was once stumbled on to justify the critical measures used opposed to her. the story spiraled outward to set a protection legal professional and criminal theorist opposed to robust urban magistrates after which upward to a felony contest among that urban and its overlord, the Duchy of Brunswick, with the city’s independence and historic liberties placing within the balance.

Death and a Maiden tells a desirable tale that starts within the bedchamber of a home in Brunswick and ends on the court docket of Duke Augustus within the urban of Wolfenbüttel, with political intrigue alongside the way in which. After hundreds of thousands of pages of testimony and rancorous criminal trade, it truly is nonetheless now not transparent that any homicide happened.

Myers infuses the tale of Grethe’s arrest, torture, trial, and sentence for “suspected infanticide,” with a close account of the workings of the legal procedure in continental Europe, together with the character of interrogations, the method of torture, and the production of a “criminal” id over the years. He provides an in-depth exam of a legal process within which torture used to be either criminal and an incredible a part of felony investigations. This tale serves as an enthralling slice of ecu background in addition to a hugely informative examine the situation of terrible girls and the felony method in mid-17th century Germany. basic readers and students alike should be riveted by way of Grethe’s ordeal.

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