Murder Most Foul: The Killer and the American Gothic Imagination

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9780674003842: Murder Most Foul: The Killer and the American Gothic Imagination

Confronting murder in the newspaper, on screen, and in sensational trials, we often feel the killer is fundamentally incomprehensible and morally alien. But this was not always the popular response to murder. In Murder Most Foul, Karen Halttunen explores the changing view of murder from early New England sermons read at the public execution of murderers, through the nineteenth century, when secular and sensational accounts replaced the sacred treatment of the crime, to today's true crime literature and tabloid reports.

The early narratives were shaped by a strong belief in original sin and spiritual redemption, by the idea that all murders were natural manifestations of the innate depravity of humankind. In a dramatic departure from that view, the Gothic imagination--with its central conventions of the fundamental horror and mystery of the crime--seized upon the murderer as a moral monster, separated from the normal majority by an impassable gulf. Halttunen shows how this perception helped shape the modern response to criminal transgression, mandating criminal incarceration, and informing a social-scientific model of criminal deviance.

The Gothic expression of horror and inhumanity is the predominant response to radical evil today; it has provided a set of conventions surrounding tales of murder that appear to be natural and instinctive, when in fact they are rooted in the nineteenth century. Halttunen's penetrating insight into her extraordinary treasure trove of creepy popular crime literature reveals how our stories have failed to make sense of the killer and how that failure has constrained our understanding and treatment of criminality today.

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From the Back Cover:

Karen Halttunen explores the changing view of murder from early New England sermons read at public executions, through the nineteenth century, when secular and sensational accounts replaced the religious treatment of the crime, to today's fascination with socio-psychological anatomies of murder. Halttunen's penetrating insight into her extraordinary treasure trove of popular crime literature reveals how our modern stories have failed to make sense of the killer and how that failure has constrained our understanding and treatment of criminality today.

About the Author:

Karen Halttunen is Professor of History at the University of California at Davis.

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Karen Halttunen
Editore: HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States (2000)
ISBN 10: 0674003845 ISBN 13: 9780674003842
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Descrizione libro HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Confronting murder in the newspaper, on screen, and in sensational trials, it is often felt that the killer is fundamentally incomprehensible and morally alien. But this was not always the most popular response to murder. In this text, Karen Halttunen explores the changing view of murder from early New England sermons read at the public execution of murderers, through the 19th century, when secular and sensational accounts replaced the sacred treatment of the crime, to the true crime literature and tabloid reporting of the late 1990s. The early narratives were shaped by a strong belief in original sin and spiritual redemption, by the idea that all murderers were natural manifestations of the innate depravity of humankind. In a dramatic departure from that view, the Gothic imagination - with its central conventions of the fundamental horror and mystery of the crime - seized upon the murderer as a moral monster, separated from the normal majority by an impassable gulf. Halttunen shows how this perception helped shape the modern response to criminal transgression, mandating criminal incarceration, and informing a social-scientific model of criminal deviance. Codice libro della libreria AAH9780674003842

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Descrizione libro HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Confronting murder in the newspaper, on screen, and in sensational trials, it is often felt that the killer is fundamentally incomprehensible and morally alien. But this was not always the most popular response to murder. In this text, Karen Halttunen explores the changing view of murder from early New England sermons read at the public execution of murderers, through the 19th century, when secular and sensational accounts replaced the sacred treatment of the crime, to the true crime literature and tabloid reporting of the late 1990s. The early narratives were shaped by a strong belief in original sin and spiritual redemption, by the idea that all murderers were natural manifestations of the innate depravity of humankind. In a dramatic departure from that view, the Gothic imagination - with its central conventions of the fundamental horror and mystery of the crime - seized upon the murderer as a moral monster, separated from the normal majority by an impassable gulf. Halttunen shows how this perception helped shape the modern response to criminal transgression, mandating criminal incarceration, and informing a social-scientific model of criminal deviance. Codice libro della libreria AAH9780674003842

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Descrizione libro Harvard University Press 2000-09-01, Cambridge, Mass. |London, 2000. paperback. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria 9780674003842

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Descrizione libro HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Confronting murder in the newspaper, on screen, and in sensational trials, it is often felt that the killer is fundamentally incomprehensible and morally alien. But this was not always the most popular response to murder. In this text, Karen Halttunen explores the changing view of murder from early New England sermons read at the public execution of murderers, through the 19th century, when secular and sensational accounts replaced the sacred treatment of the crime, to the true crime literature and tabloid reporting of the late 1990s. The early narratives were shaped by a strong belief in original sin and spiritual redemption, by the idea that all murderers were natural manifestations of the innate depravity of humankind. In a dramatic departure from that view, the Gothic imagination - with its central conventions of the fundamental horror and mystery of the crime - seized upon the murderer as a moral monster, separated from the normal majority by an impassable gulf. Halttunen shows how this perception helped shape the modern response to criminal transgression, mandating criminal incarceration, and informing a social-scientific model of criminal deviance. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780674003842

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