marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

Murder Most Foul

Murder Most Foul: The Killer and the American Gothic Imagination by Karen Halttunen

A study of the change in literature from the Puritan execution sermons -- which treated it as extreme sin, but nevertheless the logical outgrowth of habitual sins that just about everyone has, and downplayed both the crime itself and the immediate motive -- to the Gothic treatment, which went far more into individual motives, the gory and morbid details of the crime, and the treatment of murderers as alien monsters.  Various themes, such as murder within familes.
Tags: history reviews: across eras, lit crit
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