Public Execution in England, 15731868, Part II

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-06-01
  • Publisher: Routledge

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The execution narrative was a popular genre in early modern England. New printing processes fed a public fascination with sensational eyewitness accounts of executions and transcriptions of felon's scaffold speeches. This eight-volume facsimile edition, the first of its kind, draws together a representative selection of texts to show the evolution of the genre from the late sixteenth century to the end of public execution in England nearly 300 years later. Primary source materials include pamphlets, broadsides, scaffold speeches and newspaper reports. The stories are, at turns, tragic, brutal, pathetic, touching, pious and irreverent. They provide invaluable insights into contemporary ideas of justice and the efficacy of capital punishment. They are tangible remnants of the fragile and complex relationship between a range of oppositional influences: the powerful and the governed, church and state, the market and morality, the moral collective and the individual offender. Usually cheap, sometimes crude, and always produced for sale (and, ideally, for profit), these works also represent a vital component of England's developing print culture and the range of uses to which print media were put in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. The edition includes extensive editorial material with a general introduction, section introductions, headnotes, endnotes and a consolidated index in the final volume. It will appeal to those studying Social and Cultural History, History of Print, History of Government and History of Crime.

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