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Contemporary Representations and Perceptions II


This is the second of two seminars in which we examine the primary sources for early modern crime and punishment. This week we will look at novels, ballads, opera, and images.

Seminar Questions

How are early modern crimes and punishments represented in novels, ballads, opera, and images?

What do novels, ballads, opera, and visual images reveal about contemporary perceptions of early modern crime and punishment?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of these sources for the historian of crime and punishment in early modern Europe?

Required Reading

Each student should choose and analyse an image of a crime or a punishment produced in Europe between c. 1500 and c. 1750 from the British Museum Collections Online.

Each student should also read EITHER Moll Flanders [Preface and 30 pages of your choice] OR Jonathan Wild [Choose three chapters] OR The Beggar's Opera AND one of the other items below:

Böker, Uwe, Ines Detmers and Anna-Christina Giovanopoulos, eds, John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, 1728-2004: Adaptations and Re-Writings (Amsterdam, 2006) [Choose one chapter]

Clark, Sandra, Women and Crime in the Street Literature of Early Modern England (Houndmills, 2003) [Choose one chapter]

Dean, Trevor, Crime and Justice in Late Medieval Italy (Cambridge, 2007), Chapter Three 'Fiction'.

Defoe, Daniel, The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (1722; London, 1921) [Other editions are available]

Fielding, Henry, The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great (1743; Boston, 1889) [Other editions are available]

Gaskill, Malcolm, Crime and Mentalities in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2000), Chapter Six.

Gay, John, The Beggar's Opera (1728; London, 1923) [Other editions are available]

Gladfelder, Hal, Criminality and Narrative in Eighteenth-century England (Baltimore, 2001) [Choose one chapter]

Gladfelder, Hal, 'Theatre of Blood: On the Criminal Trial as Tale of Terror', in David Lemmings and Allyson N. May, eds, Criminal Justice During the Long Eighteenth Century: Theatre, Representation and Emotion (Abingdon, 2018), pp. 153-76.

Rosenthal, Laura J., Infamous Commerce : Prostitution in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture (Ithaca, NY, 2015), Introduction

Salzberg, Rosa, and Massimo Rospocher, 'Murder Ballads' in Trevor Dean and K. J. P. Lowe, eds, Murder in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 2017), pp. 164-186

Tarlow, Sarah, and Emma Battell Lowman, Harnessing the Power of the Criminal Corpse (New York, 2018), Chapter Eight.

Wiltenburg, Joy, Crime and Culture in Early Modern Germany (Charlottesville, VA, 2012) [Choose one chapter]

Further Reading

Fielding, Henry, The Life of Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great, ed. Hugh Amory et al. (Oxford, 2008)

Gray, Drew D., Crime, Policing and Punishment in England, 1660-1914 (London, 2016), Chapter Two.

Martin, Randall, Women, Murder, and Equity in Early Modern England (Abingdon, 2008)

Symonds, Deborah A., Weep Not For Me: Women, Ballads and Infanticide in Early Modern Scotland (Pennslyvania, 1997)

Electronic Resources

A scene from John Gay, The Beggar's Opera, dir. Jonathan Miller (1983)

The British Museum Collection Online

Broadside Ballads Online

Early English Books Online

Eighteenth Century Collections Online

English Broadside Ballad Archive

Web Gallery of Art

The Word on the Street