The Village of Cannibals: Rage and Murder in France, 1870 by Alain Corbin (Paperback, 1993)
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- DescriptionIn August 1870, during a fair in the isolated French village of Hautefaye, a gruesome murder was committed in broad daylight that aroused the indignation of the entire country. A young bleman, falsely accused of shouting republican slogans, was savagely tortured for hours by a mob of peasants who later burned him alive. Rumors of cannibalism stirred public fascination, and the details of the case were dramatically recounted in the popular press. While the crime was rife with political significance, the official inquiry focused on its brutality. Justice was swift: the mob's alleged ringleaders were guillotined at the scene of the crime the following winter. The Village of Cannibals is a fascinating inquiry by historian Alain Corbin into the social and political ingredients of an alchemy that transformed ordinary people into executioners in nineteenth-century France. Corbin's chronicle of the killing is significant for the new light it sheds on the final eruption of peasant rage in France to end in murder. No other author has investigated this harrowing event in such depth or brought to its study such a wealth of perspectives.Corbin explores incidents of public violence during and after the French Revolution and illustrates how earlier episodes in France's history provide insight into the mob's methods and choice of victim. He describes in detail the peasants' perception of the political landscape and the climate of fear that fueled their anxiety and ignited long-smoldering hatreds. Drawing on the minutes of court proceedings, accounts of contemporary journalists, and testimony of eyewitnesses, the author offers a precise chrology of the chain of events that unfolded on the fairground that summer afteron. His detailed investigation into the murder at Hautefaye reveals the political motivations of the murderers and the gulf between their actions and the sensibilities of the majority of French citizens, who longer tolerated violence as a viable form of political expression. The book will be welcomed by scholars, students, and general readers for its compelling insights into the nature of collective violence.
- Author BiographyAlain Corbin is Professor of History at the Sorbonne. Arthur Goldhammer received the French-American Translation Prize in 1990 for his translation of A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution.
- Author(s)Alain Corbin
- PublisherHarvard University Press
- Date of Publication01/12/1993
- SubjectHistory: World & General
- Place of PublicationCambridge, Mass
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintHarvard University Press
- Content Note1 map
- Weight254 g
- Width146 mm
- Height222 mm
- Spine13 mm
- Translated byArthur Goldhammer
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