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Violette Noziere: A Story of Murder in 1930s Paris

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Violette Noziere: A Story of Murder in 1930s Paris Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Sarah Maza has written a vivid, gripping and clear-eyed account of the celebrated Violette Nozière case, which captivated French society in the 1930s. A bold and imaginative story, Violette Nozière opens an unexpected and revealing window onto interwar Parisian life." — Colin Jones, author of Paris: Biography of a City

“Sarah Maza's absorbing new book on Violette Nozière--flapper, fantasist, and perpetrator of one of the most sordid and sensational French homicides of the 1930s—is a scholarly 'true crime' tale of the most intelligent sort. Why might a seemingly respectable little mademoiselle from a 'nice' bourgeois family want to poison her maman et papa at the breakfast table? Alongside her riveting account of the crime and its aftermath, Maza investigates the various pathologies—familial, social, economic, cultural, psychosexual—that may have figured in the mayhem. (At her trial Nozière claimed, among other things, that her father had sexually abused her for years.) The result is both a fascinating case history—Greek tragedy rewritten as seedy policier—and a chilling glimpse into the less salubrious aspects of French lower middle-class life between the wars.” — Terry Castle, author of The Professor

"One of those rare and sophisticated works that tells a gripping story while evoking a complex historical period. There exist very few cultural histories of the interwar years."—Carolyn Dean, author of Aversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust

“Sarah Maza's book tells an arresting story that deftly combines conventional social history with a subtle analysis of gender and culture. Using all the arts of the best storytellers, she is careful not to give too much away, and it is only with time and a remarkable conclusion that we realize that Violette Nozière is no ordinary tale.” — Ruth Harris, author of Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century

Synopsis:

On an August evening in 1933, in a quiet, working-class neighborhood in Paris, eighteen-year-old Violette Nozière gave her mother and father glasses of barbiturate-laced “medication,” which she told them had been prescribed by the family doctor; one of her parents died, the other barely survived. Almost immediately Violettes act of “double parricide” became the most sensational private crime of the French interwar era—discussed and debated so passionately that it was compared to the Dreyfus Affair. Why would the beloved only child of respectable parents do such a thing? To understand the motives behind this crime and the reasons for its extraordinary impact, Sarah Maza delves into the abundant case records, re-creating the daily existence of Parisians whose lives were touched by the affair. This compulsively readable book brilliantly evokes the texture of life in 1930s Paris. It also makes an important argument about French society and culture while proposing new understandings of crime and social class in the years before World War II.

About the Author

Sarah Maza is Jane Long Professor of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at Northwestern University. She is the author of many books including award winners Private Lives and Public Affairs: The Causes Célèbres of Prerevolutionary France (UC Press) and The Myth of the French Bourgeoisie: An Essay on the Social Imaginary, 1750-1850.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. A Neighborhood in Paris

2. Interwar Girlhoods

3. Violettes Family Romance

4. A Crime in Late Summer

5. The Accusation

6. Letters to the Judge

7. A Culture of Crime

8. A Water Lily on a Heap of Coal

9. The Trial

10. Afterlives

Conclusion

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520272729
Author:
Maza, Sarah
Publisher:
University of California Press
Subject:
World History-European History General
Subject:
Europe - General
Subject:
World History-France
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20120631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
20 b/w photographs
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » General
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » World History » European History General
History and Social Science » World History » France » General
Science and Mathematics » Geology » General

Violette Noziere: A Story of Murder in 1930s Paris New Trade Paper
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Product details 352 pages University of California Press - English 9780520272729 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
On an August evening in 1933, in a quiet, working-class neighborhood in Paris, eighteen-year-old Violette Nozière gave her mother and father glasses of barbiturate-laced “medication,” which she told them had been prescribed by the family doctor; one of her parents died, the other barely survived. Almost immediately Violettes act of “double parricide” became the most sensational private crime of the French interwar era—discussed and debated so passionately that it was compared to the Dreyfus Affair. Why would the beloved only child of respectable parents do such a thing? To understand the motives behind this crime and the reasons for its extraordinary impact, Sarah Maza delves into the abundant case records, re-creating the daily existence of Parisians whose lives were touched by the affair. This compulsively readable book brilliantly evokes the texture of life in 1930s Paris. It also makes an important argument about French society and culture while proposing new understandings of crime and social class in the years before World War II.
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