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The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century
 
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The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century [Format Kindle]

Joel F. Harrington

Prix éditeur - format imprimé : EUR 14,61
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"A surprisingly moving story of brutality and redemption" (Dan Jones Telegraph)

"Who can imagine how an executioner feels about his trade? Joel F. Harrington has written a considered and fascinating book which helps us hear the voice of one such man, a professional torturer (and healer) who, astonishingly, kept a diary. Exploring both sixteenth-century Nuremberg and the world about the city, he recreates the social context for the flamboyant displays of cruelty which later centuries find so hard to comprehend. Both the executioner and his victims are rescued from our condescension, and restored to their own moral universe: which is not so far from ours as we like to suppose." (Hilary Mantel)

"This is a sympathetic, intelligent and surprisingly tender book" (Dan Jones The Times)

"Harrington does an excellent job at recreating the thoughts and fears of a man whose job is one of the most loathed and caricatured" (Ben Wilson Daily Telegraph)

"A vivid window on a fascinating age" (Michael Kerrigan Scotsman)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Based on the rare and until now overlooked journal of a Renaissance-era executioner, the noted historian Joel F. Harrington’s The Faithful Executioner takes us deep inside the alien world and thinking of Meister Frantz Schmidt of Nuremberg, who, during forty-five years as a professional executioner, personally put to death 394 individuals and tortured, flogged, or disfigured many hundreds more. But the picture that emerges of Schmidt from his personal papers is not that of a monster. Could a man who routinely practiced such cruelty also be insightful, compassionate—even progressive?
     In The Faithful Executioner, Harrington vividly re-creates a life filled with stark contrasts, from the young apprentice’s rigorous training under his executioner father to the adult Meister Frantz’s juggling of familial duties with his work in the torture chamber and at the scaffold. With him we encounter brutal highwaymen, charming swindlers, and tragic unwed mothers accused of infanticide, as well as patrician senators, godly chaplains, and corrupt prison guards. Harrington teases out the hidden meanings and drama of Schmidt’s journal, uncovering a touching tale of inherited shame and attempted redemption for the social pariah and his children. The Faithful Executioner offers not just the compelling firsthand perspective of a professional torturer and killer, but testimony of one man’s lifelong struggle to reconcile his bloody craft with his deep religious faith.
     The biography of an ordinary man struggling for his soul, this groundbreaking book also offers an unparalleled panoramic view of Europe on the cusp of modernity, a society riven by violent conflict at all levels and encumbered by paranoia, superstition, and abuses of power. Thanks to an extraordinary historical source and its gifted interpreter, we recognize far more of ourselves than we might have expected in this intimate portrait of a professional killer from a faraway world.


Quatrième de couverture

'A vivid window on a fascinating age' Scotsman

Meet Frantz Schmidt: executioner, torturer and, most unusually for his times, diarist.

Following in his father's footsteps, Frantz entered the executioner's trade as an Apprentice. 394 executions and forty-five years later, he retired to focus his attentions on running the large medical practice that he had always viewed as his true vocation.

Through examination of Frantz's exceptional and often overlooked record, Joel F. Harrington delves deep into a world of human cruelty, tragedy and injustice. At the same time, he poses a fascinating question: could a man who routinely practiced such cruelty also be insightful, compassionate - even progressive?

The Faithful Executioner is the biography of an ordinary man struggling to overcome an unjust family curse; it is also a remarkable panorama of a Europe poised on the cusp of modernity, a world with startling parallels to our own.

'Harrington does an excellent job at recreating the thoughts and fears of a man whose job is one of the most loathed and caricatured' Daily Telegraph

'This is a marvelous book about a fascinating subject. It is a virtuoso performance. A brilliant microhistory, a triumph of technique and a wonderful read' Literary Review

Biographie de l'auteur

Following a distinguished academic career teaching and studying the history of Europe, Joel Harrington is currently Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He specializes in the Reformation and early modern Germany, with a particular interest in social history. Among his previous publications are A Cloud of Witnesses, Reordering Marriage and Society in Reformation Germany and The Unwanted Child, for which he won the 2010 Roland Bainton Prize for History.
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