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Title: 'Sympathy for the Devil: Gilles de Rais and his Modern Apologists'
Authors: Parsons, Ben
First Published: 30-Mar-2012
Publisher: Camden House (Boydell & Brewer)
Citation: Fifteenth Century Studies, 2012, 37, pp. 113-138
Abstract: Since the publication of Eugène Bossard’s biography of Gilles de Rais in 1886, there has been a continued fascination with the case, as witnessed by the steady stream of books, essays and articles dealing with his crimes. This article offers a review of literature on the subject, and identifies a common thread running throughout these discussions: the tendency to exculpate Gilles by branding him an essentially ‘medieval’ criminal, whose crimes are merely a logical outgrowth of the culture of the Middle Ages itself. Against such a view, this essay will argue that several aspects of the case make it difficult to view him in these terms, such as his clear attempt to construct a persona for himself in the courtroom. It is concluded that the medievalism of Gilles’ transgressions stems from a modern need to formulate an innately violent ‘Middle Ages’, rather than any objective assessment of the crimes themselves.
ISSN: 0164-0933
ISBN: 9781571135261
Type: Journal Article
Description: Due to publisher policy the full text of this item is not available on the LRA.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of English

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