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Sentimental Murder Love and Madness in the Eighteenth Century

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ISBN-10: 0374529779

ISBN-13: 9780374529772

Edition: N/A

Authors: John Brewer

List price: $27.00
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Description:

One April evening in 1779, Martha Ray, the pretty mistress of a famous aristocrat, was shot dead at point-blank range by a young clergyman who then attempted to take his own life. Instead he was arrested, tried and hanged. In this fascinating new book, John Brewer, a leading historian of eighteenth-century England, asks what this peculiar little story was all about. Then as now, crimes of passion were not uncommon, and the story had the hallmarks of a great scandal--yet fiction and fact mingled confusingly in all the accounts, and the case was hardly deemed appropriate material for real history. Was the crime about James Hackman's unrequited love for the virtuous mother of the Earl of Sandwich's illicit children? Or was Ray, too, deranged by passion, as a popular novel suggested? In Victorian times the romance became a morality tale about decadent Georgian aristocrats and the depravity of wanton women who consorted with them; by the 1920s Ray was considered a chaste mistress destroyed by male dominance and privilege. Brewer, in tracing Ray's fate through these protean changes in journalism, memoir, and melodrama, offers an unforgettable account of the relationships among the three protagonists and their different places in English society--and assesses the shifting balance between storytelling and fact, past and present that inheres in all history.
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Book details

List price: $27.00
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publication date: 6/8/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 352
Size: 7.50" wide x 8.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

List of Illustrations
Prologue
Preface
Spring 1779
The Press: A Case of Sentimental Murder
The Killer as Victim: James Hackman
Missing Stories: Lord Sandwich and the Making of a Libertine
Missing Stories: Martha Ray and the Life of the Mistress
Love and Madness, A Story too True
Wordsworth and the Doctors
The Nineteenth Century
The Twentieth Century
History and Telling Stories
Notes
Index