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Village of the Cannibals: Rage and Murder in France, 1870

An examination of the events of the 16th August 1870 in a small village in the Dordogne, when a young nobleman was tortured at a local fair, then burned alive in the presence of several hundred peasants who had accused him of having shouted “Vive la Repubique!”. When night fell, the crowd dispersed, boasting that they had “roasted a Prussian”. Some expressed regret at not having inflicted the same punishment on the parish priest. Corbin examines the events of that day, together with the circumstances which led up to them, focusing on the behaviour and psychological state of those involved. He discusses the role of rumour in the atrocity and penetrates the minds of the participants to find out why their suppressed anxiety exploded into an irrepressible rage that nothing short of murder could quell. Corbin continues by analyzing the ritual of the popular execution, the place of the victim and the torturers in the local community, together with the image of the Prussian as a hate-figure.

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Author: Alain Corbin

Editor/Translator: Arthur Goldhammer

Edition: First English Edition

Binding: Hardcover

Manufacturer: Polity Press

Number of pages: 230

Product group: Book

Studio: Polity Press

Publication Date: June 11, 1992

Publisher: Polity Press

Pages: 230

EAN: 9780745608952

ISBN: 0745608957

ASIN: 0745608957

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Art Goldhammer
Writer, translator, scholar, blogger on French Politics, affiliate of Harvard's Center for European Studies, writes for The American Prospect, The Nation, etc.