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medieval history
medieval studies

The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honour and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century

 
 
Author
Joel F. Harrington.
Publisher Bodley Head  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.25 x 1.1 inches
ISBN 9781847922120
Pages/Publication Date 285/2013
Daedalus Item Code 54736
This item is not available.
Description
Based on the rarely seen journal of a professional executioner in early 16th-century Nuremberg, this fascinating history from the Roland H. Bainton Prize–winning author of The Unwanted Child takes us into the world and mind of Meister Frantz Schmidt, who personally put to death 394 individuals and flogged, tortured, or disfigured hundreds more. But the picture of Schmidt that emerges is not that of a monster; Joel Harrington gives us the biography of an ordinary man struggling for his soul, and also offers an unparalleled panoramic view of Europe on the cusp of modernity.

"Who can imagine how an executioner feels about his trade? Joel F. Harrington has written a considered and fascinating book that helps us hear the voice of one such man, a professional torturer (and healer) who, astonishingly, kept a diary. Exploring both 16th-century Nuremberg and the world about the city, he re-creates the social context for the flamboyant displays of cruelty that 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 as far from ours as we like to suppose."—Hilary Mantel

 
 
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