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Hartmann Schedel. Liber Chronicarum. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 149
3. 

 

 



Women commit crimes for all the human reasons one may imagine, but in recounting them, popular attention most frequently focuses on sexual misdeeds, whether merely imprudent or deeply licentious.  Where men are the criminals the most avidly reported crimes are usually the bloodiest; the greatest number of notorious trials and cases involving women are distinguished by salacious detail if any can be found or invented.  When there is no prurient material available, and none can be supplied even by the public's imagination, the trial accounts are often freed to reflect other social concerns, always burdened, though, with preconceptions about the "fair sex".  The Authentic Detail of the Duchess of Kingston contains in its foreword a passage which may serve as a fitting comment on these publications: "The rapid sale of the first impression [of the book], is a strong presumptive proof, that the facts which are here submitted to the Public, have afforded no inconsiderable share of entertainment."

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