Saturday, August 27, 2016

'Twas ever thus …

… The Bloody History of the True Crime Genre | JSTOR Daily. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Between 1550 and 1700, British authors and printers produced an unprecedented number of publications that reported on capital crimes. As literacy rates expanded and new print technologies emerged, topical leaflets began to circulate among newly literate and semiliterate consumers. Hundreds of crime pamphlets—short, unbound books of roughly six to 24 pages, usually detailing horrific murders—circulated during this era. But these pamphlets were not the sole form of crime reportage. Ballads—narrative verses recounting the dastardly deeds of England’s Most Notorious—were printed on broadsides and posted around cities and towns. Trial accounts also provided a broad swath of society with details of juridical proceedings.

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