This article explores the interactions between two genres - true-crime writing and legal history - and the literary imagination. In order to demonstrate the relationship between these genres, I focus on several particular instances that occurred in Hamburg during the eighteenth century. I argue that each genre influenced the other, producing stories that had a shaping and persistent impact on the European literary imagination. At the same time, by casting these histories as "fictions" or by using fictional tropes, their authors actually helped make them convincing and added, thereby, to their verisimilitude. Over the course of time, from the eighteenth century forward, the ways in which these tales were told changed and those modifications reflected the shifting tastes of an ever-expanding reading public.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory