Eighteenth-century true-crime, legal histories, and the literary imagination

Mary Lindemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-152
Number of pages22
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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