Sunday, August 21, 2011

On August 21

On this day in ...
...1933, an 18-year-old only daughter of a Parisian couple gave her parents drinks containing lethal amounts of barbiturates. The father died, and upon arrest the daughter stated that he had been sexually assaulting her for years. There followed a media-circus murder trial that bore analogy to the late-19th-century U.S. case against Lizzie Borden. The French trial is recounted in a new book by Northwestern University History Professor Sarah C. Maza (left). As noted in this review of Violette Nozière: A Story of Murder in 1930s Paris, in her book Maza places the event in the context of the period's changing social mores, underscoring the lack of sympathy French society bore toward the defendant:

'The Nozières stood as quintessential representatives of the new interwar middle classes.' They were 'civilized city people, an intact model couple with a well-educated, chic daughter: the incest accusation just did not make sense.'

(Prior August 21 posts are here, here, here, and here.)

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