The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century

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9780809049929: The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century

The Faithful Executioner In the late 1500s a Nuremberg man named Frantz Schmidt began to do something utterly remarkable for his era: he started keeping a journal. This book uncovers details of Schmidt's medical practice, his efforts at penal reform, and his conflicted relationship with his own craft and the growing sense that it could not be squared with his faith. Full description

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Quatrième de couverture :

'A vivid window on a fascinating age' Scotsman

Meet Frantz Schmidt: executioner, torturer and, most unusually for his times, diarist.

Following in his father's footsteps, Frantz entered the executioner's trade as an Apprentice. 394 executions and forty-five years later, he retired to focus his attentions on running the large medical practice that he had always viewed as his true vocation.

Through examination of Frantz's exceptional and often overlooked record, Joel F. Harrington delves deep into a world of human cruelty, tragedy and injustice. At the same time, he poses a fascinating question: could a man who routinely practiced such cruelty also be insightful, compassionate - even progressive?

The Faithful Executioner is the biography of an ordinary man struggling to overcome an unjust family curse; it is also a remarkable panorama of a Europe poised on the cusp of modernity, a world with startling parallels to our own.

'Harrington does an excellent job at recreating the thoughts and fears of a man whose job is one of the most loathed and caricatured' Daily Telegraph

'This is a marvelous book about a fascinating subject. It is a virtuoso performance. A brilliant microhistory, a triumph of technique and a wonderful read' Literary Review

Présentation de l'éditeur :

Welcome to the world of Frantz Schmidt: citizen of Nuremberg, executioner of 394 unfortunates, and torturer of many hundreds more.

Most unusually for his times, Frantz was also a diarist. Drawing deeply on this exceptional and overlooked record that he kept for over forty-five years, The Faithful Executioner takes us deep inside his world and his thinking. But the picture that emerges is not of a monster. Could a man who routinely practiced such cruelty also be insightful, compassionate - even progressive?

Young Frantz enters the trade as the Apprentice, following in his father's footsteps. Later, as the Journeyman, he travels the roads of Franconia, learning to reconcile his desire for respectability with his violent work. After a lifetime working amid human cruelty, tragedy, injustice and simple misfortune as the Master in Nuremberg, Frantz has become a moralist and storyteller, the Sage. And, in the closing chapters of his life, retired now from his role as executioner, he is the Healer, running the large medical practice that he always viewed as his true vocation.

The Faithful Executioner is the biography of an ordinary man struggling to overcome an unjust family curse and a panorama of a Europe poised on the cusp of modernity, a world with startling parallels to our own.

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Harrington, Joel F.
Edité par Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2013)
ISBN 10 : 0809049929 ISBN 13 : 9780809049929
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Joel F. Harrington
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Harrington, Joel F.
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