Violence and Honor in Prerevolutionary Périgord

February 2018
2 black and white illustrations
342 pages
9x6 in
Changing Perspectives on Early Modern Europe
University of Rochester Press
BISAC HIS013000, HIS054000, SOC051000

Violence and Honor in Prerevolutionary Périgord

Steven G. Reinhardt

Drawing on rich archival sources, explores the relationship between honor and violence in the Périgord region in prerevolutionary France.
Historians and scholars across other disciplines have long sought an explanation for why late medieval and early modern Europeans experienced elevated rates of violent crime, and for why society apparently tolerated such high levels of interpersonal violence. Most of our existing explanations focus on the macro level, looking at causes like the rise of the state or the concomitant cultural shift toward civility. In this study, author Steven G. Reinhardt utilizes a more micro-level, descriptive approach to examine the intersection of honor and violence in prerevolutionary France, in particular in the Périgord region between 1770 and 1790. Drawing on archival sources (such as interrogations, petitions, and inquests), Reinhardt vividly conveys the texture of ordinary people's everyday experiences.

Based on a sampling of criminal court cases from a region marginally integrated into the emerging capitalist economy, Violence and Honor in Prerevolutionary Périgord presents a series of extraordinarily rich narratives illustrating their subjects' understanding of the imperatives of the honor code. Combining careful scholarship with popular history, the book will interest historians of early modern Europe, legal scholars, and anthropologists of law, as well as students and general readers interested in the history of violence.

Steven G. Reinhardt is associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Table of Contents

Violence and Honor
Honor in a Cross-Cultural Context
From Honor to Honnêteté in Old Regime Europe
"The Good Old Days" in Prerevolutionary Sarladais
"The Saint of Honor" in the Sénéchaussée of Sarlat
Women and Honor-Related Criminal Affaires
Policing Honnêteté: Shameful, Sinful, and Criminal Conduct
"Fallen Women" and Infanticide
Compromised Honor and Dangerous Liaisons
Honor and Homicide

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