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Violette Nozière [electronic resource] : a story of murder in 1930s Paris /
Sarah Maza.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2011.
description
xiii, 336 p. : ill ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520260708 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780520260702 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2011.
isbn
0520260708 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780520260702 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
A neighborhood in Paris -- Interwar girlhoods -- Violette's family romance -- A crime in late summer -- The accusation -- Letters to the judge -- A culture of crime -- A water lily on a heap of coal -- The trial -- Afterlives.
abstract
On an August evening in 1933, in a quiet, working-class neighborhood in Paris, eighteen-year-old Violette Nozière gave her mother and father glasses of barbiturate-laced "medication," which she told them had been prescribed by the family doctor; one of her parents died, the other barely survived. Almost immediately Violette's act of "double parricide" became the most sensational private crime of the French interwar era, discussed and debated so passionately that it was compared to the Dreyfus Affair.
catalogue key
8861460
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 283-320) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"One of those rare and sophisticated works that tells a gripping story while evoking a complex historical period. There exist very few cultural histories of the interwar years."--Carolyn Dean, author ofAversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust
Flap Copy
"One of those rare and sophisticated works that tells a gripping story while evoking a complex historical period. There exist very few cultural histories of the interwar years."--Carolyn Dean, author of Aversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust "Sarah Maza's book tells an arresting story that deftly combines conventional social history with a subtle analysis of gender and culture. Using all the arts of the best storytellers, she is careful not to give too much away, and it is only with time and a remarkable conclusion that we realize that Violette Nozi re is no ordinary tale." -- Ruth Harris, author of Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century "Sarah Maza has written a vivid, gripping and clear-eyed account of the celebrated Violette Nozi re case, which captivated French society in the 1930s. A bold and imaginative story, Violette Nozi re opens an unexpected and revealing window onto interwar Parisian life." -- Colin Jones, author of Paris: Biography of a City
Flap Copy
"One of those rare and sophisticated works that tells a gripping story while evoking a complex historical period. There exist very few cultural histories of the interwar years."--Carolyn Dean, author ofAversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust "Sarah Maza's book tells an arresting story that deftly combines conventional social history with a subtle analysis of gender and culture. Using all the arts of the best storytellers, she is careful not to give too much away, and it is only with time and a remarkable conclusion that we realize that Violette NoziÈre is no ordinary tale." -- Ruth Harris, author ofDreyfus: Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century "Sarah Maza has written a vivid, gripping and clear-eyed account of the celebrated Violette NoziÈre case, which captivated French society in the 1930s. A bold and imaginative story, Violette NoziÈre opens an unexpected and revealing window onto interwar Parisian life." -- Colin Jones, author ofParis: Biography of a City
Flap Copy
"Sarah Maza has written a vivid, gripping and clear-eyed account of the celebrated Violette Nozi re case, which captivated French society in the 1930s. A bold and imaginative story, Violette Nozi re opens an unexpected and revealing window onto interwar Parisian life." -- Colin Jones, author of Paris: Biography of a City "Sarah Maza's absorbing new book on Violette Nozi re--flapper, fantasist, and perpetrator of one of the most sordid and sensational French homicides of the 1930s--is a scholarly 'true crime' tale of the most intelligent sort. Why might a seemingly respectable little mademoiselle from a 'nice' bourgeois family want to poison her maman et papa at the breakfast table? Alongside her riveting account of the crime and its aftermath, Maza investigates the various pathologies--familial, social, economic, cultural, psychosexual--that may have figured in the mayhem. (At her trial Nozi re claimed, among other things, that her father had sexually abused her for years.) The result is both a fascinating case history--Greek tragedy rewritten as seedy policier--and a chilling glimpse into the less salubrious aspects of French lower middle-class life between the wars." -- Terry Castle, author of The Professor "One of those rare and sophisticated works that tells a gripping story while evoking a complex historical period. There exist very few cultural histories of the interwar years."--Carolyn Dean, author of Aversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust "Sarah Maza's book tells an arresting story that deftly combines conventional social history with a subtle analysis of gender and culture. Using all the arts of the best storytellers, she is careful not to give too much away, and it is only with time and a remarkable conclusion that we realize that Violette Nozi re is no ordinary tale." -- Ruth Harris, author of Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century
Flap Copy
"Sarah Maza has written a vivid, gripping and clear-eyed account of the celebrated Violette Nozière case, which captivated French society in the 1930s. A bold and imaginative story, Violette Nozière opens an unexpected and revealing window onto interwar Parisian life." -- Colin Jones, author of Paris: Biography of a City "Sarah Maza's absorbing new book on Violette Nozière--flapper, fantasist, and perpetrator of one of the most sordid and sensational French homicides of the 1930s--is a scholarly 'true crime' tale of the most intelligent sort. Why might a seemingly respectable little mademoiselle from a 'nice' bourgeois family want to poison her maman et papa at the breakfast table? Alongside her riveting account of the crime and its aftermath, Maza investigates the various pathologies--familial, social, economic, cultural, psychosexual--that may have figured in the mayhem. (At her trial Nozière claimed, among other things, that her father had sexually abused her for years.) The result is both a fascinating case history--Greek tragedy rewritten as seedy policier--and a chilling glimpse into the less salubrious aspects of French lower middle-class life between the wars." -- Terry Castle, author of The Professor "One of those rare and sophisticated works that tells a gripping story while evoking a complex historical period. There exist very few cultural histories of the interwar years."--Carolyn Dean, author of Aversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust "Sarah Maza's book tells an arresting story that deftly combines conventional social history with a subtle analysis of gender and culture. Using all the arts of the best storytellers, she is careful not to give too much away, and it is only with time and a remarkable conclusion that we realize that Violette Nozière is no ordinary tale." -- Ruth Harris, author of Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2011-04-01:
This is an absorbing account of a sensational murder case that is little remembered today. Violette Noziere, beloved only child of aspiring lower-middle-class parents, mysteriously responded to their ambitions for her by plying them with glasses of barbiturate-laced medication. Her father died, her mother survived, and contemporaries became obsessed with uncovering the motivations behind the teenager's carefully planned crime. Maza (arts & sciences, history, Northwestern Univ.) uses court records, archival sources, and her own broad knowledge of French culture to reconstruct both the details of the case and the social setting in which the crime occurred. While class boundaries were blurring, and the roles of women changing, in 1930s Paris, it was the crime's "archetypal horrors"-parricide and allegations of incest-that explain its contemporary status and justify its continuing relevance. Maza reminds us that scholars need to pay attention to the lives of ordinary folk-and not exclusively domestic or international politics-when focusing on the history of the interwar years. Verdict Maza writes for students of French and women's history, but the story itself is so fascinating that general readers interested in crime and mystery will be enthralled by the intersection of sex and class at its heart.-Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., N.J. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2011-04-11:
An academic history with a pulpy noir heart, Maza's account of Violette Noziere, who at age 19 poisoned her parents and whose case captured Paris's imagination, is also the story of a socially unsettled interwar France. Maza, a professor of history at Northwestern (The Myth of the French Bourgeoisie: An Essay on the Social Imaginary, 1750-1850), uses the Noziere affair to examine social mobility; working-class Paris neighborhoods like the Nozieres'; department-store fashion that allowed an upwardly aspiring girl like Violette to dress fashionably; crime journalism; surrealism (Andre Breton sympathized with Violette during her trial). Yet the story of the depressed, angry Violette-whose father likely molested her, and whose "drama-prone, overbearing" mother survived the poisoning to become her daughter's most vocal opponent-keeps the book beating in time. Reminiscent of the O.J. Simpson trial, the Noziere affair reflected the anxieties of its society: the horror of parricide paired with later accusations of incest presented a "troubling ambiguity" that the public struggled to disentangle. Fluently written and thoroughly researched, Maza contains "a whole constellation of contemporary experience" in the wrenching story of the Nozieres. Photos. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An academic history with a pulpy noir heart."-- Publishers Weekly
"A true-life detective tale set not amid the glamour and romance of a well-touristed Paris but in a secret city that runs thick with the lives of the forgotten and the abandoned."-- T: the New York Times Style Magazine
A well-researched and thoroughly readable account of French culture as revealed in a generally forgotten murder case."-- Chico News & Review
"Grittily cinematic."-- Vogue
"Maza explains brilliantly how and why Violette's story--or a culturally acceptable version of her story--grew from being a mere fait divers, or miscellaneous news item, into a nationally staged drama that bound France in schadenfreude-laced fascination near the end of the turbulent and divisive Third Republic. Combining a neatly suspenseful account of Violette's crime and its consequences with a richly layered cultural history . . . she skillfully analyzes Violette's transformation from wretched schoolgirl to cultural icon."-- New York Times Book Review
"The story itself is so fascinating that general readers interested in crime and mystery will be enthralled."-- Library Journal
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, April 2011
Publishers Weekly, April 2011
New York Times Full Text Review, June 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
On an August evening in 1933, working-class neighbourhood in Paris, 18-year-old Violette Nozière gave her mother and father glasses of barbiturate-laced 'medication'; one of her parents died, the other barely survived. To understand the motives behind this crime, Maza delves into the abundant case records.
Library of Congress Summary
On an August evening in 1933, in a quiet, working-class neighborhood in Paris, eighteen-year-old Violette Nozière gave her mother and father glasses of barbiturate-laced "medication," which she told them had been prescribed by the family doctor; one of her parents died, the other barely survived. Almost immediately Violette's act of "double parricide" became the most sensational private crime of the French interwar era, discussed and debated so passionately that it was compared to the Dreyfus Affair.
Main Description
On an August evening in 1933, in a quiet, working-class neighborhood in Paris, eighteen-year-old Violette Noziegrave;re gave her mother and father glasses of barbiturate-laced "medication," which she told them had been prescribed by the family doctor; one of her parents died, the other barely survived. Almost immediately Violette's act of "double parricide" became the most sensational private crime of the French interwar era--discussed and debated so passionately that it was compared to the Dreyfus Affair. Why would the beloved only child of respectable parents do such a thing? To understand the motives behind this crime and the reasons for its extraordinary impact, Sarah Maza delves into the abundant case records, re-creating the daily existence of Parisians whose lives were touched by the affair. This compulsively readable book brilliantly evokes the texture of life in 1930s Paris. It also makes an important argument about French society and culture while proposing new understandings of crime and social class in the years before World War II.
Main Description
On an August evening in 1933, in a quiet, working-class neighborhood in Paris, eighteen-year-old Violette Nozière gave her mother and father glasses of barbiturate-laced "medication," which she told them had been prescribed by the family doctor; one of her parents died, the other barely survived. Almost immediately Violette's act of "double parricide" became the most sensational private crime of the French interwar era--discussed and debated so passionately that it was compared to the Dreyfus Affair. Why would the beloved only child of respectable parents do such a thing? To understand the motives behind this crime and the reasons for its extraordinary impact, Sarah Maza delves into the abundant case records, re-creating the daily existence of Parisians whose lives were touched by the affair. This compulsively readable book brilliantly evokes the texture of life in 1930s Paris. It also makes an important argument about French society and culture while proposing new understandings of crime and social class in the years before World War II.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
A Neighborhood in Parisp. 5
Interwar Girlhoodsp. 28
Violette's Family Romancep. 50
A Crime in Late Summerp. 84
The Accusationp. 107
Letters to the Judgep. 140
A Culture of Crimep. 174
A Water Lily on a Heap of Coalp. 203
The Trialp. 228
Afterlivesp. 258
Conclusionp. 279
Notesp. 283
Indexp. 323
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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