BELLE GUNNESS. The Lady Bluebeard

Author: Langlois (Janet L.)
Year: 1985
Publisher: Indiana Univ. Press
First Edition
Edition Details: 1st US edn.
Book Condition: Vg+/Vg
ISBN: 0253311578
Price: 20.00
IN STOCK NOW
Hardback. This Norwegian immigrant earned the epithet the Lady Bluebeard because she is believed, like the fairy-tale ogre, to have killed many spouses. She settled on a farm on the outskirts of LaPorte, Indiana in 1901. Over the next 7yrs. it is believed that she killed a husband, children, and an indeterminate number of would-be suitors who answered her matrimonial advertisements. A fire at the farm on April 28,1908, led to the grisly discovery of a decapitated woman, the bodies of 3 children, and the remains of numerous dismembered bodies unearthed from the truck gardens and hog pens on the property. In this study, the author explores the effect of the "Gunness Horror" on the northwestern Indiana community. Narratives describing Belle Gunness's subversion of the codes of neighbourliness and hospitality represent the town's sense of disintegration, as traditional community values are breaking down and an urban sensibility is emerging. Other stories demonstrate the murderess's destruction of sexual roles, marriage, and kinship patterns. Descriptions of the Gunness marriage racket, which used big-city business tactics, outline the breakdown of community economic and political codes. This debate over the image of Belle Gunness represents one of the key cultural dialogues in the United States, the definition of community in a culture caught between the myth of the small town and the image of the city. Illus., Notes, Select Bibliog. and Index. 174pp. 8vo. h/back. From the library of true-crime writer, Wilfred Gregg, with his personal b/plate. With small water mk. to fr. cover o/w Vg+ in vg. dw. which has corresponding water mk. inside dw cover 'blurb'.

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