Exceptional Crime in Early Modern Spain

Taxonomic and Intellectual Perspectives


Exceptional Crime in Early Modern Spain accounts for the representation of violent and complex murders, analysing the role of the criminal, its portrayal through rhetorical devices, and its cultural and aesthetic impact.
Proteic traits allow for an understanding of how crime is constructed within the parameters of exception, borrowing from pre-existent forms while devising new patterns and categories such as criminography, the “star killer”, the staging of crimes as suicides, serial murders, and the faking of madness. These accounts aim at bewildering and shocking demanding readers through a carefully displayed cult to excessive behaviour. The arranged “economy of death” displayed in murder accounts will set them apart from other exceptional instances, as proven by their long-standing presence in subsequent centuries.

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Elena del Río Parra, Ph.D. (2001), Georgia State University, is Professor of Hispanic Studies. Her body of work deals with monstrosity, casuistry, extremophilia, accident, and the role of singularity in early modern Spain from an intellectual history perspective.
List of Illustrations

A Murder of Crows

1 The Taxonomic Axis of Fatality: From Series of Monsters to Serial Murderers
 1 From Series to Individuals
 2 Series and Fatality
 3 From Series of Monsters to Serial Murderers

2 Sketching the Face of Evil: Pioneering Serial Killers
 1 The Antihero Factory
 2 In Search of Singularity
 3 Sketching the Face of Evil
 4 Printing in Parts

3 On the Edge: Living between Suicide and Madness
 1 Official and False Madmen
 2 Books, Titles, Laws
 3 “Hanging from a Beam by Choice”
 4 Living on the Edge

4 Expressing Criminal Behavior
 1 Detection before Detectives
 2 Patterns in Crime
 3 Killers as Pretenders
 4 Killing and Obsession

5 Dying in Parts: Criminography and the Cult of Excess
 1 The Syntax of Evil: From Fait-Divers to the Crime Catalogue
 2  Casus and Criminography
 3 Dying in Parts
 4 The Cult of Excess

Cleaning the Crime Scene

Index of Names and Subjects
All interested in the history of the non-fictional criminal genre, both academic and non-academic readership, since -analysis aside- primary sources include enticing, brief cases.