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College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Joy Wiltenburg, History, explores beginnings of crime sensationalism in new book

Date: December 14, 2012


Congratulations to Joy Wiltenburg, History, for Crime and Culture in Early Modern Germany, which becomes available this month through the University of Virginia Press. 

"In Crime and Culture in Early Modern Germany, Joy Wiltenburg explores the beginnings of crime sensationalism from the early sixteenth century into the seventeenth century and beyond. Comparing the depictions of crime in popular publications with those in archival records, legal discourse, and imaginative literature, Wiltenburg highlights key social anxieties and analyzes how crime texts worked to shape public perceptions and mentalities. Reports regularly featured familial destruction, flawed economic relations, and the apocalyptic thinking of Protestant clergy. Wiltenburg examines how such literature expressed and shaped cultural attitudes while at the same time reinforcing governmental authority. She also shows how the emotional inflections of crime stories influenced the growth of early modern public discourse, so often conceived in terms of rational exchange of ideas." (Description courtesy of 

Wiltenburg's prior publications include Women in Early Modern Germany: An Anthology of Popular Texts and Disorderly Women and Female Power in the Street Literature of Early Modern England and Germany.