Journal Article

Tortured Truths: The Self-Expositions of a Juvenile Career Criminal in Early Modern Nuremberg

Joel F. Harrington

in German History

Published on behalf of German History Society

Volume 23, issue 2, pages 143-171
Published in print April 2005 | ISSN: 0266-3554
Published online April 2005 | e-ISSN: 1477-089X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1191/0266355405gh335oa
Tortured Truths: The Self-Expositions of a Juvenile Career Criminal in Early Modern Nuremberg

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Criminal records have long provided early modern social historians with valuable access to the perspectives and experiences of individuals normally forgotten to written history. Transcripts from interrogation sessions, often involving torture, offer especially rare and valuable material to the microhistorian, but the credibility of this information is generally tainted by the coercive context of the interrogation itself. This article suggests that the testimony of one infamous juvenile thief, Jörg Mayr, can be considered a type of ego-document despite the repeated use of torture by examiners. By treating Mayr's accounts as a series of self-images that he jointly constructs with his interrogators, this article is able to get closer to both the social assumptions at work and much of the everyday experience of a teenage professional thief.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: European History

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