Little demon in the City of Light : a true story of murder and mesmerism in Belle Époque Paris

by Levingston, Steven,

Format: Print Book 2014
Availability: Available at 6 Libraries 6 of 6 copies
Available (6)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Allegheny Regional Non-Fiction Collection HV6535.F8 P364 2014
Location  CLP - Allegheny Regional
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  HV6535.F8 P364 2014
CLP - Squirrel Hill Non-Fiction Collection HV6535.F8 P364 2014
Location  CLP - Squirrel Hill
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  HV6535.F8 P364 2014
Carnegie Library of Homestead Non Fiction 364.1523 Levi
Location  Carnegie Library of Homestead
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  364.1523 Levi
Community Library of Castle Shannon Non Fiction 364.1523 Levingst
Location  Community Library of Castle Shannon
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  364.1523 Levingst
Millvale Community Library Adult Non Fiction 364.15 LEV
Location  Millvale Community Library
Collection  Adult Non Fiction
Call Number  364.15 LEV
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 364.1523 Lev
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  364.1523 Lev
A delicious account of a murder most gallic--think CSI Paris meets Georges Simenon--whose lurid combination of sex, brutality, forensics, and hypnotism riveted first a nation and then the world.

Little Demon in the City of Light is the thrilling--and so wonderfully French--story of a gruesome 1889 murder of a lascivious court official at the hands of a ruthless con man and his pliant mistress and the international manhunt, sensational trial, and an inquiry into the limits of hypnotic power that ensued.

In France at the end of the nineteenth century a great debate raged over the question of whether someone could be hypnotically compelled to commit a crime in violation of his or her moral convictions. When Toussaint-Augustin Gouff#65533; entered 3, rue Tronson du Coudray, he expected nothing but a delightful assignation with the comely young Gabrielle Bompard. Instead, he was murdered--hanged!--by her and her companion Michel Eyraud. The body was then stuffed in a trunk and dumped on a riverbank near Lyon.

As the inquiry into the guilt or innocence of the woman the French tabloids dubbed the "Little Demon" escalated, the most respected minds in France debated whether Gabrielle Bompard was the pawn of her mesmerizing lover or simply a coldly calculating murderess. And, at the burning center of it all: Could hypnosis force people to commit crimes against their will?
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In belle epoque Paris, mesmerism, the ability to hypnotize others to do one's will, was quite the rage, and it wound up being quite the defense for one of the two accused of robbing and strangling wealthy widower Toussaint-Augustin Gouffe. Was the petite demon (little devil) Gabrielle Bompard, a good girl turned good-time girl, in thrall to bamboozling raconteur Michel Eyraud? Certainly, it made a great story then, one that the tabloids worldwide emblazoned in lurid headlines for months, and one that Levingston tells here, filled with clever and determined detectives (quotes from Surete chief Marie-Francois Goron's own memoir are included), theories about criminology, ­opinionizing by such luminaries as writer Emile Zola, and the ambience of an era that arguably can't be matched for its guilelessness. Levingston's smartly chipper prose and fine attention to detail down to the otter trim on Gabrielle's hat add an entertaining and authentic sensibility to this re-creation of a culture, a crime, and the first time an accused murderer had put forward a hypnotism defense.--Kinney, Eloise Copyright 2014 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "The titular figure in this lively popular history is Gabrielle Bompard, a young woman who became infamous as the accomplice in a garish and notorious murder in 1889 Paris. Mistress of the con man Michel Eyraud, Bompard and her tragic story became a historical footnote; her case at trial rested on a precedent-setting hypnotism defense. In seeking to absolve her of responsibility, the reference to hypnotic suggestion (then an intensely researched subject in the medical community) brought into the spotlight opposing scientific camps, represented by Jules Liegeois-a law professor from Nancy who argued that the hypnotized criminal was not morally culpable-and the eminent Parisian neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, onetime mentor of Freud, who insisted the hypnotist could not override an individual's moral makeup. Before reaching the spectacular trial, however, journalist Levingston (coauthor of The Whiz Kid of Wall Street's Investment Guide) spends the first two-thirds of the book meticulously recounting the crime, principal characters, and relevant cultural context. Though limited as a cultural history, the book is lovingly constructed from available sources, including newspapers, memoirs, and secondary histories, and immerses the reader in a period whose newfound obsessions-science and pseudo-science of the mind, criminal forensics, mass media, the macabre, and fame-have a seminal connection to our own time. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writer's House. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Gouffé, Augustin Toussaint, -- 1840-1889.
Eyraud, Michel, -- 1843-1891.
Bompard, Gabrielle, -- 1868-1920.
Murder -- France -- Paris -- Case studies.
Paris (France) -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.
Publisher New York :Doubleday,2014
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 333 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 309-333).
ISBN 9780385536035 (hardback)
0385536038 (hardback)
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