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Distributed for Iter Press

The Carleton Bigamy Trial

Multiple conflicting perspectives come together in this collection to provide a Rashomon-style account of marriage, fraud, and trickery in seventeenth-century England.
 
Mary Carleton was an ordinary woman from Canterbury who entered historical records when she was accused of bigamy. The seven pamphlets in this edition focus on the bigamy trial of Mary Carleton, in which the accused eloquently defends herself and is ultimately acquitted. Written in the early years of the English Restoration, they demonstrate that narratives presenting what “she said” and what “he said” can reveal, forcefully and painfully, how truth can be fragmented in the different arenas of law, love, and politics. Through their disparate accounts of a marriage gone wrong, these pamphlets reinforce the social status quo even while they radically shatter the very foundations that give it heft. In asking readers to question absolutes, they unmask the precarious relationship between words and the world.
 

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Reviews

“Matchinske’s edition of texts about the case of Mary Carleton will prove a treasure trove to students and scholars with an interest in gender, the law, and social class. The works assembled in this collection offer a valuable window into questions of personal identity and performance, but they also teach us to observe closely and ask probing questions about evidence and the construction of persuasive narratives in an early modern court of law and in popular print culture. The primary materials are carefully edited, and the engaging introduction provides pertinent context for both students and scholars, allowing readers to become familiar with or revisit this fascinating instance of seventeenth-century female self-fashioning.”

Martine Van Elk, California State University, Long Beach

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Abbreviations
Acknowledgments
MARY CARLETON TIME LINE
INTRODUCTION
John Carleton, THE REPLICATION; OR, CERTAIN VINDICATORY DEPOSITIONS
Mary Carleton, AN HISTORICAL NARRATIVE OF THE GERMAN PRINCESS
Mary Carleton, THE CASE OF MADAM MARY CARLETON
John Carleton, THE ULTIMUM VALE OF JOHN CARLETON, OF THE MIDDLE TEMPLE
F. B., VERCINGETORIXA; OR, THE GERMAN PRINCESS REDUC’D TO AN ENGLISH HABIT
T. P., A WITTY COMBAT; OR, THE FEMALE VICTOR. A TRAGI-COMEDY
THE ARRAIGNMENT, TRIAL, AND EXAMINATION OF MARY MODERS
Bibliography
Index

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