A Butcher 's Tale And Alain Corbin 's Village Of Cannibals

1847 WordsNov 4, 20158 Pages
Helmut Walser Smith’s A Butcher’s Tale and Alain Corbin’s Village of Cannibals, present case studies of historical accounts which demonstrate the power of masses and of crowd violence in the small Prussian town of Konitz and the isolated French village of Hautefaye. Small towns are generally attributed to communal characteristics where citizens help and protect one another; however, the events that unraveled in these two cases generated a shock factor to the neighboring towns as it exemplified the power of rumor and the overall naivety of the inhabitants of the two towns. These case studies are also reflections of how the most civilized of societies are able to resort to barbaric actions through mere hearsay and allow their prejudices to shape their perception. This paper will examine the dynamics of the crowd, the explanation for the unfolding events and the ways in which both authors reach their conclusions of the unraveling of these events. The particular unfolding of events in both case studies of the historical accounts of violence which occurs in these two small towns is explained through the notion of rumor as a news source. Smith’s A Butcher’s Tale investigates the anti-Semitic violence in the town of Konitz reconstructing the murder of an eighteen year old boy Ernst Winter whose body had been found brutally dismembered. At first the murder goes unnoticed; however, two days later body parts slowly start to make their way around town followed by the baseless

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