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Author Spector, Scott, 1959-

Title Violent sensations : sex, crime, and utopia in Vienna and Berlin, 1860-1914 / Scott Spector
Published Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, 2016
Online access available from:
ProQuest Ebook Central    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource (285 pages) : illustrations
Contents Introduction: On the border -- Dark city, bright future: utopian and dystopian urban genres around 1900 -- Identical origins: (homo)sexual subjects and violent fantasy in the 1860s -- Sensation and sensibility: experts, scandals, subjects -- Utopian bodies: the sensual woman and the lust murderer -- Blood lies: the truth about modern ritual murder accusations and defenses -- Conclusion: Utopia
Summary Around the turn of the twentieth century, Vienna and Berlin were centers of scientific knowledge, accompanied by a sense of triumphalism and confidence in progress. Yet they were also sites of fascination with urban decay, often focused on sexual and criminal deviants and the tales of violence surrounding them. Sensational media reports fed the prurient public's hunger for stories from the criminal underworld: sadism, sexual murder, serial killings, accusations of Jewish ritual child murder--as well as male and female homosexuality. In Violent Sensations, Scott Spector explores how the protagonists of these stories--people at society's margins--were given new identities defined by the groundbreaking sciences of psychiatry, sexology, and criminology, and how this expert knowledge was then transmitted to an eager public by journalists covering court cases and police investigations. The book analyzes these sexual and criminal subjects on three levels: first, the expertise of scientists, doctors, lawyers, and scholars; second, the sensationalism of newspaper scandal and pulp fiction; and, third, the subjective ways that the figures themselves came to understand who they were. Throughout, Spector answers important questions about how fantasies of extreme depravity and bestiality figure into the central European self-image of cities as centers of progressive civilization, as well as the ways in which the sciences of social control emerged alongside the burgeoning emancipation of women and homosexuals.-- Provided by Publisher
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 257-273) and index
Subject Blood accusation -- Europe, Central -- History -- 19th century.
Civilization, Modern -- 19th century.
Homosexuality -- Europe, Central -- History -- 19th century.
Lust murder -- Europe, Central -- 19th century.
Marginality, Social -- Europe, Central -- History -- 19th century.
Sex crimes in literature.
Sex crimes -- Press coverage -- Europe, Central -- History -- 19th century.
Sex crimes -- Austria -- Vienna -- History -- 19th century.
Sex crimes -- Europe, Central -- History -- 19th century.
Sex crimes -- Germany -- Berlin -- History -- 19th century.
Genre/Form History.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 022619664X