"But the novella's awkward swings between high emotion and jejune sociological comment and its profusion of accusatory rhetorical questions make it of only minimal literary interest."
This impassioned early (1829) work, which depicts the "six-week death agony and . . . day-long death rattle" of a condemned prisoner awaiting execution, isn't so much fiction as it is a broadside against the barbarity of the guillotine.
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