I, PIERRE REVIERE, HAVING SLAUGHTERED MY MOTHER, MY SISTER, AND MY BROTHER: A Case of Parricide in the 19th Century by Michel -- Ed. Foucault

I, PIERRE REVIERE, HAVING SLAUGHTERED MY MOTHER, MY SISTER, AND MY BROTHER: A Case of Parricide in the 19th Century

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KIRKUS REVIEW

. . . in cold blood, and in my right mind, and perhaps or perhaps not with premeditation? This 19th century French case which took place in a little village was not a ""notable crime,"" for all the horror of the three exsanguinating victims, but it has left many residual uncertainties and ""undecidables."" Was Pierre, twenty, an idiot, a monster or a martyr? This peasant boy who said he could hardly read or write left a long memoir of the case, written in prison, of remarkable clarity (beauty? as it is claimed here). The family had a history of insanity, but had he feigned madness or been inspired by God? This collection of pieces, including his own account as well as affiliated records, is followed by monographs by other contributors as well as Foucault. It will be seen that the case itself set off many contradictions and conflicts among both doctors and judges at the time; fearing an association of parricide with regicide, it levitated to a political realm; finally one of the authors goes still higher or in deeper into the metaphysics of truth of ""fact"" or ""spirit."" The account is thus far more than a curio -- it's a fascinator capable of considerable extension at many levels. One can read it, as many will, for its wanton violence or leave it speculating on the many divisions within the self as well as within society which we still have to resolve.

Pub Date: April 25th, 1975
Publisher: Pantheon