Reading of A Poisoned Past, followed by Q & A.
This is the story of Margarida de Portu, a fourteenth-century French medieval woman accused of poisoning her husband to death. As Bednarski points out, the story is important not so much for what it tells us about Margarida but for how it illuminates a past world. Through the depositions and accusations made in court, the reader learns much about medieval women, female agency, kin networks, solidarity, sex, sickness, medicine, and law.
"Nothing better stirs the hearts and minds of modern students than a lively small story abrim with the strange stuff of life long gone. Steven Bednarski knows that well; he employs microhistory's wiles to catch his readers' imaginations and sharpen their scholarly wits. This is a charming way to teach good historical method." (Thomas V. Cohen, York University)
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