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Chabrol and the Execution of the Deed

Chabrol and the Execution of the Deed Christine and Léa Papin, Le Mans, France. 1933. Chabrol and the Execution of the Deed JEAN-CLAUDE POLACK Translated by Annette Michelson In January of 1933 the city of Le Mans was seized by the shock and horror of a murder of especial violence and apparent absence of motive. The traumatic effect of this event spread rapidly and far beyond the boundaries of this provincial city of northern France, and its fascination has persisted over the decades as a deeply enigmatic and therefore doubly troubling episode in the annals of crime and of the French judicial system. Two sisters, Christine and Léa Papin, domestics of impeccable service in the employ of the affluent middle-class Lancelin family, attacked their mistress and her daughter, gouging their eyes out with their bare hands, before proceeding to beat them to death with household implements that lay at hand. The subsequent partial butchery of the bodies and disposition of limbs suggested an attack of a somewhat eroticized sadism. The malaise and fascination generated by this episode immediately spread far beyond Le Mans, and the case awakened a strong interest among a wide range of professionals and intellectuals of the day. Both this case and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png October MIT Press

Chabrol and the Execution of the Deed

October , Volume Fall 2001 (98) – Oct 1, 2001

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Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
© 2001 October Magazine, Ltd. and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ISSN
0162-2870
eISSN
1536-013X
DOI
10.1162/octo.2001.98.1.77
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Christine and Léa Papin, Le Mans, France. 1933. Chabrol and the Execution of the Deed JEAN-CLAUDE POLACK Translated by Annette Michelson In January of 1933 the city of Le Mans was seized by the shock and horror of a murder of especial violence and apparent absence of motive. The traumatic effect of this event spread rapidly and far beyond the boundaries of this provincial city of northern France, and its fascination has persisted over the decades as a deeply enigmatic and therefore doubly troubling episode in the annals of crime and of the French judicial system. Two sisters, Christine and Léa Papin, domestics of impeccable service in the employ of the affluent middle-class Lancelin family, attacked their mistress and her daughter, gouging their eyes out with their bare hands, before proceeding to beat them to death with household implements that lay at hand. The subsequent partial butchery of the bodies and disposition of limbs suggested an attack of a somewhat eroticized sadism. The malaise and fascination generated by this episode immediately spread far beyond Le Mans, and the case awakened a strong interest among a wide range of professionals and intellectuals of the day. Both this case and

Journal

OctoberMIT Press

Published: Oct 1, 2001

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