Constructing the Murderous Harlot in Tudor London

Monday, January 5, 2015: 12:20 PM
Concourse D (New York Hilton)
Shannon McSheffrey, Concordia University (Montreal)
McSheffrey's paper will examine a notorious murder in London in 1533: two Italian merchants visiting the city were first seduced by a woman named Alice Wolfe and then lured into a boat on the Thames where they were stabbed and robbed by Alice's husband and several other men. Many contemporaries saw Alice, a "diabolical harlot," as embodying a particular nexus of female evil; this paper will look in particular at the intersection between her "harlotry" and the murder, putting the stories about her into the context of other prosecutions of women murderers, and of attitudes towards and regulation of the sex trade in London in Henry VIII's reign.
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