The History of a Word 02/07/20
Newes From The Dead
This intriguing novel is based on the case of maidservant, Anne Green, 'hanged for infanticide at Oxford Assizes in 1650. Restored to the world and died again in 1665'.
Through a cleverly structured dual narrative Anne's story unfolds from unconsciousness - a woeful tale of seduction by her Master's grandson, pregnancy then still-birth, followed by imprisonment, trial and hanging.
Her revival is recounted by Robert Matthews, a young scholar attending the dissection of Anne's body, who notices the first flickers of life.
This is strong stuff, with gruesome details aplenty, but Anne and Robert's voices ring true and it's a fascinating insight into a time when the upper classes wielded life-or-death power, and ideas about medicine, science and religion were in constant flux.