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Bluebeard: The Life and Crimes of Gilles de Rais
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Bluebeard: The Life and Crimes of Gilles de Rais

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  58 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Leonard Wolf is a professor of English at San Francisco State University. He annotated "Dracula" and "Frankenstein", and wrote other books. This 1980 book is about the life and crimes of Gilles de Rais in the XV century, the ending decades of the Middle Ages. Bluebeard was a wealthy and cultured noble who fought with Joan of Arc to unite France under Charles VII. Unlike th ...more
Hardcover, 259 pages
Published June 11th 1980 by Random House Value Publishing
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Aaron Meyer
Nov 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
How to start. Gilles de Rais had everything, absolutely everything going for him. Money, land, title, friends in high places, and companion to Joan of Arc. The man was definitely torn between God and the Devil, which we all are to some degree or another. The crimes he committed are unpardonable and for the church to bury him on holy ground and not burn him to ash like his accomplices is beyond my comprehension. The author does a good job in bringing together evidence and doesn't expand the evide ...more
The story of the life and times of Gilles De Rais, a famous and obscenely wealthy French nobleman who achieved great honor as a warrior and fought alongside Joan of Arc...and was eventually put to death for kidnapping, raping, torturing and murdering scores of children, mainly the sons of local peasants.

Not all that much is known about this fifteenth-century figure (one of the earliest serial killers known to history), but Leonard Wolf does a respectable job fleshing out his life. He speculates
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
I picked up Bluebeard: The Life and Crimes of Gilles de Rais at my local library. I didn't expect much, considering how spotty records tend to be during the fifteenth century and the probable sensationalism inspired by a certifiable serial killer who happened to be fabulously wealthy. Early on, the book wastes time running though most of Jeanne D'arc's life as well, because Gilles and Jeanne knew each other; not really necessary--especially considering that most of de Rais' accomplices (who proc ...more
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The tragic tale of a tragic man whose metamorphosis from a knight of god, into one of the most notorious serial killers in history. Among my favorite themes in books involving Gilles de Rais, is the involvement and his love for Jeanne d'Arc.
Fraser Sherman
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book provides the basics of de Rais' strange career--Marshall of France, ally of Joan of Arc, child-murdering fiend--but suffers from Wolf writing as much as if this were literary criticism than history, and filling in way too many gaps with groundless speculation. I'm not sure there's a better source for de Rais' life, but there should be.
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was a really strange book. The author blatantly quotes fictional sources, acknowledging that they are fiction but then using them at face value. It's not really lit crit, and it's not really history either. For the most part the author seems to be speculating and creating rather than analyzing. And as prose goes, it's really purple. Very, very overwrought.
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