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Modern view

Post by wangrong on Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:06 am

Richard Turpin (1739), a mixture of fact and fiction hurriedly put together in the wake of the trial, to satisfy a gullible public.[85] The speeches of the condemned, biographies of criminals, and trial literature, were popular genres during the late 17th and early 18th centuries; written for a mass audience and a precursor to the modern novel, they were "produced on a scale which beggars comparison with any period before or since".[86] Such literature functioned as news and a "forum in which anxieties about crime, punishment, sin, salvation, the workings of providence and social and moral transgression generally could be expressed and negotiated."[87]
Bayes' document contains elements of conjecture; for instance, his claim that Turpin was married to a Miss Palmer (and not Elizabeth Millington) is almost certainly incorrect,[5] and the date of Turpin's marriage, for which no documentary evidence has been found, appears to be based solely on Bayes' claim that in 1739 Turpin had married 11 or 12 years earlier.[85] His account of those present during the robberies committed by the Essex Gang often contains names that never appeared in contemporary newspaper reports, suggesting, according to author Derek Barlow, that Bayes embellished his story. Bayes' description of Turpin's relationship with "King the Highwayman" is almost certainly fictional. Turpin may have known Matthew King as early as 1734,[nb 11] and had an active association with him from February 1737, but the story of the "Gentleman Highwayman" may have been created only to link the end of the Essex gang with the author's own recollection of events.[89] Barlow also views the account of the theft of Turpin's corpse, appended to Thomas Kyll's publication of 1739, as "handled with such delicacy as to amount almost to reverence", and therefore of suspect provenance.[2]

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