Added: October 25, 2008 – Last updated: October 7, 2017


Author: Edna Ruth Yahil

Title: A Rape Trial in Saint Eloi

Subtitle: Sex, Seduction, and Justice in the Seigneurial Courts of Medieval Paris

In: Voices from the Bench: The Narratives of Lesser Folk in Medieval Trials

Edited by: Michael Goodich

Place: New York, NY

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Year: 2006

Pages: 251-271

Series: The New Middle Ages

ISBN-10: 1403966915 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

ISBN-13: 9781403966919 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Medieval History: 15th Century | European History: French History | Cases: Offenders / Jehan Feuchre; Cases: Victims / Denise Bonnot; Offenders: Punishments / Marriage; Prosecution: Trials / Defendant's Testimonies, Trials in the 15th Century; Victims: Age and Gender / Female Adolescents; Victims: Professions / Servants


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– »The case analyzed by Edna Ruth Yahil is drawn from the seigneurial court of St. Eloi in Paris in the late fifteenth century. It concerns a young Parisian dressmaker accused of raping and "deflowering" a servant-girl, despite his allegations that full penetration had not occurred and that, in any case, she was, if not a prostitute, at least highly complicit to his advances. This unusual case, by its very rarity, indicates that gap between the master historical narrative and the evidence provided by microhistorical research. Late medieval customary and legal texts prescribe severe punishment for rape. The absence of other documented accusations of rape, and the fact that in this case the young girl's defenders were more concerned with the family's honor and reputation and forcing him to wed her, indicates the chasm separating rhetoric and reality in medieval culture. This paper exposes us to the youth culture of late medieval Paris, populated by recent immigrants, apprentices, unemployed youth, and servants.« (Source: Michael Goodich. »Introduction.« Voices from the Bench: The Narratives of Lesser Folk in Medieval Trials. Edited by Michael Goodich. New York 2006: 10)

– »Discusses the confessions of Jehan Feuchre, accused of rape examining the text’s construction of his individual biography as well as of the society in which he lived.« (Source: International Medieval Bibliography)


  Level One: The Source (p. 252)
  Level Two: Ordinary People, Ordinary Lives? (p. 254)
  Level Three: Constructing a Narrative (p. 256)
  Level Four: The Rape Accusation (p. 262)
  Notes (p. 265)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of France / France in the Middle Ages