Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

...was instrumental in directing me to the Ghent University Library, which has the only extant copies of several crucial pamphlets (which Jan Art was so kind to photocopy and send to me); and Jongenelen’s contribution to De Haas 2002, which is mainly concerned with the literary production ascribed to Van Gogh, appeared while...

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Prelude: First Blood

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pp. ix-xiv

...mounting for several weeks. The infection had spread among the city’s canine population from the surrounding countryside. Eight days earlier, the authorities in the village of Ouderkerk, where Van Gogh’s mother lived, had issued a similar ordinance. It encouraged the inhabitants to club stray dogs to death. The Amsterdam purge was to begin...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xx

...vain. Eventually, his name would become known throughout the entire city of Amsterdam and far beyond. It had been eight and a half years since the previous murder that every Amsterdamer had talked about. Twice, within a decade, Amsterdam had been a witness to killing for love: two cases of lethal passion in an age of Enlightenment. These murders...

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1. A Big City in Cultural Flux: Eighteenth-Century Amsterdam

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pp. 1-20

...theater. That disaster serves as a focal point to introduce the cultural setting in which the tragedies narrated here unfolded. Unlike the microhistories presented by other scholars, whose scene is usually a village or a small town, the two narratives treated in this book are situated in Europe’s third largest city of the time. With a population of...

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2. No One Suspected He Would End As a Murderer

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pp. 21-46

...part of the Java Sea. On the inland side, a plain, overgrown with thicket that hid its muddy soil, stretched about a kilometer to the fort. Solid sandy beaches lay further along the coast, and on the horizon one could see wet rice fields and mangrove forests. The fort, erected by the first group of European adventurers led by Jan Pietersz...

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3. A New Woman

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pp. 47-66

...he got to know her. He met his new lover, like his wife, in The Hague. This time, we are sure she worked as a prostitute. A woman who knew her well said she pretended to be a skirt stitcher, but it was common knowledge that she earned her income as a “girl of pleasure.” A brothel keeper and a prostitute confirmed she lived in a house known to be a music hall.3 And in December 1766 Nathaniel himself admitted...

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4. How to Dump a Body When There Are No Cars?

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pp. 67-94

...but no one watches him. Safely in the garage, he closes the door and pauses to wipe the sweat from his brow. Then he lifts the corpse into the trunk of his car. He closes the trunk, reopens the garage door, and gets into the driver’s seat. Steering his way carefully through the streets, he arrives at the edge of town, where he takes a small...

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5. Nathaniel's Ascenscion

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pp. 95-116

...room. Sternly, the assembled magistrates inquired if she persisted in denying complicity in the murder of Cecilia Klos, despite the repeated accusations from the victim’s husband. Dora remained steadfast: “If she were guilty of this, she would not have let them inflict so much pain on her.” Upon this statement, the magistrates ordered Nathaniel Donker, “standing ready to be punished by death within a few...

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6. An Unsuccessful Career

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pp. 117-137

...mentions him. It was Tuesday, January 4, 1763. This was no drag queen but the same man whom we imagined walking in the spinhouse on a rainy day in 1774. Whether he really entered the spinhouse or not, far more consequential was a visit he made in January of the next year to a whorehouse. There he met, not Dora, but Annie—more about her later. First we must penetrate the mind of Annie’s lover, a man of riddles...

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7. An Infamous Infatuation

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pp. 138-168

...Moreover, had the later murder victim been born in 1744, it is less likely that she thought Van Gogh too old for her or that her neighbors in 1775 referred to her as a girl. In Amsterdam everyone called her Annaatje, a diminutive for Anna. This conveyed the same sense as Annie in modern English, which...

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8. Honor, Shame, and Notoriety

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pp. 169-190

...to the convict, which were usually peddled during an execution ceremony. The author of these eight lines is Van Gogh indeed, but he wrote them during Annie’s lifetime. There was some confusion whether he did so on the day of the murder or earlier; most likely, he composed the poem during one of the temporary breaks in the odd engagement. According to Van Gogh himself, he read it to his...

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9. Van Gogh's Last Blood

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pp. 191-198

...count prosecutor Dedel among the principal protagonists, the story has at least one winner. Without leaving for posterity a written appreciation of his plea, the revision committee allowed the HO to cast out the demons. The executioner’s sword was to spill Van Gogh’s last blood, avenge Annie’s, and take away the curse from the country...

Notes

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pp. 199-218

Bibliography

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pp. 219-228

Index

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pp. 229-230

Other Titles in the Series

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pp. 231-232