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The Wife of Martin Guerre

Janet Lewis

Publication Year: 2013

In this new edition of Janet Lewis’s classic short novel, The Wife of Martin Guerre, Swallow Press executive editor Kevin Haworth writes that Lewis’s story is “a short novel of astonishing depth and resonance, a sharply drawn historical tale that asks contemporary questions about identity and belonging, about men and women, and about an individual’s capacity to act within an inflexible system.” Originally published in 1941, The Wife of Martin Guerre has earned the respect and admiration of critics and readers for over sixty years.

Based on a notorious trial in sixteenth-century France, this story of Bertrande de Rols is the first of three novels making up Lewis’s Cases of Circumstantial Evidence suite (the other two are The Trial of Sören Qvist and The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron).

Swallow Press is delighted and honored to offer readers beautiful new editions of all three Cases of Circumstantial Evidence novels, each featuring a new introduction by Kevin Haworth.

Published by: Ohio University Press

Series: Cases of Circumstantial Evidence

Praise, Title Page, Series Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xvi

The Wife of Martin Guerre, Janet Lewis’s most celebrated novel, emerged from the gift of a good book from husband to wife. Sometime in the 1930s the renowned poet Yvor Winters gave his wife and fellow writer Lewis an old law book, Samuel March Phillips’s Famous Cases of Circumstantial Evidence, thinking that she might find it helpful after she mentioned that she was having trouble with one of her plots. ...

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Foreword for the First Swallow Press Edition

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pp. xvii-xviii

I first came upon the story of the wife of Martin Guerre in a collection called. Famous Cases of Circumstantial Evidence. This volume contained, together with an essay, The Theory of Presumptive Proof, by Samuel March Phillips (1780–1862) (who in 1814 with the publication of his book Phillips on Evidence superseded Chief Baron Gilbert as an authority on the English law of evidence), ...

The Wife of Martin Guerre

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I. Artigues

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pp. 3-64

One morning in January, 1539, a wedding was celebrated in the village of Artigues. That night the two children who had been espoused to one another lay in bed in the house of the groom’s father. They were Bertrande de Rols, aged eleven years, and Martin Guerre, who was no older, both offspring of rich peasant families as ancient, as feudal and as proud as any of the great seignorial houses of Gascony. ...

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II. Rieux

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pp. 65-72

The accusation had been made at Rieux, since Artigues was too small a place to boast a court, and thither Bertrande went with her uncle, Pierre, and the servants who were to be called as witnesses. She stayed in the house of her mother’s sister, occupying the same room which she had been given on her earlier visit, and in which the sun had always seemed to shine through western windows in the morning. ...

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III. Toulouse

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pp. 73-98

It is difficult to relate all that Bertrande de Rols suffered in the days which followed directly upon this decision. She returned to Artigues, to a house in which all peace and contentment had been destroyed. Nor was there anyone in Artigues, except Martin’s uncle, who did not by word or gesture blame her for this destruction. ...

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Afterword: The Return of Janet Lewis

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pp. 99-116

In 1922 the printer-typographer Monroe Wheeler, who would go on to have a long and distinguished career with MoMA, set off to be a young-man-about-Europe. He was determined to publish poetry and publish it elegantly, to which end he established (first in Germany) an imprint called Manikin, under which he issued three booklets of verse. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780804040532
E-ISBN-10: 0804040532
Print-ISBN-13: 9780804011433
Print-ISBN-10: 0804011435

Page Count: 136
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1
Series Title: Cases of Circumstantial Evidence