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A Poisoned Past: The Life and Times of Margarita De Portu, a Fourteenth-century Poisoner (Thinking Historically) Paperback – 1 Apr 2014
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This book attempts to serve two purposes: tell the story of Margarida de Portu and teach university students about microhistory. Bednarski has achieved both these goals with a well-told tale, useful pedagogical queries and suggestions, and appropriate documentation to support the arguments. - Mediaevistik
With A Poisoned Past, Bednarski has written a book that is engaging, entertaining, and learned. His study is geared more toward the advanced undergraduate student or beginning graduate student of medieval history, but novice and established scholars who work in the field of late medieval legal and social history and, to a lesser degree, medieval science, medicine, and magic, will find useful material between its covers. It would also serve quite well for graduate seminars focusing on microhistories, the intersection of gender and legal culture, and late medieval history writ large. Bednarski has also produced a book that is perfect for the classroom, the graduate seminar, and for anyone interested in how historians work. He has written a solid study and scholars and teachers who adopt his book for their own research and classes will find the life of Margarida de Portu to be valuable. For both the high quality of Bednarski's scholarship and his unwavering dedication to transparency and pedagogy, this book needs to be read far and wide. - H-France Review
This is a useful and lively study, in microhistorical mode, of a group of linked court cases from the southern French town of Manosque at the end of the fourteenth century. - Trevor Dean, Speculum
A Poisoned Past is a welcome addition to scholarship and the classroom. This book could be used in just about any course--from the introductory to the more advanced. It is also well suited to a class on historiography or historical methodology. This volume should also be read by non-medievalists as it is a remarkable resource for teaching students about the past. Bednarski has given students and their instructors much to discuss and I am looking forward to having those conversations with my own students. - Amy Livingstone, The Medieval Review
About the Author
Steven Bednarski is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at St. Jerome's University in the University of Waterloo.
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