Fritzl's Crimes Rooted in Literary History

Dark Austrian captivity stories formed his 'cultural matrix'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2008 8:03 PM CDT
Fritzl's Crimes Rooted in Literary History
Reporters are reflected in the sunglasses of an Austrian police officer standing outside the house of Josef Fritzl in Amstetten, Lower Austria, on Wednesday, April 30, 2008.   (AP Photo/Hans Punz)

Josef Fritzl's crimes stunned the world, but such demented patriarchs have long haunted Austrian literature. The dark 1852 story "Turmalin" depicts a deranged husband locking up his daughter; the 1917 novel The Grave of the Living tells of a troubled family and an imprisoned child. "This is the cultural matrix from which Josef Fritzl emerged," writes Ritchie Robertson in the Times Literary Supplement. (More Josef Fritzl stories.)

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