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Crime Reads defines “femme fatale” in excerpt from Laura James The Beauty Defense

Feb 25th, 2020

The Beauty Defense by Laura James. Kent State University PressEver wonder what makes a femme fatale? Find that out and more in Crime Reads’ extended excerpt from The Beauty Defense: Femmes Fatales on Trial by Laura James.

“Classical literature is filled with infectious damsels and dead heroes. ‘The betrayal of a king or hero by his mistress is, in short, a story both old and popular,’ writes historian Wolfgang Lederer, ‘and many a man has actually lost his life because of it: from Samson who lost his hair and hide through Delilah, to the various victims of Mata Hari and her successors of today. . . . The “demon woman” is a mythological type, and appears either as the companion of the enemy, or as the seductress of the hero; she sleeps with him—or at least promises to—and kills him.’”

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