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
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)
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(Newser) – 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.