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Broadside entitled 'Life, Sufferings, and Death of Janet Fleming'


This narrative begins: 'Daughter of a respectable Farmer near Dunse who was seduced by a profligate young Nobleman - - brought to Edinburgh, and kept in the greatest splendour [f]or sometime and then cruelly deserted and thrown upon the town'. A bedside-mourning woodcut has been included in the middle of the page to heighten the drama.

This broadside recounts the tale of a country lass, seduced into an unmarried relationship and then rejected by her lover. As a result of her now unacceptable status she is forced into prostitution, whereupon she catches a fatal disease. Many broadsides and especially ballads show great concern about the seduction of innocent teenagers, although how widespread this problem was is debatable. There is also emphasis placed on the bad consequences of disobeying one's parents amongst many broadsides.

Broadsides, cheap and accessible, were often used as moral forums with 'lessons of life' included in the narrative. Broadside authors tended to see themselves as moral guardians and teachers in society. As such, publishers often disseminated 'educational' texts outlining the social and personal consequences of undisciplined or immoral behaviour.

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Probable period of publication: 1830-1840   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(369a)
Broadside entitled 'Life, Sufferings, and Death of Janet Fleming'
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