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Martin Faber, the story of a criminal: and other tales pp. 60-61

William Gilmore Simms
University of Nashville Collection, Vanderbilt University Special Collections

The story is told from the point of view of Martin Faber, who was in jail and awaiting execution after murdering Emily Andrews, his pregnant lover, who threatened to tell his fiancée about their relationship. Faber, who here describes how he strangled Andrews, attempts to portray himself as a sympathetic character whose nature is fundamentally cruel. Faber portrays himself as a victim to his uncontrollably violent and unempathetic nature. He is controlled by his lack of morality rather than him controlling it. This depiction of a murderer led some critics to believe that this novel was the first to examine the psychology of murderers. Book like Martin Faber were available for students to read in literary societies and school libraries.