Sunday, May 26, 2024

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!  Goody Bassett Exonerated!


The Connecticut Witch Trial Exoneration Project Spurs Third Edition of Stratford Native’s Historical Novel  The Stratford Devil

On Sale at the Stratford Library

Claude Clayton Smith grew up in Stratford with the local legend of Goody Bassett, who was hanged here for witchcraft in 1651. He was also intrigued by the tales of Indians and wolves, which form a crucial backdrop to his historical novel The Stratford Devil.

In the first edition, written during the burgeoning feminist movement and published by Walker & Company in 1984, Smith portrayed Goody Bassett as a woman ahead of her time. The second edition, from Pocahontas Press in 2007, was read as a critique of religious extremism, environmental degradation, wolf bounties, and Native American displacement. It was part of the fifteen-year educational effort in support of the legislative resolution.

Now, thanks to the success of the Connecticut Witch Trial Exoneration Project, Shanti Arts has released a third edition, with a Preface by the author. Booklist calls it “… plausible, stunning… A cunningly developed piece of historical fiction.” As Smith asserts, “In an age of political witch hunts, climate change, and attempts to limit wolf populations in states that have them, the time is ripe for stamping the story of Goody Bassett into the historical consciousness, once and for all.”

Professor Emeritus of English, Ohio Northern University, Smith earned his BA at Wesleyan, an MAT at Yale, an MFA in fiction from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, and a DA from Carnegie-Mellon.

He has gifted 100 copies of his novel to the Stratford Library, and all sales will directly benefit the library. They can be purchased at the Library’s Check-Out Desk for $15 (cash only).  Mr. Smith will return to Stratford next May for a special “Meet-the Author” program at the Stratford Library on Sunday, May 15, 2024, at 2 p.m.

For further information, call the Stratford Library Public Relations Office at: 203.385.4162.


  1. So happy my dear friend will be reappearing in our home town in Stratford this Sunday at the library and Goody Bassets Ice Cream Polar Sat. 2. He is loved and full of stories. Joyce Acebo Raguskus


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