Thursday, May 30, 2024

Sunday Afternoon Talks


The Stratford Devil

Sunday, May 19 at 2-3:30 P.M.
Stratford Library Lovell Room
Free and open to the public

Hosted by Charles Lautier of Stratford

Guest speaker Claude Clayton Smith will discuss The Stratford Devil, his book about Stratford’s recently exonerated witch, Goody Bassett. This concludes the season’s “Sunday Afternoon Talks”, the Library’s informative and entertaining series featuring prominent local guest speakers. 

Claude Clayton Smith grew up in Stratford, where local legend has it that Goody Bassett was hanged for witchcraft in 1651. He was also intrigued by the tales of Indians and wolves, which form a crucial backdrop to his historical novel. In the first edition, written during the burgeoning feminist movement and published 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 15-year educational effort in support of the legislative resolution.

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 The Stratford Devil to the Stratford Library and all sales will directly benefit the agency. They can currently be purchased at the Library’s Check-Out Desk for $15 (cash only), and autographed copies will also be available after Smith’s talk.

For further information visit: or call the Library at: 203.385-4162.


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