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Crime and Insanity (Historiography)

Key Reading

  • Clive Emsley, Crime and Society in England, esp ch 8

Further Reading

  • Jonathan Andrews, 'From stack-firing to pyromania: medico-legal concepts of insane arson in British, US and European contexts, 1800-1913', History of Psychiatry, vols 21, numbers 3 & 4 (two part article) 2010
  • Joel Peter Eigen, ‘”I answer as a physician”: Opinion as Fact in Pre-McNaughtan Insanity Trials’, in Michael Clark and Catherine Crawford (eds), Legal Medicine in History
  • Joel Peter Eigen, Unconscious Crime: Mental Absence and Criminal Responsibility in Victorian London
  • Ruth Harris, Murders and Madness: Medicine, Law, and Society in the fin de siecle
  • Mark Jackson, ‘”It Begins with the Goose and Ends with the Goose”: Medical, Legal, and Lay Understandings of Imbecility in Ingram v Wyatt, 1824- 1832’, Social History of Medicine, 11 (1998)

    Brenden D. Kelly, ‘Poverty, Crime and Mental Illness: Female Forensic Psychiatric Committal in Ireland, 1910- 1948’, Social History of Medicine, 21 (2008)

  • Hilary Marland, ‘Getting away with Murder? Puerperal Insanity, Infanticide and the Defence Plea’, in Mark Jackson (ed.), Infanticide: Historical Perspectives on Child Murder and Concealment, 1550-2000
  • Pauline Prior, Gender, Crime and Mental Disorder in Nineteenth-Century Ireland
  • Daniel N. Robinson, Wild Beasts and Idle Humours: The Insanity Defence from Antiquity to the Present
  • Vieda Skultans, Madness and Morals: Ideas on Insanity in the Nineteenth Century, ch. 9 ‘Idiocy, Criminal Lunacy and Pauper Lunacy’
  • Jade Shepherd, 'One of the best fathers until he went out of his mind: Paternal Child murder', Journal of Victorian Culture, 2013
  • Roger Smith, ‘The Boundary Between Insanity and Criminal Responsibility in Nineteenth-Century England’, in Joel Peter Eigen, Madhouses, Mad-Doctors, and Madmen
  • Roger Smith, Trial by Medicine: Insanity and Responsibility in Victorian Trials
  • Janet A. Tighe, ‘The Legal Art of Psychiatric Diagnosis: Searching for Reliability’, in Charles E. Rosenberg and Janet Golden (eds), Framing Disease: Studies in Cultural History
  • Nigel Walker, Crime and Insanity in England, vols. 1 and 11

Seminar Questions

  • When did insanity start to be viewed as a legitimate defence? Which crimes was it mostly applied to?
  • How was madness defined by the courts?
  • Are there gender differences in pleas of insanity?
  • What are the connections between madness and crime?