Women, Crime, and Character: From Moll Flanders to Tess of the DUrbervilles by Nicola Lacey

Women, Crime, and Character: From Moll Flanders to Tess of the DUrbervilles

byNicola Lacey

Hardcover | October 1, 2008

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In the early 18th Century, Daniel Defoe found it natural to write a novel whose heroine was a sexually adventurous, socially marginal property offender. Only half a century later, this would have been next to unthinkable. Lacey explores the disappearance of Moll, and her supercession in theannals of literary female offenders by heroines like Tess, serving as a metaphor for fundamental changes in ideas of selfhood, gender and social order in 18th and 19th Century England. Drawing on law, literature, philosophy and social history, she argues that these broad changes underpinned aradical shift in mechanisms of responsibility-attribution, with decisive implications for the criminalisation of women.This book examines how the treatment and understanding of female criminality was changing during the era which saw the construction of the main building blocks of the modern criminal process, and of how these understandings related in turn to broader ideas about gender, social order and individualagency. Lacey tells the story of the shifting relationship between informal codes of norms such as the 'cult of sensibility' and the formal system of criminal justice, and of the impact on women and on understandings of femininity of these complementary systems of discipline. By drawing on a widevariety of sources, it casts light into corners which remain obscure in accounts informed by a single discipline.

About The Author

Nicola Lacey is Professor of Criminal Law and Legal Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
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Details & Specs

Title:Women, Crime, and Character: From Moll Flanders to Tess of the DUrbervillesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:150 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.59 inPublished:October 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199544360

ISBN - 13:9780199544363

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Table of Contents

Preface1. 'Don't go to murder my character': criminal responsibility in the age of Moll Flanders2. 'What is the use of a woman's will?': the demise of Moll in the age of sensibility3. 'The weaker half of the human family'?: responsibility, mind and morals in the age of Tess.Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

"The fascinating biography of a complex and brilliant man. Lacey's account vividly recreates the postwar Oxford climate in philosophy and jurisprudence, and paints Hart's life inside and outside the university with sensitivity, wit, and authority." --Simon Blackburn, Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge