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The Crime in Mind: Criminal Responsibility and the Victorian Novel
     

The Crime in Mind: Criminal Responsibility and the Victorian Novel

by Lisa Rodensky
 

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This interdisciplinary study of legal and literary narratives argues that the novel's particular power to represent the interior life of its characters both challenges the law's definitions of criminal responsibility and reaffirms them. By means of connecting major novelists with prominent jurists and legal historians of the era, it offers profound new ways of

Overview

This interdisciplinary study of legal and literary narratives argues that the novel's particular power to represent the interior life of its characters both challenges the law's definitions of criminal responsibility and reaffirms them. By means of connecting major novelists with prominent jurists and legal historians of the era, it offers profound new ways of thinking about the Victorian period.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] consistently intelligent study.... The value of this thoughtful book lies not just in adding to our understanding of the relationships between law and literature, but to debates about the developing Victorian notions of the inner self and of personal identity."—Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

"The Crime in Mind is at once learned and elegant. Rodensky's writing is as clear as writing about the law needs to be—and that of course is very clear. Her reading of James Fitzjames Stephen will be eye-opening for readers new to his work and will deservedly renew scholarly interest in one of the most remarkable members of a most remarkable family. This is a book that belongs on the shelf of any scholar of the Victorian novel as well as of Victorianists interested in cultural criticism, intellectual history, and the relations between literature and the law."—Robert Newsom, University of California, Irvine

"People are responsible for their actions and not for their thoughts alone, the law assumes. But the connection between the internal and external elements that must be made to prove a crime—between intent and act—often fades away under scrutiny, which can make it no simple matter to pin down responsibility for all kinds of wrongs. Delving into classics like Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist and George Eliot's Middlemarch, Lisa Rodensky explains how the influence of this arresting idea grew as a result of a remarkable interrelationship between law and literature. She has done an exceptional piece of scholarly work, and written a revelatory book."—Lincoln Caplan, Editor, Legal Affairs

"The Crime in Mind creates an intricate and compelling dialogue between nineteenth-century legal philosophers and Victorian novelists. Trained in both law and literature, Lisa Rodensky brings a marvelous gift for articulating distinctions to bear on the relations between thoughts and acts, acts and intentions, intentions and consequences. In the process, she offers some of the best commentary available on the activities of third-person narrators as they move in and out of their characters's minds."—Rosemarie Bodenheimer, Boston College

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780198034353
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
10/23/2003
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
478 KB

Meet the Author

Lisa Rodensky is Assistant Professor of English at Wellesley College.

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