Wild Beasts And Idle Humors / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$27.00
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 92%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $27.87   
  • Used (7) from $1.99   

Overview

How does the law regard and define mental incompetence, when faced with the problem of meting out justice? To what extent has the law relied on extra-legal authorities--be they religious or scientific--to frame its own categories of mental incompetence and madness? Wild Beasts and Idle Humours takes us on an illuminating journey through the changing historical landscape of human nature and offers an unprecedented look at the legal conceptions of insanity from the pre-classical Greek world to the present. Although actual trial records are either totally lacking or incomplete until the eighteenth century, there are other sources from which the insanity defenses can be constructed.

In this book Daniel Robinson, a distinguished historian of psychology, pores over centuries of written law, statements by legal commentators, summaries of crimes, and punishments, to glean from these sources an understanding of epochal views of responsibility and competence. From the Greek phrenesis to the Roman notions of furiosus and non compos mentis, from the seventeenth-century witch trials to today's interpretation of mens rea, Robinson takes us through history and provides the intricate story of how the insanity defense has been construed as a meeting point of the law and those professions that chart human behavior and conduct: namely religion, medicine, and psychology. The result is a rare historical account of "insanity" within western civilization.

Wild Beasts and Idle Humours will be essential reading for anyone interested in the evolution of thinking not merely about legal insanity but about such core concepts as responsibility, fitness for the rule of law, competence to enter into contracts and covenants, the role of punishments, and the place of experts within the overall juridical context.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Times [UK]

An American psychologist, Daniel N. Robinson, traces the development of the insanity plea...[He offers] an assured historical survey.
— Roy Porter

The Nation

Daniel N. Robinson has written a graceful history of insanity and the law stretching from Homer to Hinckley. He attempts no final theory as to how the law should cope with the insane; he seeks, rather, to use the shifting notions of when madness exculpates criminal activity to illuminate the core self-perceptions of the cultures developing ever-evolving resolutions of the problem...[T]he grandeur of the theme—starting with Agamemnon's crazed humiliation of Achilles and ending yesterday—commands attention and respect.
— Neal Johnston

Choice
Anyone interested in the nature, meaning, and justification of an insanity defense will profit from Robinson's book, whether beginning an examination of that defense or seeking a deeper understanding of it...Highly recommended.
Contemporary Review [UK]

Professor Robinson's interesting and scholarly book is the first to deal with the history of legal insanity from Ancient Greece and Rome to modern times...Most of the book, dealing with a topic so little known, is fascinating.
— Radmila May

The Federal Lawyer

[A] wonderful book...This work ultimately stands as a treatise on Western law's ongoing struggle to contend with a hodge-podge of mental illnesses, unfortunate coincidences, and other unexplained phenomena, dealt with until recently under the rubric of 'magic.' It would be a shame for psychologists, psychiatrists, and legal scholars to miss out on this book...No comprehensive collection of works in this area would be complete without a copy of Wild Beasts and Idle Humours.
— Eric Drogin

Appellate Practice Journal and Update

This book is a unique study. It is of great value because of the diversity, richness, and depth of intelligence which is brought to bear on its subject. The author is extremely well-read. He makes deft use of the history of ideas, theology, religious history, medicine and its history, political theory, jurisprudence, literary history, and the rules of evidence as they pertain to expert testimony. He is familiar with the resources of these many disciplines and demonstrates a remarkable ability to have them 'play' together, the way a philharmonic conductor leads the different sections of an orchestra. This is an intellectual symphony of a book.
— Dennis Owens

The Times [UK] - Roy Porter
An American psychologist, Daniel N. Robinson, traces the development of the insanity plea...[He offers] an assured historical survey.
The Nation - Neal Johnston
Daniel N. Robinson has written a graceful history of insanity and the law stretching from Homer to Hinckley. He attempts no final theory as to how the law should cope with the insane; he seeks, rather, to use the shifting notions of when madness exculpates criminal activity to illuminate the core self-perceptions of the cultures developing ever-evolving resolutions of the problem...[T]he grandeur of the theme--starting with Agamemnon's crazed humiliation of Achilles and ending yesterday--commands attention and respect.
Contemporary Review [UK] - Radmila May
Professor Robinson's interesting and scholarly book is the first to deal with the history of legal insanity from Ancient Greece and Rome to modern times...Most of the book, dealing with a topic so little known, is fascinating.
The Federal Lawyer - Eric Drogin
[A] wonderful book...This work ultimately stands as a treatise on Western law's ongoing struggle to contend with a hodge-podge of mental illnesses, unfortunate coincidences, and other unexplained phenomena, dealt with until recently under the rubric of 'magic.' It would be a shame for psychologists, psychiatrists, and legal scholars to miss out on this book...No comprehensive collection of works in this area would be complete without a copy of Wild Beasts and Idle Humours.
Michael L. Perlin
Wild Beasts and Idle Humours is truly unique. It synthesizes material that I do not believe has ever been considered in this context, and links up the historical past with contemporaneous values and politics. Robinson effortlessly weaves religious history, literary history, medical history, and political history, and demonstrates how the insanity defense cannot be fully understood without consideration of all these sources.
Dr. Robert Kinscherff
A detailed historical anthropology of legal insanity that draws upon multiple and rich historical sources from antiquity to the present. Wild Beasts and Idle Humours reads like the inner workings of a fascinating and disciplined narrative mind.
Appellate Practice Journal and Update - Dennis Owens
This book is a unique study. It is of great value because of the diversity, richness, and depth of intelligence which is brought to bear on its subject. The author is extremely well-read. He makes deft use of the history of ideas, theology, religious history, medicine and its history, political theory, jurisprudence, literary history, and the rules of evidence as they pertain to expert testimony. He is familiar with the resources of these many disciplines and demonstrates a remarkable ability to have them 'play' together, the way a philharmonic conductor leads the different sections of an orchestra. This is an intellectual symphony of a book.
The Nation
Daniel N. Robinson has written a graceful history of insanity and the law stretching from Homer to Hinckley. He attempts no final theory as to how the law should cope with the insane; he seeks, rather, to use the shifting notions of when madness exculpates criminal activity to illuminate the core self-perceptions of the cultures developing ever-evolving resolutions of the problem...[T]he grandeur of the theme--starting with Agamemnon's crazed humiliation of Achilles and ending yesterday--commands attention and respect.
— Neal Johnston
The Times [UK]
An American psychologist, Daniel N. Robinson, traces the development of the insanity plea...[He offers] an assured historical survey.
— Roy Porter
The Federal Lawyer
[A] wonderful book...This work ultimately stands as a treatise on Western law's ongoing struggle to contend with a hodge-podge of mental illnesses, unfortunate coincidences, and other unexplained phenomena, dealt with until recently under the rubric of 'magic.' It would be a shame for psychologists, psychiatrists, and legal scholars to miss out on this book...No comprehensive collection of works in this area would be complete without a copy of Wild Beasts and Idle Humours.
— Eric Drogin
Contemporary Review [UK]
Professor Robinson's interesting and scholarly book is the first to deal with the history of legal insanity from Ancient Greece and Rome to modern times...Most of the book, dealing with a topic so little known, is fascinating.
— Radmila May
Appellate Practice Journal and Update
This book is a unique study. It is of great value because of the diversity, richness, and depth of intelligence which is brought to bear on its subject. The author is extremely well-read. He makes deft use of the history of ideas, theology, religious history, medicine and its history, political theory, jurisprudence, literary history, and the rules of evidence as they pertain to expert testimony. He is familiar with the resources of these many disciplines and demonstrates a remarkable ability to have them 'play' together, the way a philharmonic conductor leads the different sections of an orchestra. This is an intellectual symphony of a book.
— Dennis Owens
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674952904
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/13/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 0.70 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel N. Robinson is Distinguished Professor, Emeritus at Georgetown University and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction

Furiosi

Immortal Souls, Mortal Cities

Possession and Witchcraft

Wild Beasts and Idle Humours

The Rise of Medical Jurisprudence

Jural Science and Social Science

Notes

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)