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Cambridge University Press
Men of Blood: Violence, Manliness, and Criminal Justice in Victorian England

Men of Blood: Violence, Manliness, and Criminal Justice in Victorian England

by Martin J. Wiener


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This Book Examines far more thoroughly than ever before the treatment of serious violence by men against women in nineteenth-century England. During Victoria's reign the criminal law came to punish such violence more systematically and heavily, while propagating a new, more pacific ideal of manliness. Yet this apparently progressive legal development called forth strong resistance, not only from violent men themselves but from others who drew upon discourses of democracy, humanitarianism, and patriarchy to establish sympathy with "men of blood."

In exploring this development and the contest it generated, Professor Wiener, author of several important works in British history, analyzes the cultural logic underlying shifting practices in nineteenth-century courts and Whitehall and locates competing cultural discourses in the everyday life of criminal justice. The tensions and dilemmas highlighted by this book are more than simply "Victorian" ones; to an important degree they remain with us. Consequently this work speaks not only to historians and to students of gender but also to criminologists and legal theorists.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521831987
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 10/31/2003
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.06(d)

About the Author

Martin J. Wiener is the Mary Jones Professor of History at Rice University. His previous books include Between Two Worlds: The Political Thought of Graham Wallas (1971), English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit (1980), and Reconstructing the Criminal (1990).

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tablesix
1Violence and Law, Gender and Law9
2When Men Killed Men40
3Sexual Violence76
4Homicidal Women and Homicidal Men: A Growing Contrast123
5Bad Wives: Drunkenness and Other Provocations170
6Bad Wives II: Adultery and the Unwritten Law201
7Establishing Intention: Probing the Mind of a Wife Killer240
Conclusion: The New "Reasonable Man" and Twentieth-Century Britain289

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