Writing British Infanticide: Child-Murder, Gender, and Print, 1722-1859

Synopsis

"The essays brought together in this volume pose the question: How are we to understand the proliferation of writing about child-murder in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain, or, more specifically, the overlap of an expanding print culture with the widely evident narration of this particular crime? Further, what are we to make of the recurrent and remarkably consistent representation of child-murder as the special province of unmarried, desperate women?" "Writing British Infanticide demonstrates the ways that narratives of child-murder in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain reflect, and in certain ways elicit, complexity if not outright paradox: it was a capital crime for which most of those indicted received no punishment; a crime definitive of barbarity for which juries and many observing writers urged sympathy; a crime in which the consideration of alleged perpetrators' motivations repeatedly founders in an inability to understand the economic and the affective as related. So doing, it argues both for the role of "writing British infanticide" in an emergent professionalism dependent upon print and for the special utility of a focus upon child-murder to the evaluation of the mutual constitution of gender and class." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved