The McNaughtan Rules of l had formalized the Victorian insanity plea, guiding the courts in cases of alleged delusion and derangement.
But as Eigen makes clear in the cases he discovered, even though defense attorneys attempted to broaden the definition of insanity to include mental absence, the courts and physicians who testified as experts were wary of these novel challenges to the idea of human agency and responsibility. Combining the colorful intrigue of courtroom drama and the keen insights of social history, Unconscious Crime depicts Victorian England's legal and medical cultures confronting a new understanding of human behavior, and provocatively suggests these trials represent the earliest incarnation of double consciousness and multiple personality disorder.
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- Crime and Insanity (Historiography).
- Further Reading;
- A Look at the Collections: Unconscious Crime by Joel Peter Eigen.
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