Catalogue


The unwritten law [electronic resource] : criminal justice in Victorian Kent /
Carolyn A. Conley.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 1991.
description
ix, 244 p. : ill., map
ISBN
0195063384 (Cloth)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 1991.
isbn
0195063384 (Cloth)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Title from e-book title screen (viewed October 16, 2007).
catalogue key
7372632
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 225-237) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1991-10:
Conley's book examines the criminal justice system in Kent between 1859 and 1880. Incorporating part of suburban London, Kent was both urban and rural. Although her organization is somewhat loose, Conley provides interesting case studies of crimes in her treatment of such topics as women, children, "outlaws," class, and respectability. Her overall thesis is that justice was as much determined by local tradition as by parliamentary statute. Local prejudices and the preservation of standards set largely by the respectable males of the community gave the justices and jurors of Kent great discretion. Although many of the crimes were petty, the picture is one that corrects any lingering nostalgia for the "peaceful" Victorian age. The murder rate was twice that of the UK in 1974; 43 of the murder victims were under 12, which compares with 4 in the UK in 1974 and is about the same for the US from 1961 to 1974. Of the convicted child killers, 68 got sentences of 18 months or less. Children were often victims in many ways, as were women. The state, in any case, was slow to interfere in family matters. The book is a useful addition to the growing literature on local crime and police studies. Conley has provided an interesting and balanced treatment of her subject. Thorough documentation, good bibliography. College and university libraries. -P. T. Smith, Saint Joseph's University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A useful addition to the growing literature on local crime and police studies. Conley has provided an interesting and balanced treatment of her subject."--Choice
"A useful addition to the growing literature on local crime and policestudies. Conley has provided an interesting and balanced treatment of hersubject."--Choice
"A valuable contribution to this field."--Victorian Studies
"A valuable contribution to Victorian social history....Provides a rich resource for other more specialized historical studies, while offering a fascinating mosaic of late-Victorian society."--American Historical Review
"A valuable contribution to Victorian social history....Provides a richresource for other more specialized historical studies, while offering afascinating mosaic of late-Victorian society."--American HistoricalReview
"A well-written and succinct book that advances our understanding both of Victorian criminal justice and of the role of gender in Victorian society. Conley makes a notable advance over earlier scholarship on Victorian criminal justice."--Martin J. Weiner, Rice University
"A well-written and succinct book that advances our understanding both ofVictorian criminal justice and of the role of gender in Victorian society.Conley makes a notable advance over earlier scholarship on Victorian criminaljustice."--Martin J. Weiner, Rice University
"Conley's portrait is admirable for its balanced judgements....Herjudgments on issues of male dominance, child abuse, oppression of the poor, anda myriad of cruelties are a blend of sympathetic understanding and justcriticism, expressed an an eminently good tone."--Journal of InterdisciplinaryHistory
"Conley's portrait is admirable for its balanced judgements....Her judgments on issues of male dominance, child abuse, oppression of the poor, and a myriad of cruelties are a blend of sympathetic understanding and just criticism, expressed in an eminently good tone."--Journal ofInterdisciplinary History
"Conley's The Unwritten Law: Criminal Justice in Victorian Kent traces the important tensions implicit within the theory and practice of the criminal justice system in the 19th century....A clear, well-written, and thoughtful account of the system of criminal justice in the Victorianperiod."--Victorian Periodical Review
"Conley's The Unwritten Law: Criminal Justice in Victorian Kent traces theimportant tensions implicit within the theory and practice of the criminaljustice system in the 19th century....A clear, well-written, and thoughtfulaccount of the system of criminal justice in the Victorian period."--VictorianPeriodical Review
"First-rate local study....Provides an original and revealing portrait of the ways in which the criminal justice system affected ordinary middle- and working-class lives."--The Historian
"First-rate local study....Provides an original and revealing portrait ofthe ways in which the criminal justice system affected ordinary middle- andworking-class lives."--The Historian
"The author provides a welcome and lucid account of the operation of criminaljustice, with all its imperfections and preconceptions, as actually experienced by the population of Victorian Kent."--Albion
"The author provides a welcome and lucid account of the operation ofcriminaljustice, with all its imperfections and preconceptions, as actuallyexperienced by the population of Victorian Kent."--Albion
"This is a welcome addition to the literature on the nature of crime and criminal justice in England."--Journal of Modern History
"This is a welcome addition to the literature on the nature of crime andcriminal justice in England."--Journal of Modern History
"This is a welcome addition to the literature on the nature of crime and criminal justice in England."--Journal of Modern History "A valuable contribution to Victorian social history....Provides a rich resource for other more specialized historical studies, while offering a fascinating mosaic of late-Victorian society."--American Historical Review "With a fascinating array of cases to illustrate her argument...Conley's volume abounds in revealing insights."--Journal of Social History "A valuable contribution to this field."--Victorian Studies "A useful addition to the growing literature on local crime and police studies. Conley has provided an interesting and balanced treatment of her subject."--Choice
"This is a welcome addition to the literature on the nature of crime and criminal justice in England."-- Journal of Modern History "A valuable contribution to Victorian social history....Provides a rich resource for other more specialized historical studies, while offering a fascinating mosaic of late-Victorian society."-- American Historical Review "With a fascinating array of cases to illustrate her argument...Conley's volume abounds in revealing insights."-- Journal of Social History "A valuable contribution to this field."-- Victorian Studies "A useful addition to the growing literature on local crime and police studies. Conley has provided an interesting and balanced treatment of her subject."-- Choice
"With a fascinating array of cases to illustrate her argument...Conley's volume abounds in revealing insights."--Journal of Social History
"With a fascinating array of cases to illustrate her argument...Conley'svolume abounds in revealing insights."--Journal of Social History
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 1991
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
In the 1870s, a Kentish woman who had been repeatedly beaten by her lover retaliated by blinding him with sulphuric acid. The judge sentenced her to five years in prison. In contrast, a man who put out the eyes of a woman who left him was sentenced to only four months after telling the judge that he 'was regularly drove to do it from her aggravation'. Making innovative use of court and police records, Carolyn Conley has written a lively account of criminal justice in Victorian England. She examines the gap between the formal laws and the unwritten law of the community, as well as the ways in which judges, juries, and police officers acted as mediators between the two. The book analyses the treatment of lawbreakers according to class, gender, and community status, and in so doing presents a vivid portrait of standards of propriety and justice at the time.
Long Description
The Unwritten Law examines the values and assumptions of mid-Victorian England as revealed in the actual workings of the criminal justice system. The working definitions of criminality and justice were often influenced more by certain tacit assumptions than by the written law. Through a careful study of the ways that the status and circumstances of victims and suspects influenced judicial decisions, Conley provides important new insights into Victorian attitudes toward violence, women, children, community, and the all-important concept of respectability. She also addresses issues that continue to be of concern in today's society: How can equal justice be preserved when social and economic conditions and expectations are not equal? How can the rights of the accused be reconciled with those of victims--especially children? Can and should the courts interfere with the traditions of family and community? What standards can determine the criminality of a particular act and the justice and efficacy of punishment? This original analysis will hold special interest for students and scholars of British history, social history, and criminality and the law.
Main Description
The Unwritten Law examines the values and assumptions of mid-Victorian England as revealed in the actual workings of the criminal justice system. The working definitions of criminality and justice were often influenced more by certain tacit assumptions than by the written law. Through acareful study of the ways that the status and circumstances of victims and suspects influenced judicial decisions, Conley provides important new insights into Victorian attitudes toward violence, women, children, community, and the all-important concept of respectability. She also addresses issuesthat continue to be of concern in today's society: How can equal justice be preserved when social and economic conditions and expectations are not equal? How can the rights of the accused be reconciled with those of victims--especially children? Can and should the courts interfere with thetraditions of family and community? What standards can determine the criminality of a particular act and the justice and efficacy of punishment? This original analysis will hold special interest for students and scholars of British history, social history, and criminality and the law.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. vii
Introductionp. 3
Community Law: J.P.S, Police, and Rough Musicp. 15
Violence: Fair Fights and Brutal Cowardicep. 44
Women: Victims and Suspectsp. 68
Childrenp. 96
Outlawsp. 136
Class and Respectabilityp. 173
Conclusionp. 202
Notesp. 205
Bibliographyp. 225
Indexp. 239
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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