A CASE OF CHILD MURDER Law and Science in Nineteenth-Century Tuscany

Author: Guarnieri (Patrizia)
Year: 1993
Publisher: Polity Press
Edition Details: 1stUK Edn.
Book Condition: F/F
ISBN: 9780745609034
Price: 15.00
Hardback. First published in Italy as 'L'Ammazzabambini' in 1988. Tr. by Claudia Mieville. Between 1873 and 1875 4 children disappeared without trace from a small village in Tuscany. Eventually, the mystery was solved: Carlo Grandi, a 24yr old cartwright living in the village, was caught while beating a young boy, apparently on the point of killing him. The corpses of the 4 children were found buried in Grandi's workshop. The author examines in detail the ensuing murder trial: the brief investigation leading quickly to the confession of the alleged killer and his indictment, the course of the 'insanity trial' which followed, the enormous attention which it drew, and the medical, legal and public reactions to the conviction. This trial is historically important, the author argues, because it marks one of the first appearances in court of scientists debating the state of mental illness or sanity of the defendant, and his responsibility for the crime. She describes how the trial became a battleground for different definitions of madness between, on the one hand, the conception of mental illness as a lack of any intellectual and rational faculty, and on the other, the more modern idea of 'moral insanity' which implied uncontrolled and unmotivated behaviour. She examines the social profiles of those involved in the trial - the various witnesses, mothers and children in the village, the examining magistrate, and the defendant himself - and describes the complexity of reasons underpinning their behaviour during the trials. A meticulous and engaging reconstruction of an important episode in the history of law and medicine. With 2 Illus., Notes and Index. 210pp. 8vo. h/back. From the library of true crime writer, Wilfred Gregg, with his personal b/plate. F. in F. dw.


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