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Women, Crime, and Character – From Moll Flanders to Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Women, Crime, and Character: From Moll Flanders to Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Nicola Lacey


In this book, the disappearance of Moll Flanders, and her supercession in the annals of literary female offenders in the realist tradition by heroines like Tess of the d'Urbervilles, serves as a metaphor for fundamental changes in ideas of selfhood, gender, and social order in 18th and 19th Century England. Drawing on law, literature, philosophy, and social and economic history, the book argues that these broad changes underpinned a radical shift in mechanisms of responsibility-attribution, with decisive implications for the criminalization of women. This work explores the meaning of key socia ... More

Keywords: women, crime, character, agency, selfhood, responsibility, credibility, law, literary realism, sensibility

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780199544363
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199544363.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Nicola Lacey, author
Professor of Criminal Law and Legal Theory, London School of Economics and Political Science