Synopses & Reviews
Nineteenth-Century Female Poisoners investigates the Essex poisoning trials of 1846 to 1851 where three women were charged with using arsenic to kill children, their husbands and brothers. Using newspapers, archival sources (including petitions and witness depositions), and records from parliamentary debates, the focus is not on whether the women were guilty or innocent, but rather on what English society during this period made of their trials and what stereotypes and stock-stories were used to describe women who used arsenic to kill. All three women were initially presented as 'bad' women - but as the book illustrates there was no clear consensus on what exactly constituted bad womanhood.
About the Author
Victoria M. Nagy received her PhD from the Centre for Women's Studies and Gender Research, Monash University, Australia. Prior to this she was lecturer at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.
Table of Contents
Introduction; Gender and Change in Mid-Nineteenth Century England1. Crime in Nineteenth-Century England: Decline, Causes and Concerns2. Broadening the Scope: Moving Beyond Simple Sources3. Poisoning Crimes in the United Kingdom: 1839-18514. The Archetypical Poisoning Woman: Sarah Chesham's Cases5. Death Clubs, Secret Poisonings and an Execution: The Case of Mary May6. Fallen Woman or Bad Witnesses? The Case of Hannah SouthgateConclusion