Synopses & Reviews
Crime and the law have now been studied by historians of early modern England for more than a generation. This book attempts to reach further than most conventional treatments of the subject, to explore the cultural contexts of law-breaking and criminal prosecution, and to recover their hidden social meanings. It also examines in detail the crimes of witchcraft, coining--counterfeiting and coin-clipping--and murder, in order to reveal new and important insights into how the thinking of ordinary people was transformed between 1550 and 1750.
"Gaskill has set a new standard for the writing of socio-legal history." H-Net Reviews"Drawing extensively on archival material, Gaskill...succeeds admirably in his task....Conceptually sophisticated and deeply researched, the book will deservedly occupy a central place in the literature of early modern social history and is recommended for all academic collections." ls Choice"Gatskill offers important new insights in relating legal to cultural history." Jrnl of Interdisciplinary History"Malcolm Gaskill packs a lot of punches into 377 pages, presenting a challenging idea on almost every page...It is always riveting and never dull." Sixteenth Century Journal"[Gaskill] has a good ear and sharp eye combined with a great enthusiasm for plowing through the sources." Journal of Modern History
An exploration of the cultural contexts of law-breaking and criminal prosecution in England, 1550 1750.
This book explores the cultural contexts of law-breaking and criminal prosecution, and recovers their hidden social meanings. It also examines the crimes of witchcraft, coining and murder, in order to reveal new and important insights into how the thinking of ordinary people was transformed between 1550 and 1750.
Table of Contents
'Introduction: 1. Mentalities from crime; Part I. Witchcraft: 2. The social meaning of witchcraft, 1560 1680; 3. Witches in society and culture, 1680 1750; Part II. Coining: 4. The problem of coiners and the law; 5. Towards a solution? coining, state and people; Part III. Murder: 6. Crimes of blood and their representation; 7. Murder: police, prosecution and proof; Conclusion: 8. A transition from belief to certainty?\n