This chapter explores how infanticide cases were interpreted through an explicitly gendered lens in nineteenth-century England and Wales. It focuses in particular on three key aspects: the spectre of the death penalty, the issue of poverty and deprivation, and mental illness. Drawing on a range of sources including archival criminal justice records, newspapers, Parliamentary Papers, and medical and legal texts, Grey demonstrates how a crime which might have been understood as an especially heinous and deviant act became, instead, stereotyped as a killing committed almost exclusively by “normal” and “respectable” women who were then invariably recipients of both official and popular sympathy. It concludes that nineteenth-century attitudes and ideas still resonate strongly in the reportage and judicial treatment of infanticide in the twenty-first century.
|Title of host publication
|Intersections of Gender, Class, and Race in the Long Nineteenth Century and Beyond
|Number of pages
|E-pub ahead of print - 30 Dec 2018
|Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture