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Type: Journal article
Title: Emotions, power and popular opinion about the administration justice: the english experience, from Coke’s ‘Artificial Reason’ to the sensibility of ‘True Crime Stories’
Author: Lemmings, D.
Citation: EMOTIONS-HISTORY CULTURE SOCIETY, 2017; 1(1):59-90
Publisher: The Society for the History of Emotion
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 2206-7485
Statement of
David Lemmings
Abstract: Tis article discusses emotions and power in the administration and representation of criminal justice in early modern England. In the early seventeenth century, professional lawyers insisted that only they were competent to understand the ‘arti cial reason’ of the common law; and lay opinion was associated with unreliable emotional engagement with the protagonists in trials. ‘Popular jurisprudence’ received renewed impetus from the post-Reformation emphasis on conscience and divine providence, however, and this kind of common sense interpretation often featured in popular accounts of law proceedings. Moreover, the ‘low law’ administered at grass roots level by JPs was less professionalised because most magistrates were not lawyers. The development of popular and emotional jurisprudence is demonstrated in the eighteenth century by analysis of judges’ charges, popular novels, and the reportage of ‘true crime’. Ultimately, and despite further ‘lawyerisation’ of trials, the article argues that the rise of the novel and increased press reporting of criminal justice generated more vicarious engagement with the administration of justice. And this was emotional engagement: eighteenth-century popular jurisprudence represented justice as variously awesome, theatrical, and unreasonably oppressive.
Keywords: Emotions; crime; the press; early modern England; popular jurisprudence
Rights: © 2017 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands 2017
DOI: 10.1163/2208522X-00101004
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