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Mad-Doctors in the Dock


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Table of Contents

Preface Introduction Chapter 1. Nasty, Brutish, and Short: Criminal Trials before the Lawyer Chapter 2. Delusion and Its Discontents Chapter 3.When Practitioners Become Professionals: The Alienists' Claim to KnowledgeChapter 4. The Diagnosis in the Dock Chapter 5. The Witness Takes the Stand Chapter 6. Homicidal Mania: Provenance and Cultural Context Chapter 7. The View from the Bench: Judicial Discretion and Forensic-Psychiatric Evidence Conclusion. On the Origins of Diagnosis Notes Index

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Eigen exploits detailed courtroom narratives from the Old Bailey Sessional papers to give us a colorful and gripping sense of the life-and-death maneuvers involved in mounting an insanity defense. Placing forensic psychiatry into a much broader social, cultural, and intellectual context, Mad-Doctors in the Dock is an excellent, accessible, and well-written account. -- Andrew Scull, University of California, San Diego, author of Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine From the crime scene through the trial, Mad-Doctors in the Dock connects for the first time the evolution of the insanity doctrine, the judicial management of the trial, and the place of medical practitioners' diagnoses of defendants within the administration of the criminal law. A wise and original work-both foundational and indispensable. -- Thomas Green, University of Michigan, author of Freedom and Criminal Responsibility in American Legal Thought The product of close and careful research covering hundreds of trials, Mad-Doctors in the Dock brings to life the ideas, the actors, and the drama in the development of medico-legal diagnoses such as homicidal mania. A valuable resource for legal scholars and historians and sociologists of madness and crime. -- Arlie Loughnan, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, author of Manifest Madness: Mental Incapacity in Criminal Law

About the Author

Joel Peter Eigen is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology at Franklin and Marshall College and Principal Fellow (Honorary) at the University of Melbourne. Mad-Doctors in the Dock is the final volume in his trilogy examining the insanity defense in the British courtroom. The first two volumes are Witnessing Insanity: Madness and Mad-Doctors in the English Court and Unconscious Crime: Mental Absence and Criminal Responsibility in Victorian London.


Eigen has gone deeper than anyone to date in analysing the course of the insanity defence in English law. His trilogy is the go-to source for this fascinating and distressing topic. Times Higher Education An unlikely subject for vacation or bedtime reading? On the contrary, the 'mad-doctors" task is unequivocally compelling. Eigen translates his extensive research clearly as a scientific rather than sensational exposition. Readers interested in criminal jurisprudence, the complexities of temporary insanity, and contemporary criminal procedure in light of the historical background will be fascinated. Seattle Book Review From a historical perspective, the narrative is very interesting and easily flows. The work is highly recommended for undergraduates, graduate students in psychiatry and forensic medicine, and researchers in jurisprudence. Choice

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