Crime and Mentalities in Early Modern England

Crime and Mentalities in Early Modern England

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Crime and law have now been studied by historians of early modern England for more than a generation. Crime and Mentalities in Early Modern England 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. In this sense the book is more than just a 'history from below': it is a history from within. Conversely, the book explores crime to shed light on the long-term development of English mentalities in general. To this end, three serious crimes - witchcraft, coining and murder - are examined in detail, revealing new and important insights into how religious reform, state formation, secularisation, and social and cultural change (for example, the spread of literacy and the availability of print) may have transformed the thinking and outlook of most ordinary people between 1550 and more

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'... the book is a pioneering monument to the complexity of early modern mental worlds and the profound shifts they underwent.' The Historical Journalshow more

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?show more

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8 ratings
3.25 out of 5 stars
5 12% (1)
4 38% (3)
3 12% (1)
2 38% (3)
1 0% (0)
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