Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

compiled by Stefan Blaschke


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First published: January 1, 2024 - Last updated: January 1, 2024


Author: Tara Ashley Leederman

Title: The Site of the Crime

Subtitle: Trial Narratives, Forensic Reading, and the Novels of Samuel Richardson

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, University of California, Irvine

Advisor: Jayne Elizabeth Lewis

Year: 2023

Pages: viii + 334pp.

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 18th Century | European History: English History | Prosecution: Trials / Expert Testimonies; Types: Rape; Representations: Literary Texts / Samuel Richardson


Link: an open access publishing platform subsidized by the University of California (Free Access)


Abstract: »This dissertation explores the development of medical forensics in the courtroom as centered around women's bodies and expert testimony, and it offers a new lens for reading the eighteenth-century novel. It performs this examination through an analysis of trial records and the attendant print culture of England in the first half of the eighteenth century, in conversation with the forensic realism of Samuel Richardson's 1740 Pamela and 1748 Clarissa, teasing out the emerging novel's use and transformation of what I call the "forensic mode" of reading. Through intrinsic psychological motivations to prove and disprove, to construct and explore cases as presented through the body of the novel, both stories and trial narratives engage in training audiences to approach, process, reimagine, interpret, and demand a high evidentiary standard for historical, criminal, and personal accounts alike, within an immersive context of a print culture that increasingly emphasized and sensationalized crime. Though it reaches back into the seventeenth century for medical context, treatises, and some criminal context (including accounts of matrons and midwives in witchcraft trials, on both the defense and prosecution's side of the bench), its central area of analysis and consideration are the years 1700 through 1750, with a focus on the evidence-gathering and testimonial properties of rape trials in dialogue with the attempted and actual rape of Richardson's protagonists.« (Source: Thesis)

  List of Figures (p. iv)
  Acknowledgements (p. v)
  Vita (p. vi)
  Abstract of Dissertation (p. vii)
  Introduction (p. 1)
    Forensics (p. 3)
    Frames of Analysis (p. 7)
    Rape in the Early Eighteenth Century (p. 9)
    Rape and the Novel (p. 31)
    Looking Forward (p. 45)
  Chapter 1: Jurisprudence and Dirty Linens (p. 47)
    Introduction (p. 47)
    On Venereal Disease (p. 50)
    The Age of Consent (p. 63)
    The Child's Body (p. 74)
    Consent and the Novel (p. 103)
  Chapter 2: Servant Epistolary and Documentary Evidence (p. 111)
    Introduction (p. 111)
    Service and Possession (p. 112)
    Servants and Bodily Pollution (p. 130)
    Forensic Reading and the Servant (p. 142)
    The Servant's Plot (p. 150)
    The Cases of Jervis and Jewkes (p. 174)
    Envy and Waste (p. 185)
  Chapter 3: In the Hands of Cunning Women (p. 206)
    Introduction (p. 206)
    The Evidence of Midwives and Witches (p. 214)
    Malkins and Mothers Midnight (p. 245)
    Envy and Black Magic (p. 255)
    Cinderella Stories (p. 269)
    Prognostication and Tyranny (p. 281)
    Concluding Thoughts (p. 310)
  Bibliography and Appendices (p. 318)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England / Stuart period, Georgian era | Evidence (law): Expert witness | Literature: English literature / Samuel Richardson | Literature: Novels about rape / Clarissa, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded | Sex and the law: Rape / Rape in England