Women, Crime and Character in Twentieth Century Law and Literature: In Search of the Modern Moll Flanders

40 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2018

See all articles by Nicola Lacey

Nicola Lacey

London School of Economics - Law Department

Date Written: December 7, 2017

Abstract

The twentieth century saw decisive changes in women’s legal, social, economic and political position. But how far have these changes been reflected in women’s position as subjects of criminalisation in the courts, in legal thought or in literary fiction? This paper takes up the story of the gradual marginalisation of criminal women in both legal and literary history, asking whether a criminal heroine such as Moll Flanders (1722) is thinkable again, and what this can tell us about conceptions of women as subjects of criminal law. How far do the conceptions of, and dilemmas about, female subjectivity, agency, capacity and character which emerge successively in 20th Century literary culture reflect and illuminate the relevant patterns and debates in criminal law and philosophy?

Suggested Citation

Lacey, Nicola, Women, Crime and Character in Twentieth Century Law and Literature: In Search of the Modern Moll Flanders (December 7, 2017). LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 20/2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3083981 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3083981

Nicola Lacey (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Law Department ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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