A Companion to the History of the Book - download pdf or read online

ISBN-10: 140519278X

ISBN-13: 9781405192781

From the early Sumerian clay pill via to the emergence of the digital textual content, this "Companion" presents a continuing and coherent account of the historical past of the publication. uses illustrative examples and case reports of recognized texts Written via a gaggle of specialist participants Covers topical debates, equivalent to the character of censorship and the way forward for the publication

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83 This resulted in various attempts to make the legislation more malleable through the permissibility of certain defences which could work to strongly undermine the initial charge laid. 84 In addition, the intended targets of the legislation, lewd women, were rarely indicted for the offence. Rather, it was far more common for women of a good character to be charged with new-born child murder, as they were more likely to have solid reputations to maintain. Thus the avoidance of opprobrium to maintain decency was (as we will see) a strong contributory factor in episodes of infanticide, and the authorities became uncertain about the extent to which this kind of behaviour should be punished.

Women also predominate amongst those indicted as the principal suspects in episodes of infanticide across both Europe and North America at this time. ’24 Most of the women accused of new-born child murder were, quite reasonably, suspected to have been the mothers of their victims. Their dominance of the indictment data is not only due to the nature and context of the offence itself, but is also linked to the constitution of the statutory provision under which they stood accused. Mothers, especially those carrying illegitimate offspring, had arguably more means, motive and opportunity than other women for committing this crime.

67 One final explanation for increases in the illegitimacy rate during the early modern period relates to the records of the births themselves. Certainly, it is hard to discern the accuracy of birth registration in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 69 Such definitional inconsistencies were especially prevalent after Lord Hardwicke’s Clandestine Marriage Act came into force in England in 1754. This legislation outlawed previously ‘accepted’ versions of marriage which had been conducted outwith an officially sanctioned church ceremony.

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A Companion to the History of the Book


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