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Type: Journal article
Title: Narratives of feeling and majesty: mediated emotions in the eighteenth-century criminal courtroom
Author: Milka, A.
Lemmings, D.
Citation: Journal of Legal History, 2017; 38(2):155-178
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 0144-0365
Statement of
Amy Milka and David Lemmings
Abstract: This article considers the role of emotion in the eighteenth-century courtroom. It discusses the work of judges and magistrates in constituting and upholding a ‘grand narrative’, which legitimized English criminal law. This grand narrative was inherently emotional, activating patriotism and love of justice, but also fear of punishment through the performance of ‘emotional labour’ from the judgment seat. However, while performing the majesty of the law, judges attempted to balance a number of complicating factors, such as the rise of sensibility, the role of the press, and their own emotions about criminal justice. The growing presence of professional counsel from the end of the century also complicated the emotional tenor of criminal trials. Moreover, the majesty of the law was undermined and even corrupted by the representation of trials and executions in the popular press. Far from viewing displays of emotion as inappropriate, it appears that many contemporaries held emotion to be an integral part of trial process, and of the majesty of the law.
Rights: © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
RMID: 0030072289
DOI: 10.1080/01440365.2017.1336891
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:History publications

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