Criminal Man

Criminal Man

Book Pages: 448 Illustrations: 47 illustrations Published: July 2006

History > European History, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology

Cesare Lombroso is widely considered the founder of criminology. His theory of the “born” criminal dominated European and American thinking about the causes of criminal behavior during the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth. This volume offers English-language readers the first critical, scholarly translation of Lombroso’s Criminal Man, one of the most famous criminological treatises ever written. The text laid the groundwork for subsequent biological theories of crime, including contemporary genetic explanations.

Originally published in 1876, Criminal Man went through five editions during Lombroso’s lifetime. In each edition Lombroso expanded on his ideas about innate criminality and refined his method for categorizing criminal behavior. In this new translation, Mary Gibson and Nicole Hahn Rafter bring together for the first time excerpts from all five editions in order to represent the development of Lombroso’s thought and his positivistic approach to understanding criminal behavior.

In Criminal Man, Lombroso used modern Darwinian evolutionary theories to “prove” the inferiority of criminals to “honest” people, of women to men, and of blacks to whites, thereby reinforcing the prevailing politics of sexual and racial hierarchy. He was particularly interested in the physical attributes of criminals—the size of their skulls, the shape of their noses—but he also studied the criminals’ various forms of self-expression, such as letters, graffiti, drawings, and tattoos. This volume includes more than forty of Lombroso’s illustrations of the criminal body along with several photographs of his personal collection. Designed to be useful for scholars and to introduce students to Lombroso’s thought, the volume also includes an extensive introduction, notes, appendices, a glossary, and an index.


“Essential.” — A.T. Vaver, Choice

“Gibson and Rafter have provided everyone . . . with the ideal starting point from which to immerse themselves in Lombroso’s injunction to study the criminal independently of his or her crime, an injunction which, in a culture obsessed with the genetic foundation of behavioural ‘abnormality’, rings with peculiar urgency.” — Daniel M. Vyleta, European History Quarterly

“Gibson and Rafter successfully show the evolution and complexity of Lombroso’s theories, and even the contradictions within them, which are obscured in standard textbook summaries. . . . This volume remains a valuable contribution towards the study of criminology, intellectual European history and social history more generally.” — Chiara Beccalossi, History of the Human Sciences

“It is hard to imagine a better edition of this book. Gibson and Rafter are among the foremost experts on nineteenth-century criminology, and Lombroso in particular, knowledge that they bring to bear in many ways to illuminate this text. Their introduction alone is an engaging and insightful contextualization of Lombroso's larger project and of Criminal Man specifically. Their translation, editing, and annotation all enrich the reader's understanding of the text, which comes to life in a remarkably accessible fashion.” — Elun Gabriel H-German, H-Net Reviews

“Lombroso’s direct influence may still be clearly discerned not only in the approach of evolutionary psychologists, but within more general expert discourse on ‘risk’ and ‘predisposition’. Reading him continues to provoke concernful thought over our core assumptions in these areas and about exactly who is to be entrusted with decisions around whether or how to intervene.” — Paul Stronge, Sociology

“This important translation will ensure that future critical analysis will be based on the real substance of Lombroso’s work rather than hearsay, poor translation, and crass editing.” — Louise Westwood, Social History of Medicine

“Cesare Lombroso’s Criminal Man has long been a classic of criminology. Mary Gibson and Nicole Hahn Rafter, in offering this finely annotated translation and showing the progression of Lombroso’s thought through five editions of the book, have made a great contribution to a broader understanding of this towering, yet often misrepresented, figure and his classic text. With its lucid introduction by Gibson and Rafter, and many original illustrations, this book will be a precious resource for the history of criminology and for European intellectual and social history more generally.” — David I. Kertzer, author of Prisoner of the Vatican: The Popes’ Secret Plot to Capture Rome from the New Italian State


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Cesare Lombroso (1835–1909), an internationally famous Italian physician and criminologist, wrote extensively about jurisprudence and the causes of crime. He produced more than thirty books during his lifetime.

Mary Gibson is Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her books include Born to Crime: Cesare Lombroso and the Origins of Biological Criminality. Nicole Hahn Rafter is Senior Research Fellow at Northeastern University. Her books include Creating Born Criminals. Rafter and Gibson translated Lombroso’s Criminal Woman, the Prostitute, and the Normal Woman, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Tables xiii

List of Illustrations xv

Acknowledgments xvii

Editors' Introduction 1

Edition 1 (1876)

Editors' Foreword 39

Author's Preface 43

1 Criminal Craniums (Sixty-six Skulls) 45

2 Anthropometry and Physiognomy of 832 Criminals 50

3 Tattoos 58

4 Emotions of Criminals 63

5 Criminals and Religion 70

6 Intelligence and Education of Criminals 72

7 Jargon 77

8 Criminal Literature 79

9 Insanity and Crime 81

10 Organized Crime 85

11 Atavism and Punishment 91

Edition 2 (1878)

Editors' Foreword 97

Author's Preface 99

12 Suicide among Criminals 101

13 Criminals of Passion 105

14 Recidivism, Morality, and Remorse 108

15 Handwriting of Criminals 111

16 Etiology of Crime: Weather and Race 114

17 Etiology of Crime: Civilization, Alcohol, and Heredity 120

18 Etiology of Crime: Age, Sex, Moral Education, Genitals, and Imitation 127

19 Prevention of Crime 135

20 Penal Policy 141

Appendix 1 Giovanni Cavaglia 149

Appendix 2 A Medical Examination of Parricide and Insanity 154

Edition 3 (1884)

Editors' Foreword 161

Author's Preface 163

21 Crime and Inferior Organisms 167

22 Crime and Prostitution among Savages 175

23 Origins of Punishment 183

24 Moral Insanity and Crime among Children 188

25 Anomalies of the Brain and Internal Organs 198

26 Photographs of Born Criminals 202

27 Sensitivity and Blushing in Criminals 206

28 Moral Insanity and Born Criminality 212

29 Summary of Edition 3 221

Edition 4 (1889)

Editors' Foreword 227

Author's Preface 229

30 Metabolism, Menstruation, and Fertility 237

31 Criminal Communication 239

32 Art and industry among Criminals 244

33 The Epileptic Criminal 247

34 Epileptics and Born Criminals 253

35 Physiology and Etiology of Epilepsy 260

36 The Insane Criminal 267

37 Biology and Psychology of Insane Criminals 271

38 The Alcoholic Criminal 277

39 The Hysterical Criminal 281

40 The Mattoid 284

41 The Occasional Criminal 288

42 Edition 5 (1896-97)

Editors' Foreword 299

42 Criminal Craniums (689 Skulls) 301

43 Anthropometry and Physiognomy of 6,608 Criminals 306

44 Political Criminals 313

45 Etiology of Crime: Urban Density, Alcoholism, Wealth, and Religion 316

46 Etiology of Crime: Heredity, Sex, and Politics 325

47 Prevention of Crime 331

48 Synthesis and Penal Applications 338

Appendix 1 Comparison of the Five Italian Editions 357

Appendix 2 Illustrations in the Five Italian Editions 364

Notes 371

Glossary 401

References 411

Index 417
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3723-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3711-9
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