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Romantic Outlaws, Beloved Prisons: The Unconscious Meanings of Crime and Punishment

ISBN-13: 978-0814718810
ISBN-10: 0814718817
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  • Romantic Outlaws, Beloved Prisons: The Unconscious Meanings of Crime and Punishment
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Prisons and criminals, on first glance, seem to hold little that we might mistake for the desirable or attractive. Why then do both of these supposedly dreaded subjects hold such a curious attraction in the fables of our society? Martha Grace Duncan draws on her expertise in psychoanalysis, law, and literature to explore the curious paradox of our attraction to the supposedly detestable. Written in three parts, her book focuses on the affection she finds criminals possessing toward prison, the admiration law-abiding citizens have for criminal characters, and the metaphors of filth and slime used to separate the criminal from the upright and lawful. Singling out examples from literature and relying on Freudian psychology, Duncan succeeds in making the dualities more apparent and the metaphors pronounced. This is an intriguing study of the conceptual relationships between crime and punishment that illustrates the conceptual fluidity at play in the black-and-white world of the law. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

”Professor Martha Duncan has written an important, creative work. Her book is elegant, and solidly grounded in literature, psychoanalysis and law.”

-Legal Studies Form

”Literature... provides Duncan a rich field in which to explore our 'reluctant,' 'rationalized,' and sometimes outright 'admiration' for the 'noble bandit.' ...The real drama of...Duncan's discussion of metaphor, however, comes with the vivid historical pictograph that gives her book a stirring climax....Duncan readily solves the mystery [of the founding of Botany Bay as a penal colony].”

-New York Times Book Review

"Romantic Outlaws, Beloved Prisons is a book that merits the interest of psychanalysts for the contribution it offers to our understanding of the realm of guilt and punishment in human psychology...I recommend the book highly."

-The Psychoanalytic Quarterly

”A complex book on the subject of incarceration that embraces both the actual experience of prisoners and the projection in literature of positive prison fantasies. Drawing on a very rich reservoir of illustrations, Duncan offers fascinating developments that will affect the readers' views on the timely question of crime and punishment.”

-Victor Brombert,author of The Romantic Prison
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