Faculty Book: Antony E. Simpson
Antony E. Simpson, ed., with annotations, commentaries, and an introductory essay
Witnesses to the Scaffold; English Literary Figures as Observers of Public Executions: Pierce Egan, Thackeray, Dickens, Alexander Smith, G.A. Sala, Orwell
(The True Bill Press, 2008)
The public execution, a routine ceremony which lasted in Britain until 1868 and elsewhere in the Empire until the twentieth century, is here documented through the personal accounts of six literary figures. These accounts are discussed in the context of the gradual emergence of a modern system of criminal justice. It is suggested that it was concern for the behavior of the crowd, rather than for the fate of the condemned, which strongly affected most of these writers. Antony Simpson is a professor emeritus of criminal justice at John Jay College and the Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: JUL 1, 2008