Read Trials of Passion: Crimes in the Name of Love and Madness by Lisa Appignanesi Online


This book journeys into the heart of dark passions and the crimes they impel. When passion is in the picture, what is criminal, what sane, what mad or simply bad? Brighton, 1870: A well-respected spinster infuses chocolate creams with strychnine in order to murder her lover's wife. Paris, 1880: A popular performer stalks her betraying lover through the streets of the cityThis book journeys into the heart of dark passions and the crimes they impel. When passion is in the picture, what is criminal, what sane, what mad or simply bad? Brighton, 1870: A well-respected spinster infuses chocolate creams with strychnine in order to murder her lover's wife. Paris, 1880: A popular performer stalks her betraying lover through the streets of the city for weeks and finally takes aim. New York, 1906: A millionaire shoots dead a prominent architect in full view of a theatre audience. Through court and asylum records, letters and newspaper accounts, this book brings to life a period when the psychiatric professions were consolidating their hold on our understanding of what is human. An increasingly popular press allowed the public unprecedented insight into accounts of transgressive sexuality, savage jealousy and forbidden desires. With great story-telling flair, Lisa Appignanesi teases out the vagaries of passion and the clashes between the law and the clinic as they stumble towards a (sometimes reviled) collaboration.Sexual etiquette and class roles, attitudes to love, madness and gender, notions of respectability and honour, insanity and lunacy, all are at play in that vital forum in which public opinion is shaped - the theatre of the courtroom....

Title : Trials of Passion: Crimes in the Name of Love and Madness
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 21349401
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Trials of Passion: Crimes in the Name of Love and Madness Reviews

  • Chris
    2019-02-22 04:05

    This is a very in depth look at three trials (with a few asides) that center around love and madness. The trials are taken from England, France, and America. Like most of Appignanaesi's work the writing is intelligent and engaging. I do like the comparsion between the trials, and found it interesting that only one with a man as the killer was used. It was fasniating how many revolve around a woman's virtue.

  • LynnDee (The Library Lush)
    2019-03-07 23:53

    This was a really interesting read but went way more in-depth than I was expecting. This was not necessarily a bad thing, but I wasn't expecting a psychoanalysis of each crime and the history of insanity and the law when I picked this up, so it was a bit much to get through. Overall, though, I enjoyed the topic.

  • Jo-anne Atkinson
    2019-03-18 23:57

    In Brighton in the late Victorian era a spinster is accused of a poisoning spree provoked by a delusion that her doctor is in love with her. In Paris 10 years later a singer shoots her erstwhile rich lover after the death of their child. In the 1900s a multi-millionaire kills his wife's discarded lover. In each case the reasoning behind the crime is linked to madness. This book explores the changing attitudes to insanity as a reason for crime and also plots the understanding of mental instability within the criminal justice system using three infamous trials as main exemplars.What this book is not is a 'true crime' book, it's far more detailed and complex than that. Appignanesi has tried to look at the changes to the nature and understanding of madness in relation to crimes of passion from a legal and also a psychological perspective. The level of detail and research is superb but it also makes this quite an intellectual book rather than a history or entertainment. I found it a fascinating but not simple read.

  • Jo
    2019-03-03 23:04

    Appignanesi looks at cases in the UK, France and USA where the defendants were driven to crime by the 'love' they had. I don't know what it says about me but I'm familiar with most of the cases discussed here from other reading. This was clear and concise on the subject matter and I found it both entertaining and educational.

  • Cindy Matthews
    2019-03-01 05:58

    Victorian-era spinster Christiana Edmonds was extremely unhappy that her letters weren’t returned by her doctor, Charles Beard. Of course he loved her and would leave his wife, but Beard never did. He simply told Christiana to stop writing. Things stalemated until a rash of poisonings—which resulted in the death of a four-year-old boy—exposed Christiana’s plans to hide her attempted murder of Mrs. Beard by broadcasting handmade poisoned chocolate creams throughout the community. Alas, her handwriting on repeated requests for strychnine and cyanide from the local chemist’s gave her away. She pleaded not guilty and stated Dr. Beard had besmirched her honor, but the “Borgia of Brighton” was sentenced to life in an asylum—not to death by hanging. Her lawyer and the “alienists”—what we’d call today psychologists—had argued that Christiana’s unrequited love had induced a madness that had driven her to this desperate act. Trials of Passion takes a tantalizing look into landmark cases in the U.K., France and the U.S. during the later-half of the 19th and into the early years of the 20th century that set the standards we recognize today for the legal defense of temporary insanity. Appignanesi shows how these crimes and their trials demonstrate changing gender roles in Western society. The belle époque’s attitude was that women (and some men) were “hysterics” or mentally feeble and suggestible to commit these crimes, but in actuality, these criminals were simply crying out for justice that their culture didn’t address. The poor and downtrodden committed crimes of passion to right wrongs perpetrated on them by the powerful and wealthy who had left them without honor. However, even millionaires such as American Harry Thaw used this psychological defense to justify his shooting of architect Stanford White because White had raped the beautiful model Evelyn Nesbit, who later became Thaw’s wife, when she was but a teenager. Murder had become a “cure for insanity”.Trials of Passion is a fascinating read for those interested in history, psychology, and the legal profession and how these disciplines came together to create the feminist movement and modern ethics.

  • Deanne
    2019-03-19 04:55

    3 historic cases from three different countries with commentary on the different ways in which times and the beliefs about sanity affect the verdict.

  • Bookwormthings
    2019-03-15 02:04

    Fascinating historical reportage into the social approach to these crimes.

  • Grace Harris
    2019-02-24 02:06

    Really interesting read

  • Damaskcat
    2019-03-05 07:06

    This is a fascinating study of a selection of murder and attempted murder cases from England, France and the US during the latter years of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century. The cases covered are mainly what French law refers to as crimes of passion where people are apparently overcome with passion or jealousy and kill or attempt to kill their rivals or their lovers. The book also shows how differently the subject of madness, temporary or permanent was treated by the courts in these three countries.The book covers crimes perpetrated by both men and women but it also assesses how differently women were treated by the courts in all three countries and how they are often still treated now. If the women on trial were regarded as conforming to the cultural stereotype of the time and were seen as helpless and feminine but overcome by the power of their emotions they were more likely to be deemed to be temporarily insane and confined for treatment rather than being sent to prison or sentenced to death.However if women were seen to be too intelligent and self controlled then they were more likely to be found guilty and disapproved of by society. Men, if they were seen to be acting in response to infidelity on the part of their lovers or wives were more likely to be hailed almost heroes by killing their rivals. They were seen as representing the most admired qualities of masculinity and protecting the fortress of their families.Of course, in spite of all these nuances, money talks and the case described here in which a millionaire kills a former lover of his wife's results in a verdict of temporary insanity and incarceration for a relatively short time in a mental hospital and subsequent release. By most people's standards the murderer was permanently insane, not just temporarily and eventually he was declared insane.The author certainly knows her subject and has studied it in depth and I found the book fascinating to read though it is quite complex in places. There are notes on the text as well as a bibliography and index.

  • Rachael Eyre
    2019-03-12 23:52

    This is the third of a loose trilogy covering the gamut of human emotion and sanity. While inevitably more uplifting than Mad, Bad and Sad, and grittier than All About Love, it remains a fascinating but unfocused book.The book uses 3 major cases for its framework : the Christiana Edmunds trial in England (a smitten spinster wanted to bump off her love rival, and wound up poisoning half of Brighton); the Marie Biere case in France (naive young singer shooting the disaffected rake who ruined and abandoned her) and the Thaw trial in the US (disturbed millionaire brutally shooting the man who deflowered his wife). Although these cases are all engrossing, the author over eggs the pudding - on one hand she relays the sometimes dull back and forth in the court and the views of 'alienists' of the time (and since the world of psychiatry was very small in those days, you're quickly suffering from deja vu ); on the other, the cases are wound up too soon, so she's left flailing around to fill the remaining space. I couldn't help wondering if it might have been a more successful book if she'd covered more cases in less detail.

  • Michelle
    2019-03-13 07:07

    I started this book thinking it was going to be more about the crime-solving sort of aspects, more "true crimey" I guess. But when I re-read the inner flap and paid closer attention to the title, I stopped being disappointed and realized I just needed to pay more attention to the description. Hello! That aside, this author knows how to do her research, as Sherlock would say. She also knows how to write FOR the reader and not "down to" the reader, as sometimes scholars and academics are prone to do when writing pop history (Read: non-academic non fiction haha). She takes a balanced framework spanning three countries and two continents in her writing, as well as successfully interweaving the history of forensic psychology with more current accounts of similar crimes of passion and subsequent trials and psychiatric legalities. All in all, it was a well-researched read, and I am not sure why it took me so long to read it, beyond the usual busyness of life. Side note: I was quite intrigued by her last account, the American case, involving the first supermodel, Evelyn Nesbitt.

  • LillyBooks
    2019-02-25 23:01

    Meh. This book was good (but not great) when it was discussing the burgeoning fields of psychiatry and psychology, and what the new experts in those fields thought of love and a woman's sexuality. But it became downright boring when it included excessively long trial transcripts that I felt could have been condensed and still have served their purpose. I felt the amount of medical science suffered from an excess of law.

  • Forgottendreamr
    2019-03-04 04:49

    This book couldn't decide which side of the academic line it wanted to be on. It wasn't sensational, or readable, enough to be a pop book. However, it did not have enough analysis to be an academic book. Ultimately, the final case couldn't hold my attention enough for me to finish.

  • S.m. Elliott
    2019-03-07 01:00

    Don't let the title steer you away: This is a brilliant examination of hysteria and its collision with 19th-century legal systems. Less bulky than Appignanesi's "Mad, Bad, and Sad" but just as fascinating.

  • kayepants
    2019-02-17 05:05

    Interesting topic, but way too detailed. Kept falling asleep after a few pages.

  • Stephanie Molnar
    2019-03-11 03:47

    Not too bad, long winded a lot.

  • Rebecca
    2019-02-27 05:37

    had potential of being a great book. although information is thorough and well documented it reads more like a textbook rather than a captivating true crime book. just not my thing I guess.

  • Smiley938
    2019-03-10 04:43

    I got up to page ~100. I might try to finish this book at a later time. It was okay, but not as interesting as I thought it would be. A lot of it was long-winded and the writing was lackluster.

  • Charles M.
    2019-03-01 23:01

    Accounts of some of the most notorious murders resulting from love and passion. Book goes into somewhat of a psychoanalysis of these type of crimes, including that of the insanity defense, etc.