Medea's Daughters: Forming and Performing the Woman who Kills

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Ohio State University Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 123 pages
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Jennifer Jones's intriguing book explores the legal, cultural, and dramatic representations of six accused murderesses to look at how English-speaking society responded to controlled anxiety over female transgressions. The woman who kills, in particular, the woman who kills a member of her own family has not only broken the law, she has also violated gender expectations Jones argues that dramatic representations of criminal women, especially women who kill, proliferate during times of heightened feminist activity and that theartical narratives, as evidenced in plays, television, and films, serve to contain women and deflect attention away from issues of women's systematic repression. Medea's Daughters focuses on six women (Lizzie Borden, Susan Smith, and Louise Wood-ward best known), whose murder trials caught the attention of their respective cultures. This broad specturm allows an examination of how women's legal status has evolved over five centuries.
  

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Contents

chapter i
1
Absence of Malice on the Victorian Stage
19
A Jury of Her Peers
39
chapter 5
73
chapter 6
88
afterword
101
index
121
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