A Merry Murder (EVERYDAY CRIMES book 1)


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It was under the auspices of Beltrani-Scalia, well known in connection with prison reform, that the earlier Italian studies in criminal anthropology were published, from onwards, in the Rivista delle discipline carcerarie , a journal which continues to publish valuable monographs.

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In this journal Lombroso published, in , the results of some investigations which he had made on prisoners at Padua. Professor Cesare Lombroso, of Turin, occupies a position of such importance in the development of criminal anthropology that it is necessary to have a clear idea of his aims and methods and the nature of his achievement. At thirteen he was attracted to the study of sociology from a linguistic point of view chiefly, we are told, with relation to Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, and Coptic ; at the same time he was drawn to natural science, being interested especially in the formation of crystals, and before entering the University he had published two books of a somewhat evolutionary character.

While a student he was led, by the combined study of ancient religions and of medicine, to the subject of mental diseases. He began with studies on cretinism in Lombardy and Liguria, his conclusions being afterwards adopted by Virchow and others. In the eventful year of he became first a soldier, and afterwards a military surgeon.


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In he was in charge of the department of mental diseases at Pavia University, and he initiated there an institution for the insane, a psychiatric museum, and a series of researches in the application of exact methods to the study of insanity. This last attempt was at the time received with general derision; it was said that he was studying madness with a yard measure; but his methods gradually made progress, and slowly met with general adoption.

After this he made some important investigations into the causes of pellagra. Called to direct the asylum at Pesaro, he reformed it, and established a journal, written and managed by the insane. He then returned to Pavia, where he continued his psychiatric work, investigated the influence of atmospheric conditions on the mind, [Pg 38] invented an instrument to measure pain, and engaged in a great number of studies, marked by extraordinary ingenuity, patience, and insight.

Even as a youth Lombroso possessed the art of divining fruitful ideas, which at the time appeared absurd to scientific men as well as to the public. Every line of investigation he took up was at the time apparently opposed to the tendency of thought, and only received general attention at a later date.

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This was true, to some extent, even of the great achievement of his life. In the year —perhaps the most memorable of the century—Broca, who had a decided influence on Lombroso, had inaugurated the naturalist method of treating man with the Anthropological Society of Paris. The illuminating genius of Virchow, and his prodigious energy, which has done so much for anthropology and the methods of anthropology, also had its influence on the Italian, in some respects a kindred spirit.

Lombroso first perceived the criminal as, anatomically and physiologically, an organic anomaly. He set about weighing him and measuring him, according to the methods of anthropology. Even on the psychological side he gained new and more exact results. He went back to the origins of crime among plants and animals, among savages and children.


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He endeavoured to ascertain the place of the criminal in nature, his causes, and his treatment. His style is abrupt; he is too impetuous, arriving too rapidly at conclusions, lacking in critical faculty and in balance. Thus he was led at the beginning to over-estimate the atavistic element in the criminal, and at a later date he has pressed too strongly the epileptic affinities of crime.

His weaknesses have never been spared rough handling from friendly or unfriendly hands. Thus Mantegazza, while recognising his ingegno potentemente apostolico e geniale , denies that Lombroso possesses any of the qualities of a scientific investigator, and Dr. He was, as he has himself expressed it, the pollen-conveying insect, and the new science which he fecundated has grown with extraordinary rapidity.

A continuous stream of studies—from books of the most comprehensive character down to investigations into minute points of criminal anatomy or physiology—is constantly pouring forth. It is still impossible to gather up this mass of investigation, often necessarily discordant, into more than a tentative whole, but its existence is sufficient to prove the vitality of the new science.

It has of course met with fierce antagonism, and Lombroso himself has declared that perhaps not one stone will remain upon another, but that if this is to be the fate of his work, a better edifice will arise in its place. Two other Italians must be mentioned with Lombroso. Enrico Ferri, Professor of Penal Law at Rome and a Deputy in the Italian Parliament, while doing valuable work as a criminal anthropologist, has at the same time studied the social bearings of criminality in his best-known book, Nuovi Orizzonti del Diritto.

He has occupied himself less with the instinctive than with the occasional criminal, and his clear and philosophic spirit has placed him at the head of criminal sociologists. Garofalo, a Neapolitan lawyer, accepting generally the conclusions reached by Lombroso and Ferri, has become the most distinguished jurist of the movement, the pioneer in that reform of law through the methods of natural science which must eventually become so fruitful.

His Criminologie the new and enlarged edition is written in French is marked by luminous yet careful [Pg 41] generalisation, and it contains many suggestions of wise reform. This position is now generally accepted as the legitimate outcome of the scientific study of the criminal. Among Italian workers in the department of criminal anthropology proper, a very high place belongs to Dr. Antonio Marro, formerly surgeon to the prison at Turin. I Caratteri dei Delinquenti contains the results of a carefully-detailed and methodic examination of more than five hundred prisoners, men and women, and of over one hundred normal persons together with an investigation into their ancestry and habits.

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All the data are presented in tabular form, and his excellent methods and judicious moderation in drawing conclusions impart great value to his work. His exactness and impartiality have been admired even by those whose instincts and training have led them to dread the invasions of this department of science. Marro has made interesting contributions to the differentiation of various criminal types, and he has brought out very clearly the disastrous tendency to degeneration among the children of parents who have passed middle age.

The Archivio di Psichiatria , a rich storehouse of elaborate observations, founded in , directed by Lombroso, Ferri, Garofalo, and Morselli, edited by Rossi and Ottolenghi, remains at the head of journals of criminal anthropology. The first suggestion of an international congress of criminal anthropology arose in Italy, and dates from the year , when Salvatore Tommasi published an important article in the Rassegna Critica. The first congress, that of Rome, was not, however, actually held until The second international congress was held in August , in Paris.

It was of a more cosmopolitan character than the first, and of even greater interest. The judicial qualities of his mind, and his power of expressing just and large conceptions in felicitous and memorable phrases, impart value to all that he writes, and his forthcoming work on the criminal man will, it is probable, for all practical purposes, supersede other works.

In Germany the serious study of the criminal may be said to have begun with Krafft-Ebing, the distinguished professor of psychiatry, now at Vienna, who, by laying down clearly in his Grundzuge der Kriminal Psychologie , and other works, the doctrine of a criminal psychosis, and pointing out its practical results, deserves, as Krauss remarks, to be regarded as an important precursor of Lombroso. Knecht studied over prisoners anthropologically. Krauss, who began with investigations into criminal psychology, has since done much solid work in criminal anthropology.

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Flesch made important observations on the morbid pathology of criminals; Benedikt, known in connection with various interesting investigations in criminal anthropology, began in with a remarkable study of the criminal brain, in which he observed frequent confluence of the fissures, as among some lower races, and also an [Pg 44] additional convolution in the frontal lobe, which he assimilated to that of the carnivora. His conclusions in this difficult field of research were, however, considerably shaken by Professor Giacomini, of Turin, and others, who showed that similar anomalies are found, although not so frequently, in normal persons.

The brilliant Viennese professor has in his recently-published Kraniometrie und Kephalometrie shown himself the most original and suggestive of living students of the architecture of the skull. In Holland, Professor Van Hamel, of Amsterdam, represents the new spirit of approaching the problems of criminality.


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Semal of Mons should also be named here. In the Anthropological Society of Belgium nominated a commission for the investigation of criminal anthropology. This led to various interesting researches, none of them, however, of great importance. In Spain and Portugal criminal anthropology is being prosecuted with much zeal. In , [Pg 45] at a congress held in Lisbon, the relation of criminal anthropology to penality, legal reform, and allied problems was fully discussed.

In the rapidly-developing Spanish countries of South America, especially in the Argentine Republic, criminal anthropology seems to be making great progress. It is officially taught at the University of Buenos Ayres. Luis del Drago, a judge in the Argentine Republic, with his Los hombres de Presa , an able study of criminality, which has rapidly reached a second edition, thus showing the interest generally felt in these studies, and some other workers, witness to the progress made in this country.

On the initiative of Dr.

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In Russia and Poland, although the study of criminal anthropology dates from very recent years, it is making considerable progress. Bielakoff, in the Archives of Psichiatry of Kharkoff, studied homicides. Professor Troizki, of Warsaw, published a careful study of prisoners. Prascovia Tarnowskaia examined female thieves, whom she compared with prostitutes and peasant women. On the legal side, Dimitri Drill is engaged on a great work, of which one volume only is published at present, in which he deals thoroughly with [Pg 46] the organic factors of crime, and with the social applications of criminal anthropology.

The Russians seem to be characteristically audacious in their applications of the new science, and there is in Russia a feeling, not merely against imprisoning criminals, but even against secluding them. Professor Babinski declared that she was not mad, but entirely devoid of moral notions, that she was incurable, and that it would be quite useless useless, that is, from a medical point of view to put her in an asylum. She was acquitted.

A Merry Murder (EVERYDAY CRIMES book 1)
A Merry Murder (EVERYDAY CRIMES book 1)
A Merry Murder (EVERYDAY CRIMES book 1)
A Merry Murder (EVERYDAY CRIMES book 1)
A Merry Murder (EVERYDAY CRIMES book 1)
A Merry Murder (EVERYDAY CRIMES book 1)
A Merry Murder (EVERYDAY CRIMES book 1)
A Merry Murder (EVERYDAY CRIMES book 1)
A Merry Murder (EVERYDAY CRIMES book 1)

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