The representation of crime in writing in eighteenth-century England.
The. thesis describes the, network of theories and practices which articulated the
discourse of crime in legal and fictional writing in eighteenth-century England. Alter an
Introduction which outlines the general scope of the thesis, successive chapters examine a
number of issues which the representation of crime in eighteenth-century England raises.
Chapter one is a study of the effects of luxury on the perception of crime in the Classical
period (the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries); Chapter two is a critical approach to the
English criminal law in the Classical Age. This chapter examines how legal thought was
constructed and how its concepts and statements were defined within the general mode of
knowledge during this period. Chapter three discusses the definitions of crime and the
treatment of criminals in a world governed by a market-economy and representative authority.
Chapter four describes the penal system which existed in England in the Classical period and
analyses its theoretical choices, methods and practice. Chapter five which opens Part 11 is a
study of the relationship between crime and narrative. The focus in this chapter is on Defoe's,
Pelham's and Fielding's narratives of the life of Jonathan Wild. The chapter also studies the
practices of Jonathan Wild in relation to the representation of crime in fiction. Chapter six is
devoted mainly to Defoe's representation of crime in his fiction. The chapter examines a
number of features in Defoe's configuration of crime in his writings: wealth, crime,
masquerade, transformation, topography and geography are all important elements of his
crime fiction. Chapter seven is4study of Fielding's Amelia and his magisterial activities. The
aim in this chapter is to show how a magistrate sees and represents crime in fiction. Finally,
the Conclusion is an assessment of the foregoing ideas.