Cesare Lombroso is widely considered the founder of criminology. His theory of the "born" criminal dominated European and American thinking about the causes of criminal behavior during the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth. This volume offers English-language readers the first critical, scholarly translation of Lombroso's "Criminal Man," one of the most famous criminological treatises ever written. The text laid the groundwork for subsequent biological theories of crime, including contemporary genetic explanations.
Originally published in 1876, "Criminal Man" went through five editions during Lombroso's lifetime. In each edition Lombroso expanded on his ideas about innate criminality and refined his method for categorizing criminal behavior. In this new translation, Mary Gibson and Nicole Hahn Rafter bring together for the first time excerpts from all five editions in order to represent the development of Lombroso's thought and his positivistic approach to understanding criminal behavior.
In "Criminal Man," Lombroso used modern Darwinian evolutionary theories to "prove" the inferiority of criminals to "honest" people, of women to men, and of blacks to whites, thereby reinforcing the prevailing politics of sexual and racial hierarchy. He was particularly interested in the physical attributes of criminals--the size of their skulls, the shape of their noses--but he also studied the criminals' various forms of self-expression, such as letters, graffiti, drawings, and tattoos. This volume includes more than forty of Lombroso's illustrations of the criminal body along with several photographs of his personal collection. Designed to be useful for scholars and to introduce students to Lombroso's thought, the volume also includes an extensive introduction, notes, appendices, a glossary, and an index.
"Cesare Lombroso's Criminal Man has long been a classic of criminology. Mary Gibson and Nicole Hahn Rafter, in offering this finely annotated translation and showing the progression of Lombroso's thought through five editions of the book, have made a great contribution to a broader understanding of this towering, yet often misrepresented, figure and his classic text. With its lucid introduction by Gibson and Rafter, and many original illustrations, this book will be a precious resource for the history of criminology and for European intellectual and social history more generally."-David I. Kertzer, author of Prisoner of the Vatican: The Popes' Secret Plot to Capture Rome from the New Italian State
"Gibson and Rafter successfully show the evolution and complexity of Lombroso's theories, and even the contradictions within them, which are obscured in standard textbook summaries. . . . [T]his volume remains a valuable contribution towards the study of criminology, intellectual European history and social history more generally." -- Chiara Beccalossi, History of the Human Sciences