Table of Contents

Nasty, brutish, and short : criminal trials before the lawyer.
Delusion and its discontents.
When practitioners become professionals : the alienists' claim to knowledge.
The diagnosis in the dock.
The witness takes the stand.
Homicidal mania : provenance and cultural context.
The view from the bench : judicial discretion and forensic-psychiatric evidence.
Conclusion : on the origins of diagnosis. Shortly before she pushed her infant daughter headfirst into a bucket of water and fastened the lid, Annie Cherry warmed the pail because, as she later explained to a police officer, "It would have been cruel to put her in cold water." Afterwards, this mother sat down and poured herself a cup of tea. At Cherry's trial at the Old Bailey in 1877, Henry Charlton Bastian, physician to the National Hospital for the Paralyzed and Epileptic, focused his testimony on her preternatural calm following the drowning. Like many other late Victorian medical men, Bastian believed that the mother's act and her subsequent behavior indicated homicidal mania, a novel species of madness that challenged the law's criterion for assigning criminal culpability. How did Dr. Bastian and his cohort of London's physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries-originally known as "mad-doctors"--Arrive at such an innovative diagnosis, and how did they defend it in court? Mad-Doctors in the Dock is a sophisticated exploration of the history of the insanity defense in the English courtroom from the middle of the eighteenth century to the early twentieth century.