Binding Men tells stories about men, violence and law in late Victorian England. It does so by focusing upon five important legal cases, all of which were binding not only upon the males involved but also upon future courts and the men who appeared before them.

The subject matter of Prince (1875), Coney (1882), Dudley and Stephens (1884), Clarence (1888) and Jackson (1891) ranged from child abduction, prize-fighting, murder and cannibalism to transmitting gonorrhoea and the capture and imprisonment of a wife by her husband. Each case has its own chapter, depicting the events which led the protagonists into the courtroom, the legal outcome and the judicial pronouncements made to justify this, as well as exploring the broader setting in which the proceedings took place. In so doing, Binding Men describes how a particular case can be seen as being a part of attempts to legally limit male behaviour.

The book is essential reading for scholars and students of crime, criminal law, violence, and gender. It will be of interest to those working on the use of narrative in academic writing as well as legal methods. Binding Men’s subject matter and accessible style also make it a must for those with a general interest in crime, history and, in particular, male criminality.

chapter |10 pages


chapter Chapter 1|36 pages

R v Prince 1875 1

Constraining carnality

chapter Chapter 2|33 pages

R v Coney, Gilliam and Tully 1881–2 1

Civilizing combatants and limiting lawlessness

chapter Chapter 3|32 pages

R v Dudley and Stephens 1884 1

Subduing the savage

chapter Chapter 4|37 pages

R v Clarence 1888 1

Supervising sex

chapter Chapter 5|41 pages

R v Jackson 1891 1

Dictating dominion

chapter |2 pages

Concluding thoughts