Friday, March 3, 2017
New Books: The Trope of the Female Poisoner. How a Jury in an 1840 Murder Trial was Influenced by a Cultural Metaphor
Sara Crosby, Book Talk (audio), Poisonous Muse: The Female Poisoner and the Framing of Popular Authorship in America, New Books Network
In this episode of the H-Law Legal History Podcast I talk with Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University at Marion, Sara L. Crosby about her new book, Poisonous Muse: The Female Poisoner and the Framing of Popular Authorship in Jacksonian America (University of Iowa Press, 2016). Crosby discusses how the trope of the female poisoner permeated popular literature in the mid-nineteenth century. In her analysis of the 1840 murder trial of Hannah Kinney, we see how the partisan press used the accused as a vessel through which to fight-out central political battles of the day. We then see how jury decisions may serve as a metric for determining which metaphors and cultural frames are prevailing at a point in time. Following a popular metaphor enables Crosby to track the cultural tides influencing law and politics in Jacksonian America.