MATTHEW LOCKWOOD    Book Number: 88942    Product format: Hardback

A fresh and fascinating history of crime and violence in England through the office of the coroner. Lockwood explores the history of crime, murder and suicide in England over four centuries. While the office of coroner was established to investigate violent or suspicious deaths, Lockwood asserts that the demands of competing parties gradually shaped its systems and transformed England into a modern state earlier than is commonly acknowledged. Weaving together strands of social, legal, economic and political history, the book complements the 'bellecist' interpretation of the rise of the modern state. When the body of Thomas Chennell was discovered drowned in a Surrey pond in 1591, the discovery was marked by multiple layers of surveillance. Like so many vultures, the heirs and creditors, local officials and central agents of the crown circled the body, all intent on their own ends and interests. If murder, the coroner John Derrick would receive a fee as coroner; if accident or suicide, his pains would go unrewarded. This concept of the function of the state was not lost on political theorists. Thomas Hobbes argued that in a state of nature, war, strife and discord there was 'the continual fear and danger of violent death'. In a similar vein, John Locke declared that each individual had an equal natural right to protect his person and property, as well as a right to enforce the law against those who threatened these. A brilliantly argued history across many fields. 404pp, map. 2017 first edition, Yale University Press, unjacketed.
Published price: £60
Bibliophile price: £6.00

Additional product information

ISBN 9780300217063
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