Muder, Magic, Madness: The Victorian Trials of Dove and The Wizard - Owen DaviesHarlow: Pearson Educational, 2005, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper.
Contains: Black & white plates;
From the cover: “This is the extraordinary story of magic, marital strife, poisoning and public execution that became one of the biggest newspaper sensations in mid-Victorian England. In 1856 William Dove, a young tenant farmer, was tried and sent to his death at the gallows for poisoning his wife Harriet. The trial might have been a straightforward case of murder, but when Dove’s involvement with Henry Harrison, ‘the Leeds Wizard’, and his Faustian pact with the Devil were revealed, a lengthy trial ensued to establish whether these beliefs were symptoms of madness.
Owen Davies explores the social and psychological world of Dove and the Wizard, and the origins and tragic consequences of their friendship. He looks at the problems still faced by juries today in determining the insanity of a defendant, and the extent to which this should mitigate their punishment. The Victorian period is often portrayed as an age of great social and educational progress; this book shows how beliefs dismissed as ‘medieval superstitions’ continued to influence the thoughts and actions of people in urban and rural England.
In addition to being essential source material for this book, newspapers played an important role in these events. Not only did Dove get the idea for his crime from a report in The Times, but for the first time the media began to dictate government policies on crime, just as they do today.”