Crime, desire and law’s unconscious: law, literature and culture
Foreword by Ian Ward
Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, 2014, 208 pp.
Sexual desire, and the possible dangers associated with its more extreme manifestations, provokes strong, albeit often contradictory reactions. Such reactions are a well-known stimulant of creative, juridical and scholarly activity, and the texts of law, literature and academic criticism respond to it in ways that are suggestive both of revulsion and fascination. But how are we to understand such responses, and what can they tell us about the relationship between law and its 'others'? Exploring these questions in the context of HIV transmission, on-street sexual exploitation and erotic asphyxiation, this book seeks to understand the motivations behind legal, literary and cultural constructions of sexual offences, their perpetrators and victims. It analyses these constructions in a diverse range of sources: appeal judgments in England,Wales and North America, criminal trials and their reporting, visual and linguistic cultures and both modern and 'classic' literature. The perspective taken here is informed by a psychoanalytic understanding of the uses of metaphor in these texts that may indicate a displacement of troubling unconscious influences, assumptions and prejudices. Sexual behaviours considered to be 'beyond the pale', that we publicly and consciously condemn, may also serve as uncanny reminders of long-forgotten and repressed desires and memories that suggest secret affinities between offenders and the society that judges them..
Foreword: by Ian Ward
PART I: THEORY AND METHOD IN FREUDIAN LITERARY JURISPRUDENCE
Chapter 1: The Repression and Return of Infantile Desires and Memories
Chapter 2: Freud and Literary Jurisprudence: Criticisms, Responses and Perspectives
PART II: INCRIMINATING DESIRES
Chapter 3: Choice, Risk and Death in the Criminalization of HIV
Chapter 4: 'Our Girls are [Not] Halal Meat!': Metaphor and Meaning in the reporting of Sexual Exploitation Trials
PART III: TRAUMATIC MEMORIES
Chapter 5: The Sadean Trial and the Fantasy of Sexual Citizenship
Chapter 6: The Feminist Unconscious: a Critique of the Criminalization of Unconscious Sex
David Gurnham is currently a Reader in Law at the University of Southampton. Research interests are criminal law, law and literature, healthcare law and legal theory. Recent publications include the monograph Memory, Imagination, Justice: Intersections of Law and Literature (Ashgate 2009. ISBN: 978-0-7546-7103-9)