‘Normal’ versus ‘criminal’ woman, such as ‘the prostitute’

Lombroso, Cesare (1835-1909).

La donna delinquente. La prostituta e la donna normale. Turin-Rome, L. Roux, 1893.

Lombroso, Cesare (1835-1909) La donna delinquente. La prostituta e la donna normale. L. Roux, 1893.

8° (242x154 mm). XI, [1], 640 pages. With the engraved portrait of Messalina on the title-page, eight plates (four folding) and several diagrams, photographs, and statistical tables in the text. Possibly original blue cloth, gilt title on spine. Joints weakened. A good copy, only slightly browned, plate VI loose.

Rare first edition of this very influential work on the criminal woman, considered the first modern criminology text to focus exclusively on the subject.

A first draft of the work, written in collaboration with Salvatore Ottolenghi, had appeared two years earlier in the Giornale della R. Accademia di Medicina (nos. 9-10). The final draft was written in collaboration with the author's son-in-law, the talented law student Guglielmo Ferrero (1871-1942).

In Criminal Woman, Lombroso – convinced of the pathological nature of the born criminal – applies to women the same theories expressed in his Uomo delinquente (Criminal Man), published in 1876 (see no. 275), the work that marks the foundation of criminal anthropology. In the text, he outlines a comparative analysis of 'normal women' as opposed to 'criminal women' such as 'the prostitute'.

“These theories, published in L'uomo delinquente and several other works, caused a good deal of controversy, but also exerted a powerful influence that still persists, even though we no longer accept Lombroso's concept of the connection between atavism and criminality” (Norman 1384).

CLIO, Catalogo dei libri italiani dell'Ottocento (1801-1900), IV, p. 2667 (MI185); Garrison-Morton 174; H. Mannheim, Pioneers in Criminology, Chicago 1960, pp. 168-227; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 279.

$ 2.800