Nineteenth-Century Female Poisoners investigates the Essex
poisoning trials of 1846 to 1851 where three women were charged
with using arsenic to kill children, their husbands and brothers.
Using newspapers, archival sources (including petitions and witness
depositions), and records from parliamentary debates, the focus is
not on whether the women were guilty or innocent, but rather on
what English society during this period made of their trials and
what stereotypes and stock-stories were used to describe women who
used arsenic to kill. All three women were initially presented as
'bad' women - but as the book illustrates there was no clear
consensus on what exactly constituted bad womanhood.
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