Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/228

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
218
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
CRIMINAL WOMAN.

By Miss HELEN ZIMMERN.

THE school of criminal anthropologists is making great strides in Italy. New works are continually pouring from the press which record the observations of students of this modern science, all of them striving to establish the data on which to base the phenomena of crime and degeneration. The world-famed name of Prof. Cesare Lombroso constantly appears on new works, which are fresh guides to science. La Donna Delinquente (Criminal Woman) is the title of his latest book, which is a joint work written together with one of his pupils, Prof. G. Ferrero. This book completes his previous admirable study entitled L'Uomo Delinquente (Criminal Man). This new study on abnormal woman is a very important work, which offered much greater difficulties in the way of research and observation than that on man. Indeed, Lombroso writes in his preface: "The chief results of our first investigations were in opposition to the usual premises; even individual and partial observations seemed to clash; so that if one wished to be logical one was obliged to hesitate as to definite conclusions. We were, however, faithful to the maxim that we have always pursued; we followed facts blindly, even when they appeared to contradict each other and seemed taking a false turning. And we were not wrong: in the end the facts which seemed most opposed, fitted into their places like the pieces of a mosaic and formed a uniform and perfect design, although at first it seemed as if we were groping in the dark and that it was difficult to collect them. When at last we reached the desired goal, we tasted the bitter delight of the hunter who seizes his prey after scouring rocks and precipices, and feels the joy of his success redoubled by the losses and fatigues his conquest has cost him."

In this quotation is given truly the keynote to the whole volume. It explains to the reader what difficulties the authors have had to surmount, in order to draw a precise and certain conclusion, and to determine the characteristics of female criminals, just as other similar works written by modern savants define those of male offenders. The work is divided into four principal parts: 1. Normal Woman. 2. Female Crime. 3. Pathological and Anthropometrical Anatomy of Female Criminals and Prostitutes. 4. Biology and Psychology of Female Delinquents and Prostitutes. The first part is full of observations on normal women, and is a contrast to the second, which treats of female criminals in all their different changes of organism and mental attitude. In the section devoted to normal women, Lombroso