Men on trial

Performing emotion, embodiment and identity in Ireland, 1800-45

By Katie Barclay

Men on trial


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3292-5
  • Pages: 280
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: October 2018
  • BIC Category: History, Legal History, Social & cultural history, Psychology: the self, ego, identity, personality, Ireland, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Ireland, Gender studies: men & boys, Modern History, Law, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, HISTORY / Social History, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: men, Early 19th century c 1800 to c 1850
  • Series: Gender in History


Men on trial explores how the Irish perform 'the self' within the early nineteenth-century courtroom and its implications for law, society and nation. Drawing on new methodologies from the history of emotion, as well as theories of performativity and performative space, it emphasises that manliness was not simply a cultural ideal, but something practised, felt and embodied. Men on trial explores how gender could be a creative dynamic in productions of power. Targeted at scholars in Irish history, law and gender studies, this book argues that justice was not simply determined through weighing evidence, but through weighing men, their bodies, behaviours, and emotions. Moreover, in a context where the processes of justice were publicised in the press for the nation and the world, manliness and its role in the creation of justice became implicated in the making of national identity.


Opening speeches: an introduction
1. Law and lawyers: 'the prerogative of the wig'
2. The stage: 'the court presented a very imposing spectacle'
3. Bodies in court: 'Hogarth would have admired him forever'
4. Speech, sympathy and eloquence: 'it is a voice full of manly melody'
5. The cross-examination: 'he's putting me in such a doldrum'
6. Storytelling: 'quoting the poet'
7. On character: 'you see McDonnell the value of a good character'
Closing arguments: a conclusion
Select Bibliography


Katie Barclay is an Associate Professor in the ARC Centre for Excellence in the History of Emotions and Department of History, University of Adelaide

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