Editors’ Introduction
This book offers English-language readers the first critical, scholarly
translation of Criminal Man (L’uomo delinquente), the classic work by
the Italian physician and psychiatrist Cesare Lombroso (1835–1909).
It provides a companion volume to our previous translation of Lom-
broso’sothermajorwork, Criminal Woman, the Prostitute, and the Nor-
mal
Woman.1
Criminal Man, first published in 1876 as one slim vol-
ume,went through five editions during Lombroso’s lifetime, each one
greatlyexpanded in both length and numberof topics
addressed.2
The
final edition, published in 1896–97, appeared in four volumes, the last
of which, entitled Atlas (Atlante), consists almost entirely of tables,
maps, drawings, and photographs.This new translation offers lengthy
excerpts from all five editions, so that readers can follow the develop-
mentof Lombroso’sthoughtoverhisprofessionallifetime.Unlikeear-
lier English translations, which are fragmentary and almost a century
old,thisvolumerevealsforthefirsttimethecomplexityof Lombroso’s
ideas.3
Lombroso is best known for his theory of the born criminal (delin-
quente nato),adangerousindividualmarkedbywhathecalled‘‘anoma-
lies’’—physical and psychological abnormalities. For Lombroso, these
anomalies resembled the traits of primitive peoples, animals, and even
plants, ‘‘proving’’ that the most dangerous criminals were atavistic
throwbacks on the evolutionary scale. Because anomalies can be exam-
ined, counted, and classified, Lombroso promised to turn the studyof
criminalityintoanempiricalscience.Hecalledhisnewfieldofresearch
‘‘criminal anthropology,’’ reflecting his desire to reorient legal thinking
from philosophical debate about the nature of crime to an analysis of
the characteristics of the criminal.
We began this project with a disdain for what we understood as the
simplemindednessof Lombroso’stheoryofatavismandwithafearthat
hisbiologicaldeterminismwasprejudicialtowomen,blacks,andother
socialgroupsthathedeemedinferior.Manyof hisconclusionsseemed
silly,andhisprojectaparticularlyfrightfulexampleof badscience.But
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