Tui or Parson Bird Prosthemadera Novae Zealandiae. From: 'A history of the birds of New Zealand' by Walter Lawry Buller | OUR Heritage

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Criminal Man






Private collection



Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press


‘Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909) is as familiar a scientific name to Italians as Charles Darwin is to the Anglophone world. Starting in the 1870s, Lombroso made his name by establishing a new scientific field, which he called ‘criminal anthropology’. He published his theories in L’Uomo delinquente (Criminal Man; first edition, 1876). Clearly inspired by Darwin’s notion of evolution, Lombroso argued that criminals were throwbacks, born not made, and always exhibited empirically observable physical abnormalities. Lombroso’s theories appealed because they made the study of crime into an empirical science, as opposed to the abstract philosophy of classical 18th century criminology. It is no surprise then that Criminal Man went through five editions in the author’s lifetime. Lombroso’s theory of ‘the criminal man’ has not stood the test of time, underlining the notion that nearly all brilliant social insights are intrinsically tied to their particular historical context.’ Item chosen by Mark Seymour, History, University of Otago


Cesare Lombroso. Translated by Mary Gibson and Nicole Hahn Rafter, with translation assistance from Mark Seymour, “Criminal Man,” | OUR Heritage, accessed August 11, 2022,

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