I am a third-year PhD student at Cardiff University, researching the concept of the internal mind (mens rea) in criminal law. I have presented my research at several conferences including Strathclyde’s Law Conference in 2015, the Society of Legal Scholars’ Graduate Conference at Oxford in 2016, and most recently Aberystwyth Law School’s Postgraduate Conference in 2017. I have been working as a research assistant at Cardiff School of Law and Politics since 2014, most recently with the Centre of Law and Society, and as a Tutor on the Evidence Law module since 2016. You can read more about my research interests at thelawlass.wordpress.com.
- Criminal legal theory (with a focus on mens rea)
- Law and Literature
- Doubles fiction
- Gothic literature
Inner Mind as Outer Self: The Double as the Physical Manifestation of the Internal Mind in Literature and the Criminal Law
In formulating a test for determining the defendant’s state of mind at the time of an offence, criminal courts have struggled to maintain a coherent and consistent approach. Located in the context of Law and Literature, which uses literary tools in analysing, understanding and shaping legal thought and action, my research explores problems of proof in criminal law, and the law’s relationship with the internal mind, through the literary figure of the double. Specifically, I will be looking at doubles in Gothic fiction from the nineteenth century, a time which struggled to understand the guilty psyche and personified the internal mind as an external being.
By utilising Gothic doubles as a new way of reading doctrinal and theoretical debates regarding mens rea, my thesis aims to prove that doubles in Gothic fiction, specifically in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein and The Picture of Dorian Gray, can be read as external manifestations of the internal mind; as representations of the criminal law of the nineteenth century which was in the process of developing mens rea. Ultimately, my research aims to provide new and unique ways of engaging with concepts of gender, character and the subjective/ objective divide in criminal legal theory.