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In the course of the eighteenth century English defendants, sufferers, witnesses, judges, and jurors spoke a language of the brain. With their reputations or lives at stake, women and men offered their complicated feelings and passions as grounds for acquittal or mitigation of punishment. contained in the court docket the language of excuse reshaped crimes and punishments, signalling a shift within the age-old negotiation of mitigation. outdoors the court the language of the brain mirrored society's preoccupation with questions of sensibility, accountability, and the self.

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