Law and Critique

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 83–102 | Cite as

A ‘Right to Passions’? Compassion’s Sexed Asymmetry and a Minor Comedy of Errors

  • Adrian Howe


This paper reflects on the experience of presenting a limit test case based on passion/provocation cases against a proposed ‘right to passions’ suggested by proponents of a sentimental jurisprudence. The limit case, presented at the 2010 CLC held in Utrecht, invited the audience to reflect on the human (read: male) right to a provocation defence, a right enshrined in the criminal law as a concession to ‘human frailty’ in ‘crimes of passion’ for centuries.


Audience Compassion Femicide Feminism Passion Provocation Shakespeare 



Research for this paper was completed during my visiting professorial fellowship at Queen Mary Law School, University of London. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the inspirational work of Eric Heinze, professor of law at Queen Mary. Thanks Eric for your wonderful Law and Shakespeare lectures, your boundless enthusiasm for Shakespearean-inflected critical law scholarship and finally, for so generously sharing your wealth of knowledge in the field. Thanks also to the reviewers for their comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawQueen Mary, University of LondonLondonUK

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