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February 15, 1896


JAMA. 1896;XXVI(7):334-336. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430590036005

It is so common for men to dislike what is or seems absolutely new that we are not surprised that the Italian school of criminal anthropology—the so-called positivist school—should have so many enemies. For the teaching is so novel, so sweeping, so unpleasantly tinctured with fatalism, that it is naturally very obnoxious to the optimists of religion and science. But we imagine that much that is felt by excellent men on this subject is prejudice (if the word be not too severe) springing from a superficial knowledge of the works of the Italians themselves and their coadjutors in France and Germany. It will doubtless surprise those who have no other notion of this science than what an acquaintance with the least discreet of authors1 affords, to be told that among those who have studied it with conviction are not only many of the most elegant of contemporary writers, but

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