04 December 2014

BOOK: "Re-Interpreting Blackstone's Commentaries, A Seminal Text in National and International Contexts", edited by Wilfrid Prest (2014)

Re-Interpreting Blackstone's Commentaries, A Seminal Text in National and International Contexts, edited by Wilfrid Prest

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This collection explores the remarkable impact and continuing influence of William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, from the work's original publication in the 1760s down to the present. Contributions by cultural and literary scholars, and intellectual and legal historians trace the manner in which this truly seminal text has established its authority well beyond the author's native shores or his own limited lifespan. 
In the first section, 'Words and Visions', Kathryn Temple, Simon Stern, Cristina S Martinez and Michael Meehan discuss the Commentaries' aesthetic and literary qualities as factors contributing to the work's unique status in Anglo-American legal culture.

The second group of essays traces the nature and dimensions of Blackstone's impact in various jurisdictions outside England, namely Quebec (Michel Morin), Louisiana and the United States more generally (John W Cairns and Stephen M Sheppard), North Carolina (John V Orth) and Australasia (Wilfrid Prest). Finally Horst Dippel, Paul Halliday and Ruth Paley examine aspects of Blackstone's influential constitutional and political ideas, while Jessie Allen concludes the volume with a personal account of 'Reading Blackstone in the Twenty-First Century and the Twenty-First Century through Blackstone'.
This volume is a sequel to the well-received collection Blackstone and hisCommentaries: Biography, Law, History (Hart Publishing, 2009).

  • Wilfrid Prest is Professor Emeritus in Law and History at the University of Adelaide.

List of Contributors
List of Illustrations 
List of Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations 

Blackstone’s ‘Stutter’: the (Anti)Performance of theCommentariesKathryn Temple 
William Blackstone: Courtroom Dramatist?, Simon Stern 
Blackstone as Draughtsman: Picturing the Law, Cristina S Martinez 
Blackstone’s Commentaries: England’s Legal Georgic?, Michael Meehan 

Blackstone in the Bayous: Inscribing Slavery in the Louisiana Digest of 1808, John W Cairns 
Legal Jambalaya, Stephen M Sheppard 
Blackstone and the Birth of Quebec’s Distinct Legal Culture 1765–1867, Michel Morin 
Blackstone’s Ghost: Law and Legal Education in North Carolina, John V Orth 
Antipodean Blackstone, Wilfrid Prest 

Blackstone’s King, Paul D Halliday 
Modern Blackstone: the King’s Two Bodies, the Supreme Court and the President, Ruth Paley 
9 Blackstone’s Commentaries and the Origins of Modern Constitutionalism, Horst Dippel 
10 Reading Blackstone in the Twenty-First Century and the Twenty-First Century through Blackstone, Jessie Allen 


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