29 May 2018

BOOK: Lorna HUTSON (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature, 1500-1700 [Oxford Handbooks] (Oxford: OUP, 2017), 832 p. ISBN 9780199660889, GBP 95

(image source: OUP)

Book abstract: 
This Handbook triangulates the disciplines of history, legal history, and literature to produce a new, interdisciplinary framework for the study of early modern England. For historians of early modern England, turning to legal archives and learning more about legal procedure has seemed increasingly relevant to the project of understanding familial and social relations as well as political institutions, state formation, and economic change. Literary scholars and intellectual historians have also shown how classical forensic rhetoric formed the basis both of the humanist teaching of literary composition (poetry and drama) and of new legal epistemologies of fact-finding and evidence evaluation. In addition, the post-Reformation jurisdictional dominance of the common law produced new ways of drawing the boundaries between private conscience and public accountability. This Handbook brings historians, literary scholars, and legal historians together to build on and challenge these and similar lines of inquiry. Chapters in the Handbook consider the following topics in a variety of combinations: forensic rhetoric, poetics and evidence; humanist and legal learning; political and professional identities at the Inns of Court; poetry, drama, and visual culture; local governance and legal reform; equity, conscience, and religious law; legal transformations of social and affective relations (property, marriage, witchcraft, contract, corporate personhood); authorial liability (libel, censorship, press regulation); rhetorics of liberty, slavery, torture, and due process; nation, sovereignty, and international law (the British archipelago, colonialism, empire).
 Table of contents:
Introduction: Law, Literature and History, Lorna Hutson Part I. Textual and Interpretative Culture
1: Forensic Rhetoric and Humanist Education, Kathy Eden
2: Idiosyncratic Books and Common Learning: Readings on Statutes at the Inns of Court', Margaret McGlynn
3: Common Law Scholarship and the Written Word, Ian Williams
4: 'Attentive Mindes and Serious Wits': Legal Training and Early Drama, James McBain
5: Why Shylocke Loses his Case: Judicial Rhetoric in The Merchant of Venice, Quentin Skinner
Part II. Literature and the Legal Profession, 1500-1700
6: Legal Satire and the Legal Profession in the 1590s: John Davies' Epigrammes and Professional Decorum, Jessica Winston
7: The Emblem Book and Common Law, Peter Goodrich
8: The Monarchical Republic: Constitutionality and the Legal Profession, Paul Raffield
9: The Legal Masque: Humanity and Liberty at the Inns of Court, Martin Butler
10: Paradise Lost? Law, Literature, and History in Restoration England, Christopher Brooks
Part III. Administering the Law
11: Law Enforcement and the Local Community, James Sharpe
12: The Changing Persona of the Justices and their Quarter Sessions, Norma Landau
13: Law and the Evidentiary Environment, Barbara Shapiro
14: Legal Reform and 2 Henry IV, Virginia Strain
Part IV. Temporal and Spiritual, Law and Conscience 15: Immunities and Monasticism: Bale to Shakespeare, Joshua P. Phillips
16: Epieikeia and Conscience, Alan Cromartie
17: The Ecclesiastical Polity, Ethan Shagan
18: Making Law and Recording It: John Selden on Excommunication, Jason Rosenblatt
19: Seldenism, Elliott Visconsi
Part V. Legal and Literary Imagining
20: Contract, Luke Wilson
21: Contract and Conjugality in Early Modern England, Tim Stretton
22: The Literary Thing: The Imaginary Holding of Isabella Whitney's 'Wyll' to London, 1573, Carolyn Sale
23: Witch Wives, Frances Dolan 24: Corporate Persons, Between Law and Literature, Henry Turner
Part VI. Libel, Publication, and the Press
25: Edward Coke, Roman Law, and the Law of Libel, David Ibbetson
26: Censorship in Law and Practice in Seventeenth Century England: Milton's Aeropagitica, Joad Raymond
27: Managing the Later Stuart Press, 1662-1696, Martin Dzelzainis
28: The Torture of John Felton, 1628, Alastair Bellany Part VII. Liberties, Slaveries, and English Law 29: From Sovereignty to the State: The Tragicomic Clemency of Massinger's The Bondman, Bernadette Meyler
30: Birthrights and the Due Course of Law, Paul Halliday
31: Legal Agency as Literature in the English Revolution: The Case of the Levellers, Nigel Smith
32: Base Slavery and the Roman Yoke, Mary Nyquist
Part VIII. The Extra-English Legal World: Between Colony, Nation, and Empire
33: Spenser, Plowden, and the Hypallactic Instrument, Andrew Zurcher
34: Law and Literature in Scotland, c.1450-1707, Rab Houston
35: Forensic History: Henry V and Scotland, Lorna Hutson
36: Henry V, Anachronism, and the History of International Law, Christopher Warren
37: Empire and Natural Law in Dryden's Heroic Drama, Edward Holberton
38: English Liberties Outside England: Floors, Doors, Windows, and Ceilings in the Legal Architecture of Empire, Dan Hulsebosch
On the editor:
 Edited by Lorna Hutson, Merton Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford Lorna Hutson is Merton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford. Educated in San Francisco, Edinburgh, and Oxford, she has taught at the Universities of St Andrews, UC Berkeley, Hull, and Queen Mary, London. She has served as Head of English at St Andrews (2008-11) and has held fellowships from the Folger, the Huntingdon, the Guggenheim, and the Leverhulme Trust. Her books include Thomas Nashe in Context (1989), The Usurer's Daughter (1994), and The Invention of Suspicion (2007). Circumstantial Shakespeare (2015) was based on the Oxford Wells Shakespeare Lectures in 2012. She has also edited Ben Jonson's Discoveries (1641) for the Cambridge Complete Works of Ben Jonson (2012) and written numerous articles on Renaissance topics.
More information with OUP.

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