Liberalizing Contracts

Liberalizing Contracts : Nineteenth Century Promises Through Literature, Law and History

By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


In Liberalizing Contracts Anat Rosenberg examines nineteenth-century liberal thought in England, as developed through, and as it developed, the concept of contract, understood as the formal legal category of binding agreement, and the relations and human practices at which it gestured, most basically that of promise, most broadly the capitalist market order. She does so by placing canonical realist novels in conversation with legal-historical knowledge about Victorian contracts. Rosenberg argues that current understandings of the liberal effort in contracts need reconstructing from both ends of Henry Maine's famed aphorism, which described a historical progress "from status to contract." On the side of contract, historical accounts of its liberal content have been oscillating between atomism and social-collective approaches, missing out on forms of relationality in Victorian liberal conceptualizations of contracts which the book establishes in their complexity, richness, and wavering appeal. On the side of status, the expectation of a move "from status" has led to a split along the liberal/radical fault line among those assessing liberalism's historical commitment to promote mobility and equality. The split misses out on the possibility that liberalism functioned as a historical reinterpretation of statuses - particularly gender and class - rather than either an effort of their elimination or preservation. As Rosenberg shows, that reinterpretation effectively secured, yet also altered, gender and class hierarchies, there is no teleology to such an more

Product details

  • Hardback | 280 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 19.05mm | 521.63g
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1138923702
  • 9781138923706

About Anat Rosenberg

Dr. Anat Rosenberg is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) at the Radzyner Law School, The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel. She had been a visiting research fellow at Columbia Law School, and is currently a visiting scholar at the Faculty of History at Cambridge University, and a visiting fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, the University of London. Her research brings together law, literature, sociology and cultural studies, to study the history of late modern more

Table of contents

Introduction 1. Contract's Liberalism in Contracts Histories Part I: From Status Foreword 2. Credit and the Market: Vanity Fair and The Way We Live Now 3. Contract and Abstraction(?): Agency in Ruth and Bleak House 4. Contract and Freedom(?): Constrained Existence in Middlemarch and The Mayor of Casterbridge Part II: With Status Foreword 5. Status-to-Contract Reassessed: The Victorian Promise of Marriage 6. Liberal Anguish: Wuthering Heights and the Structures of Liberal Thought Epilogue: History is Always in the Futureshow more