The Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature, 1500-1700

The Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature, 1500-1700

Edited by 

Free delivery worldwide

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


This Handbook triangulates the disciplines of history, legal history, and literature to produce a new, interdisciplinary framework for the study of early modern England. Scholars of early modern English literature and history have increasingly found that an understanding of how people in the past thought about and used the law is key to understanding early modern familial and social relations as well as important aspects of the political revolution and the emergence
of capitalism. Judicial or forensic rhetoric has been shown to foster new habits of literary composition (poetry and drama) and new processes 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.

Accordingly, historians, critics, and legal historians come together in this Handbook to develop accounts of the past that are attentive to the legally purposeful or fictional shaping of events in the historical archive. They also contribute to a transformation of our understanding of the place of forensic modes of inquiry in the creation of imaginative fiction and drama. Chapters in the Handbook approach, from a diversity of perspectives, topics including forensic rhetoric, humanist and legal
education, Inns of Court revels, drama, poetry, emblem books, marriage and divorce, witchcraft, contract, property, imagination, oaths, evidence, community, local government, legal reform, libel, censorship, authorship, torture, slavery, liberty, due process, the nation state, colonialism, and
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 826 pages
  • 167 x 241 x 43mm | 1,402g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198857357
  • 9780198857358
  • 1,797,384

Table of contents

Lorna Hutson: Introduction: Law, Literature and History
Part I. Textual and Interpretative Culture
1: Kathy Eden: Forensic Rhetoric and Humanist Education
2: Margaret McGlynn: Idiosyncratic Books and Common Learning: Readings on Statutes at the Inns of Court'
3: Ian Williams: Common Law Scholarship and the Written Word
4: James McBain: 'Attentive Mindes and Serious Wits': Legal Training and Early Drama
5: Quentin Skinner: Why Shylocke Loses his Case: Judicial Rhetoric in The Merchant of Venice
Part II. Literature and the Legal Profession, 1500-1700
6: Jessica Winston: Legal Satire and the Legal Profession in the 1590s: John Davies' Epigrammes and Professional Decorum
7: Peter Goodrich: The Emblem Book and Common Law
8: Paul Raffield: The Monarchical Republic: Constitutionality and the Legal Profession
9: Martin Butler: The Legal Masque: Humanity and Liberty at the Inns of Court
10: Christopher Brooks: Paradise Lost? Law, Literature, and History in Restoration England
Part III. Administering the Law
11: James Sharpe: Law Enforcement and the Local Community
12: Norma Landau: The Changing Persona of the Justices and their Quarter Sessions
13: Barbara Shapiro: Law and the Evidentiary Environment
14: Virginia Strain: Legal Reform and 2 Henry IV
Part IV. Temporal and Spiritual, Law and Conscience
15: Joshua P. Phillips: Immunities and Monasticism: Bale to Shakespeare
16: Alan Cromartie: Epieikeia and Conscience
17: Ethan Shagan: The Ecclesiastical Polity
18: Jason Rosenblatt: Making Law and Recording It: John Selden on Excommunication
19: Elliott Visconsi: Seldenism
Part V. Legal and Literary Imagining
20: Luke Wilson: Contract
21: Tim Stretton: Contract and Conjugality in Early Modern England
22: Carolyn Sale: The Literary Thing: The Imaginary Holding of Isabella Whitney's 'Wyll' to London, 1573
23: Frances Dolan: Witch Wives
24: Henry Turner: Corporate Persons, Between Law and Literature
Part VI. Libel, Publication, and the Press
25: David Ibbetson: Edward Coke, Roman Law, and the Law of Libel
26: Joad Raymond: Censorship in Law and Practice in Seventeenth Century England: Milton's Aeropagitica
27: Martin Dzelzainis: Managing the Later Stuart Press, 1662-1696
28: Alastair Bellany: The Torture of John Felton, 1628
Part VII. Liberties, Slaveries, and English Law
29: Bernadette Meyler: From Sovereignty to the State: The Tragicomic Clemency of Massinger's The Bondman
30: Paul Halliday: Birthrights and the Due Course of Law
31: Nigel Smith: Legal Agency as Literature in the English Revolution: The Case of the Levellers
32: Mary Nyquist: Base Slavery and the Roman Yoke
Part VIII. The Extra-English Legal World: Between Colony, Nation, and Empire
33: Andrew Zurcher: Spenser, Plowden, and the Hypallactic Instrument
34: Rab Houston: Law and Literature in Scotland, c.1450-1707
35: Lorna Hutson: Forensic History: Henry V and Scotland
36: Christopher Warren: Henry V, Anachronism, and the History of International Law
37: Edward Holberton: Empire and Natural Law in Dryden's Heroic Drama
38: Dan Hulsebosch: English Liberties Outside England: Floors, Doors, Windows, and Ceilings in the Legal Architecture of Empire
show more

Review quote

Lorna Hutson's magisterial Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature, 1500-1700 seeks to interrogate the 'menage a trois' between law, literature, and history...The sections of the volume deliberately juxtapose chapters by authors from different disciplines to generate further cross-pollination. * Harriet Archer, The English Association * With its compelling reading of The Merchant of Venice, its rigorous research, and its clarity of style, Skinner's chapter shines as an exemplar of the very best of Shakespearean scholarship. * Louise Powell, The English Association * The contributions to this collection are consistently outstanding * Feisal G. Mohamed, CUNY, Renaissance Quarterly *
show more

About Lorna Hutson

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.
show more