New Book | Re-Interpreting Blackstone’s Commentaries

Posted in books by Editor on August 29, 2014

From Hart Publishing:

Wilfrid Prest, ed., Re-Interpreting Blackstone’s Commentaries: A Seminal Text in National and International Contexts (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2014), 221 pages, ISBN: 978-1849465380, £50 / $100.

9781849465380_p0_v1_s600This 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 his Commentaries: Biography, Law, History (Hart Publishing, 2009).

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

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I. Words and Visions
1. Kathryn Temple, Blackstone’s ‘Stutter’: The (Anti)Performance of the Commentaries
2. Simon Stern, William Blackstone: Courtroom Dramatist?
3. Cristina S. Martinez, Blackstone as Draughtsman: Picturing the Law
4. Blackstone’s Commentaries: England’s Legal Georgic? Michael Meehan

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

III. Law and Politics
10. Paul D. Halliday, Blackstone’s King
11. Ruth Paley, Modern Blackstone: The King’s Two Bodies, the Supreme Court and the President
12. Horst Dippel, Blackstone’s Commentaries and the Origins of Modern Constitutionalism
13. Jessie Allen, Reading Blackstone in the Twenty-First Century and the Twenty-First Century through Blackstone

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