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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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Shakespeare and the Law: A Conversation among Disciplies and Professions

Edited by: Bradin Cormack, Martha C. Nussbaum, Richard Strier

ISBN13: 9780226924939
Published: April 2013
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Hardback
Price: £31.00
Paperback edition , ISBN13 9780226378565

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William Shakespeare is inextricably linked with the law. Legal documents make up most of the records we have of his life, and trials, lawsuits, and legal terms permeate his plays.

Gathering an extraordinary team of literary and legal scholars, philosophers, and even sitting judges, Shakespeare and the Law demonstrates that Shakespeare’s thinking about legal concepts and legal practice points to a deep and sometimes vexed engagement with the law’s technical workings, its underlying premises, and its social effects.

  • Shakespeare and the Law opens with three essays that provide useful frameworks for approaching the topic, offering perspectives on law and literature that emphasize both the continuities and contrasts between the two fields. In its second section, the book considers Shakespeare’s awareness of common law thinking and common law practice through examinations of Measure for Measure and Othello.

    Building and expanding on this question, the third part inquires into Shakespeare’s general attitudes toward legal systems. A judge and a former solicitor general rule on Shylock’s demand for enforcement of his odd contract; and two essays by literary scholars take contrasting views on whether Shakespeare could imagine a functioning legal system.

    The fourth section looks at how law enters into conversation with issues of politics and community, both in the plays and in our own world. The volume concludes with a freewheeling colloquy among Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Judge Richard Posner, Martha C. Nussbaum, and Richard Strier that covers everything from the ghost in Hamlet to the nature of judicial discretion.

    Celebrating the sometimes fractious intellectual energy produced by scholars and practitioners tackling the question of Shakespeare and the law, this collection is a resource and provocation for further thinking and ongoing discussion.

  • Subjects:
    General Interest