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Originally published in 1895, with a second edition in 1898, and the reissued in 1968 with a new introduction and select bibliography by S.F.C. Milsom
Although this book was envisaged as a joint venture and bears the name of both Pollock and Maitland, it is substantially the work of Maitland, it was recognised at once as a masterpiece and has since been accepted as one of the great histories in the English language.
In Maitland’s lifetime Acton pronounced him the ablest historian in England. Plucknett said that ‘everything he wrote exercises a deep fascination and a personal attraction’. To Sir Maurice Powicke he was ‘one of the immortals’. Lord Annan, in the preface to his Leslie Stephen, called him ‘perhaps the greatest of all professional historians’.
To read The History of English Law even sixty years after Maitland’s death, is to feel at once the touch of a master. That touch could only be weakened by editing, so the present issue is a reprint of the second edition but with an introductory essay and a select bibliography by S. F. C. Milsom, Professor of Legal History in the University of London.