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This title explores the evolution of contract law in England, France, Germany and Italy during the 20th century from the perspectives of law and its context. The author's treatment of contract law is fundamentally distinct from that in legal comparativist studies. It reassesses classical descriptive, analytical and normative positions and argues that contract law is not a legal abstraction; it is part of a more concrete story of societal developments, the reflection of each polity's legal and political order.;In particular, the book uncovers an interaction between the core area of contract law, the law of standard form contracts, and the socio-economic and political history over the past century of England, France, Germany and Italy. As such, it is argued that the law has been strongly influenced by defining state ""choices"" about the citizenry's welfare. The key argument is that during the course of the 1990s - as a result of ""community re-regulatory"" processes - a major transformation of the legal structure has been gaining ground, alas yet unnoticed in legal comparative studies.