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Re-interpreting Blackstone's Commentaries: A Seminal Text in National and International Contexts

Edited by: Wilfrid Prest

ISBN13: 9781509913862
Published: February 2017
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback (Hardback in 2014)
Price: £27.99
Hardback edition , ISBN13 9781849465380

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This 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, 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 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 USA more generally (John W Cairns and Steven 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).

Legal History
Preface v
List of Contributors ix
List of Illustrations xi
List of Figures and Tables xii
List of Abbreviations xiii

1. Blackstone’s ‘Stutter’: the (Anti)Performance of the Commentaries 3
Kathryn Temple
William Blackstone: Courtroom Dramatist? 21
Simon Stern
2. Blackstone as Draughtsman: Picturing the Law 31
Cristina S Martinez
3. Blackstone’s Commentaries: England’s Legal
Georgic? 59
Michael Meehan

4. Blackstone in the Bayous: Inscribing Slaveryin the Louisiana Digest of 1808 73
John W Cairns
Legal Jambalaya 95
Stephen M Sheppard
5. Blackstone and the Birth of Quebec’s Distinct Legal Culture 1765–1867 105
Michel Morin
6. Blackstone’s Ghost: Law and Legal Education in North Carolina 125
John V Orth
7. Antipodean Blackstone 145
Wilfrid Prest

8. Blackstone’s King 169
Paul D Halliday
Modern Blackstone: the King’s Two Bodies, the Supreme Court and the President 188
Ruth Paley
9. Blackstone’s Commentaries and the Origins of Modern Constitutionalism 199
Horst Dippel
10. Reading Blackstone in the Twenty-First Century and the Twenty-First Century through Blackstone 215
Jessie Allen

Index 239