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For over 30 years, first as a QC, then as a judge, and latterly as a visiting professor of law at Oxford, Stephen Sedley has written and lectured about aspects of the law that do not always get the attention they deserve.
His first anthology of essays, Ashes and Sparks, was praised in the New York Times by Ian McEwan for its “exquisite, finely balanced prose, the prickly humour, the knack of artful quotation and an astonishing historical grasp”. “You could have no interest in the law,” McEwan wrote, “and read his book for pure intellectual delight.”
The present volume contains more recent articles by Stephen Sedley on the law, many of them from the London Review of Books, and lectures given to a variety of audiences. The first part is concerned with law as part of history - Feste’s ‘whirligig of time’; the second part with law and rights. The third part is a group of biographical sketches of well-known and less well-known judges and jurists.
The final part of the book is more personal: it goes back to the author’s days at the Bar, then forward to some parting reflections.