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Blackstone and his Commentaries

Biography, Law, History

Editor(s): Wilfrid Prest
Media of Blackstone and his Commentaries
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Published: 10-07-2014
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 280
ISBN: 9781849466424
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £25.99
Online price : £23.39
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Loren Epson

About Blackstone and his Commentaries

Among the most celebrated works in the Anglo-American legal tradition, William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-9) is currently attracting renewed scholarly interest. Whilst the Commentaries no longer dominate legal education, they continue to be regularly cited in superior courts throughout the common law world, besides providing a remarkably comprehensive account of public and private law in England on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution.

The life and character of Blackstone himself, the nature and sources of his jurisprudence and the impact of his great book are the main themes of the collection. Individual essays treat Blackstone's early architectural treatises and their relationship to the Commentaries; his idiosyncratic bibliophilia; his views of the role of judges, interpretation of statutes, the law of marriage, natural law, property law and the legalities of colonisation. Together with the dissemination and the reception of the Commentaries, Blackstone's bibliography and iconography also receive attention. Combining the work of both eminent and emerging scholars, this interdisciplinary venture sheds welcome new light on a legal classic and its continued influence.

Table Of Contents

1 Blackstone and Biography
Wilfrid Prest
2 A'Model of the Old House': Architecture in Blackstone's Life and Commentaries
Carol Matthews
3 'A Mighty Consumption of Ale': Blackstone, Buckler and All Souls College, Oxford
Norma Aubertin-Potter
4 William Blackstone and William Prynne: An Unlikely Association?
Ian Doolittle
5 Blackstone on Judging
John H Langbein
6 Blackstone's Rules for the Construction of Statutes
John V Orth
7 Blackstone and Bentham on the Law of Marriage
Mary Sokol
8 Coverture and Unity of Person in Blackstone's Commentaries
Tim Stretton
9 Blackstone's Commentaries on Colonialism: Australian Judicial Interpretations
Thalia Anthony
10 Restoring the 'Real' to Real Property Law: A Return to Blackstone?
Nicole Graham
11 American Blackstones
Michael Hoeflich
12 Did Blackstone get the Gallic Shrug?
John Emerson
13 Blackstone in Germany
Horst Dippel
14 Bibliography
Morris Cohen
15 Iconography
JH Baker and Wilfrid Prest


“[A] splendid collection … it is remarkable how well the various chapters complement each other. The book repays reading as a whole” –  Ian Williams, Cambridge Law Journal

“[An] excellent book … the foundation for any future scholarship on Blackstone and his Commentaries” –  RB Bernstein, The Law and Politics Book Review

“The worth of Blackstone and his Commentaries … is not to be measured by the distinction of the authors of its various chapters although, in this case, it is difficult to imagine a more impressive collection of scholars covering such a broad range of expertise … Happily, the quality of the writing … matches the outstanding reputations of the respective authors” –  Stephen Keim, Hearsay

“This is very interesting and useful collection of essays, which show very clearly how, nearly 250 years after the publication of his greatest work, there still remains much to be said about the Commentator.” –  Michael Lobban, Journal of Legal History

“While much has been written about the importance of Blackstone's work in the development of the law in the US, these two chapters provide an interesting insight into the influence of his work in continental Europe.
This edited collection demonstrates that there is still much to be said, and a great deal that is still unknown, about William Blackstone and his work.
” –  Adam Webster, Alternative Law Journal

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