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Re-Interpreting Blackstone's Commentaries

A Seminal Text in National and International Contexts

Editor(s): Wilfrid Prest
Media of Re-Interpreting Blackstone's Commentaries
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Published: 23-02-2017
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 221
ISBN: 9781509913862
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £26.99
Online price : £24.29
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Loren Epson

About Re-Interpreting Blackstone's Commentaries

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, and 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 S 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 United States more generally (John W Cairns and Stephen M 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).

Table Of Contents

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

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

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


Re-interpreting Blackstone's Commentaries is both instructive and enjoyable.” –  Christopher Tomlins, Adelaide Law Review

“Overall [Wilf] Prest's work is original and well worth-reading (...) He managed to compile a modern and exciting book, dealing with one of the eternal topics of legal history.

(Translated from the original German review)

” –  Helge Dedek, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte

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