Impassioned Jurisprudence

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  • ISBN 9781611486773 


The essays in this volume on the intersections of law and literature examine the role of the passions in English law and legal thought at a time when modern conceptions of jurisprudence and patterns of legislation were beginning to coalesce. "Passions," which were alternately construed as pathos, emotion, feeling, sentimentalism, sensibility, and social obligation, found their way into the legal discourse of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, despite claims that rationality characterizes the law. In this collection, scholars of the law and literature movement consider the place of the passions in legal texts and constitutional developments, and, correspondingly, explore the engagement of literature with legal thought to disclose the function of emotion in both the theory and practice of the law. The historical period covered in this collection begins in the 1760s with the publication of Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, the first descriptive overview and justification of the English legal system, and ends in 1848, a year of constitutional crisis in Britain and revolution abroad. During this span of time, in which modern English jurisprudence is taking shape and becoming part of the public discourse, we find a deepening reaffirmation of the role of the passions in the law; indeed, emotion is recognized as crucial to the cohesion of a social contract and the legal system that protects both property and liberty.

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