Blackstone and His Commentaries: Biography, Law, History

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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.