A Power To Do Justice: Jurisdiction, English Literature, And The Rise Of Common Law by Bradin CormackA Power To Do Justice: Jurisdiction, English Literature, And The Rise Of Common Law by Bradin Cormack

A Power To Do Justice: Jurisdiction, English Literature, And The Rise Of Common Law

byBradin Cormack

Paperback | April 26, 2013

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English law underwent rapid transformation in the sixteenth century, in response to the Reformation and also to heightened litigation and legal professionalization. As the common law became more comprehensive and systematic, the principle of jurisdiction came under particular strain. When the common law engaged with other court systems in England, when it encountered territories like Ireland and France, or when it confronted the ocean as a juridical space, the law revealed its qualities of ingenuity and improvisation. In other words, as Bradin Cormack argues, jurisdictional crisis made visible the law’s resemblance to the literary arts.  
A Power to Do Justice
shows how Renaissance writers engaged the practical and conceptual dynamics of jurisdiction, both as a subject for critical investigation and as a frame for articulating literature’s sense of itself. Reassessing the relation between English literature and law from More to Shakespeare, Cormack argues that where literary texts attend to jurisdiction, they dramatize how boundaries and limits are the very precondition of law’s power, even as they clarify the forms of intensification that make literary space a reality.

Tracking cultural responses to Renaissance jurisdictional thinking and legal centralization, A Power to Do Justice makes theoretical, literary-historical, and methodological contributions that set a new standard for law and the humanities and for the cultural history of early modern law and literature.
Bradin Cormack is associate professor of English at the University of Chicago and coauthor of Book Use, Book Theory: 1500–1700.
Title:A Power To Do Justice: Jurisdiction, English Literature, And The Rise Of Common LawFormat:PaperbackDimensions:424 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:April 26, 2013Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022606154X

ISBN - 13:9780226061542


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note on Citations

Prologue: A Power to Do Justice
Introduction: Literature and Jurisdiction

Part I     Centralization
1     “Shewe Us Your Mynde Then”: Bureaucracy and Royal Privilege in Skelton’s Magnyfycence
2     “No More to Medle of the Matter”: Thomas More, Equity, and the Claims of Jurisdiction

Part II     Rationalization
3     Inconveniencing the Irish: Custom, Allegory, and the Common Law in
Spenser’s Ireland
4     “If We Be Conquered”: Legal Nationalism and the France of
Shakespeare’s English Histories

Part III     Formalization
5     “To Stride a Limit”: Imperium, Crisis, and Accommodation in
Shakespeare’s Cymbeline and Pericles
6     “To Law for Our Children”: Norm and Jurisdiction in Webster, Rowley,
and Heywood’s Cure for a Cuckold



Editorial Reviews

"A fine and formidable book that makes an important cross-disciplinary intervention into early modern literary studies and English legal history. . . . [The author's] insights are striking, and his patient exposition is thorough and persuasive. This is an impressive and illuminating book, generative of exciting new questions; it deserves a wide audience."