Communal Justice in Shakespeare's England
Communal Justice (cover art).

Communal Justice in Shakespeare’s England: Drama, Law, and Emotion. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021.

The sixteenth century was a turning point for both law and drama. Relentless professionalization of the common law set off a cascade of lawyerly self-fashioning – resulting in blunt attacks on lay judgment. English playwrights, including Shakespeare, resisted the forces of legal professionalization by casting legal expertise as a detriment to moral feeling. They celebrated the ability of individuals, guided by conscience and working alongside members of their community, to restore justice. Playwrights used the participatory nature of drama to deepen public understanding of and respect for communal justice. In plays such as King Lear and Macbeth, lay people accomplish the work of magistracy: conscience structures legal judgment, neighbourly care shapes the coroner’s inquest, and communal emotions give meaning to confession and repentance.

Learn more on the publisher’s website.


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A Portuguese translation of the article is now available thanks to Jony Clay Borges, Estudante de Direito da Universidade do Estado do Amazonas and Professor Daniel Aquino, Professor de Direito da Universidade do Estado do Amazonas. Read “Antes do direito de permanecer em silêncio: Os inquéritos de Anne Askew e Elizabeth YoungPDF here. I’m honored.

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