Semester 2, 2011-12

CMEMLL Reading Group

Professor Bradin Cormack (University of Chicago)

Monday 28 May, 2012, 1-2 pm
Stephen Boyd Room, Kennedy Hall, School of English

Bradin Cormack, Professor of English at the University of Chicago and Corresponding Professor of CMEMLL, will lead our fourth CMEMLL reading group, the topic of which is ‘Affective Possession’, and the text is:

Bradin Cormack, ‘Shakespeare Possessed: Legal Affect and the Time of Holding,’ in Shakespeare and the Law ed. Paul Raffield and Gary Watt (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2008), pp. 83-100.

Professor Cormack is the author of A Power to do Justice: Jurisdiction, English Literature and the Rise of Common Law, 1509-1625 (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 2008), a book which has revealed how intimately English Renaissance authors knew the law, and how well they understood the creative potential of its jurisdictional instability.

He is co-editor, with Leonard Barkan and Sean Keilen, of The Forms of Renaissance Thought: New Essays on Literature and Culture (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

CMEMLL Reading Group

Professor William I. Miller (University of Michigan)

Thursday 17 May, 2012, 1-2 pm
Old Class Library, St John’s House, 65 South Street, School of History

William I. Miller, Thomas G. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan and Honorary Professor of History at St Andrews, will lead our third CMEMLL reading group.

The text for reading is ‘Thorstein the Staffstruck’ from Hrafnkel’s Saga and other Icelandic Storiestr. Hermann Pálsson (London: Penguin, 1971), pp. 72-81 – a mere 9 pages but ‘rich beyond belief in matters social and legal and moral’ (Prof Miller). A pdf is available for download here.

Professor Miller has written influentially and provocatively on blood feud and on the involvement of the emotions in law, relationship and self-assessment. His most recent publications are Losing It (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011), Auden and the Polar Bear: Luck, Law and Largesse in a Medieval Tale of Risky Business (Leiden: Brill, 2008) and An Eye for an Eye (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

CMEMLL Reading Group

Professor John Hudson (University of St Andrews)

Wednesday 22 February, 2012, 1-2 pm
Stephen Boyd Room, Kennedy Hall, School of English

John Hudson, Professor of Legal History and Head of the School of History, will lead our second CMEMLL reading group meeting. The text for reading is Pierre Bourdieu, ‘The Force of Law: Towards a Sociology of the Juridical Field’, translated by Richard Terdiman, Hastings Law Journal, 38 (5), 1986, pp. 814- 853. It is available for download here:


Professor Hudson’s research interests began with law and land-holding in twelfth-century England, and this subject has remained central to much of his subsequent work, leading up to his forthcoming book, Volume II of the Oxford History of the Laws of England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). It covers the period 821-1216 and is described as ‘the most comprehensive history of medieval English law published for over one hundred years’.

Some of his legal history work plays with the applicability to mediaeval situations of ideas from modern legal theory; this work is furthered by his visiting association with the University of Michigan Law School, where he enjoys the title of William W. Cook Global Law Professor. He has two other main areas of research interest –  one is mediaeval historical writing, mostly in England, and the other is nineteenth-century writing on the Middle Ages, and in particular the work of the greatest of legal historians, F. W. Maitland.

Semester 1, 2011-12

CMEMLL Reading Group

Professor Peter Brooks (Princeton University)

Thursday 20 October, 2011, 10.30-12 pm
Stephen Boyd Room, Kennedy Hall, School of English

Peter Brooks, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar in the University Center for Human Values and the Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton University, will lead our inaugural CMEMLL reading group.

The text for the reading group is: Peter Brooks, ‘Law and its Other in Literary Theory,’ in Frame, 24.1 (May, 2011), pp. 32-52.

Peter Brooks has published on narrative and narrative theory, on the 19th and 20th century novel, mainly French and English, and, more recently, on the interrelations of law and literature. He is the author of several books, including Reading for the Plot (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), Troubling Confessions: Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 2000) and Law’s Stories: Narrative and Rhetoric in the Law with Paul Gewirtz (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996).


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