Tag Archives: Law and Literature

CMEMLL Reading Group: Futures of Law and Literature (i)

Monday 24 October, 4.00 – 5.00 pm
Erasmus Room, Queens’ College, University of Cambridge

This year the St Andrews Centre for Mediaeval and Early Modern Law and Literature (CMEMLL) becomes a collaborative forum between St Andrews, Oxford, and Cambridge, with Law and Literature events continuing at St Andrews under the auspices of the Institute for Legal and Constitutional Research.

This year’s theme is ‘Futures of Law and Literature’. The full schedule of these sessions and other CMEMLL events can be found here:


The Reading Group will involve a brief introduction by Rachel Holmes and Andrew Zurcher followed by discussion on the theme of ‘Futures of Law and Literature’.

The background reading for our discussion comprises the following two articles:

Bernadette Meyler, ‘Law, Literature, and History: The Love Triangle.’ UC Irvine Law Review 365 (2015).

Greta Olson, ‘Futures of Law and Literature: A Preliminary Overview from a Culturalist Perspective.’ Law and Literature In-Between: Contemporary Inter- and Transdisciplinary Approaches, ed. Christian Hiebaum, Susanne Knaller, Doris Pichler (Bielefeld: transcript, 2015. 37-69).

Reading Group: ‘Interpreting Literature, Law, and Constitution’ (ii)

Tuesday 17 November, 1.00 – 2.00 pm
Old Seminar Room, 71 South Street, School of History

All welcome.

“When, in the early modern period, “the waves ruled Britannia”, the examples of Greek maritime empire became standards against which British rights and obligations in the world could be measured”     (Christopher Warren)

In our second reading group this semester we will be exploring the ‘international thought’ of Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) in the context of his translation of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War.

Did Hobbes simply ’translate’ Thucydides (c.460-400BCE) from Greek into English, or was he also reshaping and restating Thucydidean ideas for an early modern audience? Why was Hobbes interested in the ancient Athenian constitution, the ‘way of life of the citizen-body’ and how did he relate this to Athenian imperialism? If we read Hobbes’ translation of Thucydides as ‘literature’, how might this challenge our understanding of Hobbes as a ‘realist’ or a ‘rationalist’, in terms of subsequent international relations theory? Can Thucydides, moreover, help us to unravel ‘the peculiar nature’ of Hobbes’ thought on natural law and the law of nations?


Christopher N. Warren, Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680 (Oxford, 2015). Chapter 5, “From Imperial History to International Law” [St Andrews University Library Ebook]


Further reading:

Malcolm, N., Aspects of Hobbes (Oxford, 2002), Chapter 13 “Hobbes’ Theory of International Relations” [St Andrews University Library Ebook]

Boucher, David, ‘Hobbes’s Contribution to International Thought, and the Contribution of International Thought to Hobbes,’ in History of European Ideas 41:1 (2015), pp. 29-48.


Reading Group: Interpreting Literature, Law, and Constitution (I)

Tuesday 6 October, 12:30-2 pm
Old Seminar Room, 71 South Street, School of History

The first CMEMLL Reading Group and the first meeting of the Institute of Legal And Constitutional Research will take place next Tuesday lunchtime (6th October). We’ll meet in the Old Seminar Room on the first floor of 71 South Street at 12.30pm for a sandwich lunch, with the Reading Group on ‘Interpreting Literature, Law, and Constitution (I)’ starting soon after 1pm and finishing in time for people to teach at 2pm.

The Reading Group will involve an introduction by John Hudson and Lorna Hutson followed by discussion on the theme of ‘Literature, Law and Constitution’.

The background reading is Chapter 1 of Christopher Warren, Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680 (Oxford: OUP, 2015), available at:


We look forward to seeing you there.


Research Seminar: Dr Sara Menzinger (Università degli Studi Roma Tre)

‘Dante, the Bible and the Law: On the Trail of Uzzah in Mediaeval Legal-Theological Thought’

Monday 28 September, 5 pm
Old Seminar Room, 71 South Street, School of History

For a joint event between the Centre for Mediaeval and Early Modern Law and Literature (CMEMLL) and the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies (SAIMS), Sara Menzinger, Substitute Professor of Legal History at Roma Tre, will lead a seminar titled ‘Dante, the Bible and the Law: On the Trail of Uzzah in Medieval Legal-Theological Thought.’

Sara Menzinger specialises in Mediaeval Legal History and she has published widely on the topic of Italian city states [e.g. Giuristi e politica nei comuni di Popolo. Siena, Perugia e Bologna, tre governi a confronto. Ius nostrum. Studi e testi pubblicati dall’Istituto di Storia del Diritto italiano, Università degli Studi di Roma, “La Sapienza”, 34 (Roma, 2006), and La Summa Trium Librorum di Rolando da Lucca (1195-1234). And with Professor Emanuele Conte, Fisco, politica, scientia iuris (Roma, 2012).She has conducted research in many Italian and international universities and research centres, among which the Istituto Italiano di Studi Storici (Naples), the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (Frankfurt) and the Deutsches Historisches Institute (Rome).