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Shakespeare and the Law

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The history of scholarship on the way Shakespeare employs legal terminology and concepts is complex, controversial, and closely tied to the authorship question. Adherents of the traditional view of authorship traditionally deprecate Shakespeare’s alleged knowledge of the law, while often simultaneously invoking all sorts of unsupported theories about how the author might have acquired this knowledge. Legal experts, on the other hand, argue that Shakespeare’s legal knowledge is acutely honed and precise — and that it indicates a mind well-trained and practiced in the idioms and conceptual habits characteristic of lawyers and judges. For example, Shakespeare’s Legal Language: A Dictionary by Sokol and Sokol, published in 2000 in the Athlone Shakespeare Dictionary Series fills over 400 pages with detailed discussion of Shakespeare’s legal terms and concepts.
 
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The Shakespeare Canon of Statutory Construction

The Shakespeare Canon of Statutory Construction

Supreme Court Justice Stevens addresses the search for truth and justice by discussing the view that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford is the true author of the Shakespeare Canon and how that view may help understand statutory construction.

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SHAKESPEARE’S KNOWLEDGE OF LAW

SHAKESPEARE’S KNOWLEDGE OF LAW

Noted barrister and M.P. Sir George Greenwood claimed Shakespeare’s plays and poems “supply ample evidence that their author . . . had a very extensive and accurate knowledge of law.” This essay surveys arguments for and against supposing a legal education for Shakespeare.

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Shakespeare’s Bad Law

Shakespeare’s Bad Law

by Mark Alexander. A look at the history and scholarship on Shakespeare's knowledge of the law. Alexander's analysis reveals Shakespeare's legal knowledge is sophisticated and deep, and that it is his critics who've got it wrong.

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