The History of English Law: Volume 2: Before the Time of Edward I

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9780521095167: The History of English Law: Volume 2: Before the Time of Edward I

Although this book was envisaged as a joint venture and bears the name of both Pollock and Maitland, it is substantially the work of Maitland. It was recognised at once as a masterpiece and has since been accepted as one of the great histories in the English language. In Maitland's lifetime Acton pronounced him the ablest historian in England. Plucknett said that 'everything he wrote exercises a deep fascination and a personal attraction'. To Sir Maurice Powicke he was 'one of the immortals'. Lord Annan, in the preface to his Leslie Stephen, called him 'perhaps the greatest of all professional historians'. To read The History of English Law, even many years after Maitland's death, is to feel at once the touch of a master. That touch could only be weakened by editing, so the present issue is a reprint of the second edition but with an introductory essay and a select bibliography by S. F. C. Milsom, Professor of Legal History in the University of London.

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Although this book was envisaged as a joint venture and bears the name of both Pollock and Maitland, it is substantially the work of Maitland. It was recognised at once as a masterpiece and has since been accepted as one of the great histories in the English language.

About the Author:

Sir Frederick Pollock [1845-1937] was an English jurist best known for this work as well as his extensive correspondence with US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, which was published posthumously as The Holmes-Pollock Letters. His treatises on contracts, jurisprudence the common law and other subjects did much to clarify and systematize English law. Several of these were standard texts that went through several editions. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and admitted to the Bar in 1871. He taught at the University of Oxford from 1883-1903.

Widely considered the father of legal history, Frederic William Maitland [1850-1906] was an English jurist and historian best known for this standard work. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge and studied at Lincoln's Inn, London. Maitland was called to the bar in 1876, and practiced until 1884 when he became a reader in English law (1884) and professor (1888) at Cambridge. He founded the Selden Society in 1887. Hailed for his original outlook on history, his works profoundly influenced legal scholarship. An extraordinarily productive career was shortened by his death from pneumonia at the age of 56.

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