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Frederick Pollock and the English Juristic Tradition provides the first detailed historical account of one of England's great jurists. Until the later decades of the twentieth century, law developed little as an academic discipline in England. One exceptional period of intellectual growth, however, was the late-Victorian era, when a number of brilliant and now celebrated jurists produced works and devised projects which had a crucial impact on the development of English legal thought. Among this band of jurists was the great legal treatise writer, historian, and editor, Frederick Pollock. Compared with many of his contemporaries, however, Pollock has been largely overlooked by modern legal historians. Drawing upon a vast array of sources, Neil Duxbury offers a detailed picture of this enigmatic figure, examining Pollock's career, jurisprudence, philosophy of the common law, treatise writing, and editorial initiatives, and shows that Pollock's contribution to the development of English law and juristic inquiry is both complex and crucial.
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'Thorough in its detail and meticulous in its research, this work is written in a stylish and entertaining manner, and sparkles with lively turns of phrase. It is a first-rate piece of history, setting Pollock into his Victorian and Edwardian context, and describing the academic and public world of late nineteenth and early twentieth century law.' (Michael Lobban, Modern Law Review)
'[B]reathtakingly well-researched. Duxbury deftly avoids the trap of hero-worship, and instead presents a nuanced and well-articulated case that Pollock's intellectual legacy stands as one of the major accomplishments of the English juristic tradition.' (Christopher McNall, Law Quarterly Review.)
'This book is a most welcome addition to the Oxford Studies in Modern Legal History, a series which has quickly become indispensable to legal scholarship. Duxbury's book has made a valuable, readable, contribution to the growing appreciation of the relevance of those such as Pollock to the establishment of the modern common law of England.' (J.M.C. Fitchen, Cambrian Law Review.)
'Duxbury is - like Pollock - tremendously meticulous and learned. He has written a marvellous history of the evolution of the English legal system.' (Oliver Brupbacher, Rechtsgeschichte.)
'Duxbury's approach, in keeping with his subject, is free of oversimplification and of dogmatic assertion: his conclusions rest always on convincing historical evidence. Duxbury asks why a study of Pollock should be of interest now. The book as a whole constitutes the answer, fully convincing to this reviewer, namely, that Pollock played a crucial role, hitherto insufficiently appreciated, in forming the idea of the English legal academic. Everyone interested in the history of legal ideas will welcome this book.' (Stephen Waddams, University of Toronto Law Journal.)
a superb "intellectual history". Duxbury has gone a long way towards revivig Pollock's reputation. ... His analysis is clearly presented and structured and ultimately convincing. Duxbury has a first rate grasp of his subject and strives to present a fair and rounded picture. ... there will be a great deal of interest in this book not only for legal theorists but for legal historians more generally, tort and contract lawyers and indeed anyone interested in the development of the common law and legal education. (Warren Swain, King's College Law Journal (2005) 16)
Duxbury's history will be essential to American historians considering law in the decades bracketing the turn of the twentieth century. Duxbury provides much needed insight.. (American Journal of Legal History, January 2006)
Neil Duxbury is Professor of Law at the University of Manchester.
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