Retóricas literarias del reformismo jurídico isabelino y jacobino


Virginia Lee Strain

Legal Reform
in English Renaissance Literature

Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018, 240 pp.

ISBN: 9781474416290

This book
investigates rhetorical and representational practices that were used to
monitor English law at the turn of the seventeenth century. The
late-Elizabethan and early-Jacobean surge in the policies and enforcement of
the reformation of manners has been well-documented. What has gone unnoticed,
however, is the degree to which the law itself was the focus of reform for
legislators, the judiciary, preachers, and writers alike. While the majority of
law and literature studies characterize the law as a force of coercion and
subjugation, this book instead treats in greater depth the law’s own
vulnerability, both to corruption and to correction. In readings of Spenser’s Faerie Queene, the Gesta Grayorum, Donne’s Satyre
, and Shakespeare’s Measure for
and The Winter’s Tale,
Strain argues that the terms and techniques of legal reform provided modes of
analysis through which legal authorities and literary writers alike imagined
and evaluated form and character.



‘Perpetuall Reformation’ in Book V of The Faerie Queene;

Part I:

2. Snaring
Statutes and the General Pardon in the Gesta Grayorum;

3. Legal
Excess in John Donne’s ‘Satyre V’;

Part II:

4. The
Assize Circuitry of Measure for Measure;

5. The
Winter’s Tale and the Oracle of the Law;



Virginia Lee Strainis Assistant Professor of English at Loyola University Chicago. She has
held fellowships at The Huntington Library, Vanderbilt University, and
Washington University in St. Louis. Her articles have appeared in ELH and
Literature Compass, and in several essay volumes, including The Oxford
Handbook of English Law and Literature, 1500-1700
(OUP, 2017), Shakespeare
and Judgment
(EUP, 2016), and Taking Exception to the Law (UTP,
2015). Her dissertation won the J. Leeds Barroll Dissertation Prize from the
Shakespeare Association of America (2011).

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