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Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680$
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Christopher N. Warren

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198719342

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719342.001.0001

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The Stakes of International Law and Literature

The Stakes of International Law and Literature

(p.1) 1 The Stakes of International Law and Literature
Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680

Christopher N. Warren

Oxford University Press

The purpose of this chapter is to develop a broad rationale for a more literary history of international law and to set the conceptual groundwork for the chapters that follow. It uses a range of examples including Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and William Empson’s “Legal Fiction” to sketch the book’s premises, argument, key terms, and methodologies. It argues that a literary history of international law gives fuller accounts—both of early modern literature and of the history of international law. A literary history of international law generates new appreciation for the deeply generic structure of modern international law and of the related rise of an aesthetic field putatively separated from international legal and political thought.

Keywords:   law and literature, law of nations, nationalism, ius gentium, Shakespeare, legal fiction, Aldred’s Case, ICC

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