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Synopsis

Taking Exception to the Law explores how a range of early modern English writings responded to injustices perpetrated by legal procedures, discourses, and institutions. From canonical poems and plays to crime pamphlets and educational treatises, the essays engage with the relevance and wide appeal of legal questions in order to understand how literature operated in the early modern period.

Justice in its many forms – legal, poetic, divine, natural, and customary – is examined through insightful and innovative analyses of a number of texts, including The Merchant of Venice, The Faerie Queene, and Paradise Lost. A major contribution to the growing field of law and literature, this collection offers cultural contexts, interpretive insights, and formal implications for the entire field of English Renaissance culture.

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