Writing for the “Scholar and the Gentleman.” Language, Society, and Legal Education in Blackstone’s Commentaries
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Legal and literary scholars have acknowledged that Blackstone invented a new legal textual genre: the primer for law students. However, the merely legal (historical) perspective has only focused on Blackstone’s influence over the evolution of common-law institutes and legal literature, without likening him to his eighteenth-century English environment, in order to ascertain whether and how the latter influenced the structure of the first law primer. The essay revises how Blackstone’s Commentaries educative ambitions. But Blackstone’s contribution to legal educational studies has been constantly lively. The Commentaries are a crossroads, which facilitates the contacts between English legal narratives and the social, linguistic, and literary context which is eighteenth-century England. Apart from Harper Lee, however, only legal scholars have praised the “power and elegance” of Blackstone’s prose. This means that not only is there still room left for a multidisciplinary assessment, but that contents, form, and language are interwoven in Blackstone’s Commentaries. The multidisciplinary “constitutive story” of the Commentaries has yet to be written – and it is the duty of the comparative legal scholar to participate in such assessment.