Theorizing Legal Personhood in Late Medieval England is a collection of eleven essays that explore what might be distinctly medieval and particularly English about legal personhood vis-à-vis the jurisdictional pluralism of late medieval England. Spanning the mid-thirteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries, the essays in this volume draw on common law, statute law, canon law and natural law in order to investigate emerging and shifting definitions of personhood at the confluence of legal and literary imaginations. These essays contribute new insights into the workings of specific literary texts and provide us with a better grasp of the cultural work of legal argument within the histories of ethics, of the self, and of Eurocentrism.
Contributors are Valerie Allen, Candace Barrington, Conrad van Dijk, Toy Fung Tung, Helen Hickey, Andrew Hope, Jana Mathews, Anthony Musson, Eve Salisbury, Jamie Taylor and R.F. Yeager.
Andreea D. Boboc, Ph.D. (2006), University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, is Associate Professor of English at the Univesity of the Pacific. She has published articles on Chaucer, Gower, medieval drama, medieval law and literature, and pedagogy.
List of Figures viii
List of Contributors ix
1 Theorizing Legal Personhood in Late Medieval England 1
2 Royal Personhood and The Owl and the Nightingale 29
3 Carried Away by the Law: Chaucer and the Poetry of Abduction 50
4 John Gower’s Poetry and the ‘Lawyerly Habit of Mind’ 71
5 The Spectral Advocate in John Gower’s Trentham Manuscript 94
6 Vengeance and the Legal Person: John Gower’s Tale of Orestes 119
Conrad van Dijk
7 Impossible Piety 142
8 Controlling Human Behaviour? The Last Judgment in Late Medieval
Art and Architecture 166
9 Legal Personhood and the Inquisitions of Insanity in Thomas
Hoccleve’s Series 192
10 Of Adam’s Rib, Cannibalism, and the Construction of Otherness
through Natural Law 218
11 Thomas More and Humphrey Monmouth: Conscience and Coercion
in Reformation England 244
12 Animal Rights, Legal Agency, and Cultural Difference in The
Testament of the Buck 270
Anyone interested in the pre-modern story of the legal person. Scholars in the field of law, literature, and culture, specifically medievalists and Early Modernists.