Thursday, October 22, 2009

F.W. Maitland: Great English Historian? or Greatest?

Maitland: an Index
Well I am biased but for anyone interested it his the history of property law as it developed from pre-Norman Conquest times Maitland is indispensable. And since he died in 1906 most of his work is available in the public domain, the link is to PDFs of his published works including most noteably Domesday Book and Beyond, which uses the great land survey of 1086 as a jumping off point for exploring the centuries which came before and (with Pollack) the History of English Law Down to the Time of Edward I (i.e. 1282)

I am going to be doing some backfilling on the Kennedy-Webb discussion using ideas largely derived from various works of Maitland though informed by other authors as well and so wanted to offer an opportunity for others to kind of check my work by consulting some of the sources. Just don't blame Maitland for what may seem terrible over-simplifications, properly speaking any of these historical topics deserves and largely has gotten book-length and multi volume treatment, if I get even a couple of people introduced to Maitland it is worth it.

By the way Maitland was an excellent writer, it is practically a miracle how he can address deep issues of legal history, constitutional history, and God help us "Forms of Action in Common Law" and not only keep the reader awake but fully engaged with the argument at hand.

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